LONDON: Rolex, the luxury watchmaker, has retained its leading position in the Superbrand consumer rankings in the UK, becoming the first brand in six years to do so.

The annual league tables from Superbrands, an independent arbiter on branding, are based on the opinions of marketing experts, business professionals and thousands of British consumers.

Tech companies Apple and Microsoft took second and third spots, while Google was in sixth place.

Given the sometimes adverse press they have experienced in recent years, it was perhaps surprising to see British Airways in fourth place, up from 33rd last year, and Heathrow airport entering the Top 20 at number eight. The other leading travel and tourism brand was hotel group Hilton, ranked seventh.

Coca-Cola led the way among food and drinks brands in fifth place. Kellogg's was in ninth, Heinz in 12th and Nescafé trailed in 20th place.

Luxury carmakers Mercedes-Benz and BMW took the tenth and eleventh spots respectively.

The BBC was the leading media brand, in 13th position, while Facebook entered the chart at 14, but other social media sites were conspicuous by their absence; with Twitter the best of the rest in 86th place. Disney was another newcomer to the top 20, in 16th spot.

Toymaker Lego was in 15th place, while Marks & Spencer was the leading retailer in 17th. Oil company BP, in 18th, and paintmaker Dulux, in 19th, completed the top 20.

Stephen Cheliotis, chairman of the Superbrands expert council, said: "As consumers remain unsettled and fearful over what feels like endless economic doom and gloom, malpractice in key institutions and a weakening position for Britain in a changing world, it is perhaps no surprise that we are turning to reassuringly familiar brands that we have known throughout our lives."

Data sourced from Marketing/Superbrands; additional content by Warc staff