ACNielsen, not usually noted for rushing in where angels fear to tread, has shouldered the awesome responsibility of defining ad journalists’ most over-used [and abused] term: Global Mega-Brand.

This, says Nielsen, with admirable exactitude, is a brand that enjoys worldwide annual sales in excess of one billion dollars. The definition was unveiled Wednesday within the company’s newly published study on global branding

Despite increasing globalization of brands the GMB is still a rare species, says Jane Perrin, managing director of global services at Nielsen.

“There are relatively few global mega-brands out there today,” she reveals. “We looked at well over two hundred brands in this study and although more than half had a global presence, they just didn't have over a billion dollars in sales.” These brands aggregate more than $125 billion in sales.

The beverages category leads the GMB brigade, spearheaded, of course, by Coca-Cola, then Pepsi Cola. Three snackfoods (Doritos, Lay's and Pringles) are also members of the exclusive club; as are four tobacco brands: Benson & Hedges, Camel, L&M and Marlboro.

Just twenty-three manufacturers own GMBs, of which eight boast more than one qualifying brand. Leading the plutocrat platoon is Pepsico with six such brands, followed by Philip Morris/Kraft Foods and Procter & Gamble with five apiece; while Coca-Cola trails with four.

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