US-headquartered computer firm Apple, whose iPod music player is the planet's most-must-have gadget, has seen its brand value rise by 38% over the last four years, according to New York marketing consultants Vivaldi Partners.

Global megabrand Coke, by contrast, has seen its value fall by 4% annually, although it still enjoys a massive $55 billion (€45.7bn; £30.53bn) share of the market. Vivaldi's survey of the hottest brands was commissioned by business magazine Forbes.

The rankings, under the title 2005 Next Generation Growth Brands, show how technology firms have made the biggest gains. Close behind Apple are Blackberry and Google with a 36% increase, followed by Amazon, Yahoo! and ebay.

Coca-Cola and McDonald's, with their big advertising and marketing budgets, did not even make it into the top 20.

Says Jeffrey Parkhurst, Vivaldi's managing director of valuation: "Apple . . . has tremendous resilience - they seem to have this ability to reinvent themselves every few years. That's what keeps them hot and relevant to their consumer base."

The Top Ten in the rankings and their brand value increase are:

1. Apple (38%)
2. Blackberry (36%)
3. Google (36%)
4. Amazon (35%)
5. Yahoo! (33%)
6. eBay (31%)
7.Red Bull (31%)
8. Starbucks (24%)
9. Pixar (23%)
10. Coach (22%)

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff