NEW DELHI: Airtel, Hindustan Unilever and Vodafone were three of the brands which performed particularly well in India last year, according to a poll of advertising industry executives in the country.

The Financial Express, the news title, partnered with Synovate, the research firm, to survey business leaders from ad agencies, and their clients, to discover which brands were regarded as being the “winners” of 2009.

Airtel, the telecoms giant, took the top spot, having introduced a variety of initiatives over the last 12 months, such as allowing users to send and read Twitter messages for free.

More broadly, it launched a number of new offerings, such as broadband and digital TV platforms, as it sought to extend its reach across the communications spectrum.

ICICI, the financial services specialist, followed in second position, having placed a heavy emphasis on “trust” in its marketing, which often featured the actor Shah Rukh Khan.

Hindustan Unilever, the largest player in the FMCG sector, was in third, and began including its corporate logo in ads for all of its brands for the first time last year.

The owner of Axe and Rin also bought up day-long “roadblocks” on two TV networks, meaning only its goods were shown in commercials over the course of an entire day.

LG, the consumer electronics company, took fourth in the rankings, followed by Sony, one of its major rivals, which closed out the top five.

Vodafone, which scored a sizeable hit in India with its animated brand mascots called “Zoozoos” in 2009, also made an appearance among the ten most-respected operators.

Furthermore, the telecoms provider was named as one of the “most visible” brands of last year, with Tata Docomo, its competitor, receiving equal credit from the panel in this area.

Reliance Communications also featured in the overall list, as did Parle, the consumer products manufacturer, and HDFC and HSBC banks, both of which continued to invest heavily in marketing despite the downturn.

The corporate brand of the Tata Group similarly registered in the top ten, with the launch of the Tata Nano, the low-cost “people's car”, providing one of the key reasons for its success.

Toyota, Volkswagen and Hero Honda were the other automakers which made a significant impression with advertising professionals, the FE-Synovate study found.

Data sourced from Financial Express; additional content by Warc staff