Do these companies really deserve to be among the top 100 brands?

BusinessWeek recently released its annual list of the best 100 global brands. While some of the perennial favorites seem like no brainers, you might wonder what some of the other honorees say about today’s buyers.

As usual, cutting-edge companies like Microsoft, Apple and IBM landed near the top of the list. But consider some of the more questionable choices, especially given some of the major factors that landed this country in a recession in the first place:

  • CitiGroup (#36), JP Morgan Chase (#37), Goldman Sachs (#38), Morgan Stanley (#57). If you agree that the credit crisis and the housing crisis were two of the biggest contributing factors to this country’s current economic downturn, then you’ve got to wonder what right these companies have to be considered some of the best brands in the world. Collectively, these four companies accounted for more than $70 billion in federal bailout money.
  • American Express (#22), Visa (#94). Risky lending practices, obscene credit rates, penalties, major default levels having a negative impact on business and an ongoing credit crisis still can’t stop certain credit card companies from maintaining a strong reputation both here and abroad.
  • BP (#83), Shell (#92). Though Shell is making cutbacks and BP got major points for all the energy-efficient initiatives it’s undertaking (the list came out before the Gulf oil disaster), Shell is still digging itself out from a scandal that involved misrepresenting oil reserves. Not to mention the oil industry as a whole has seemed highly suspect ever since major oil companies started posting record profits a few years back, despite the highest gas prices in U.S. history.
  • McDonald’s (#6), Burger King (#93). More than a third of American adults are considered obese these days, which makes people question whether we should really be applauding the idea of a fast-food diet? The argument for is that fast-food chains make it affordable for people to eat out on a shoestring budget. Burger King’s done well in the past year by running wacky ads and adding a do-it-yourself burger bar, while McDonald’s has gone toe-to-toe with Starbucks in the latte wars. But the question remains “What type of health-conscious America are we building when everyone’s advocating the supersize-me plan?”
  • Marlboro (#17). Cancer, heart disease, emphysema … big tobacco’s got a corner on the market. Still, people are drawn to the addictive nature of smoking, and no company knows how to draw them in better than Marlboro.

Check out the complete list of BusinessWeek‘s “The 100 Best Global Brands 2009” below. No doubt each of these companies has made some positive contributions and established itself as a force to be reckoned with. But you’ve got to wonder what it says about consumers that these companies continue to thrive, given some of the choices many of them have made.

Are there any other brands you think shouldn’t have made this list? How about great brands that should’ve been included but weren’t? Share your opinions in the Comments Box below.

BusinessWeek’s 100 Best Global Brands:

  1. Coca-Cola
  2. IBM
  3. Microsoft
  4. GE
  5. Nokia
  6. McDonald’s
  7. Google
  8. Toyota
  9. Intel
  10. Disney
  11. Hewlett-Packard
  12. Mercedes-Benz
  13. Gillette
  14. Cisco
  15. BMW
  16. Louis Vuitton
  17. Marlboro
  18. Honda
  19. Samsung
  20. Apple
  21. H&M
  22. American Express
  23. Pepsi
  24. Oracle
  25. Nescafe
  26. Nike
  27. SAP
  28. Ikea
  29. Sony
  30. Budweiser
  31. UPS
  32. HSBC
  33. Canon
  34. Kellogg’s
  35. Dell
  36. Citi
  37. JPMorgan
  38. Goldman Sachs
  39. Nintendo
  40. Thomson Reuters
  41. Gucci
  42. Philips
  43. Amazon
  44. L’Oreal
  45. Accenture
  46. eBay
  47. Siemens
  48. Heinz
  49. Ford
  50. Zara
  51. Wrigley
  52. Colgate
  53. AXA
  54. MTV
  55. Volkswagen
  56. Xerox
  57. Morgan Stanley
  58. Nestle
  59. Chanel
  60. Danone
  61. KFC
  62. Adidas
  63. BlackBerry
  64. Yahoo!
  65. Audi
  66. Caterpillar
  67. Avon
  68. Rolex
  69. Hyundai
  70. Hermes
  71. Kleenex
  72. UBS
  73. Harley-Davidson
  74. Porsche
  75. Panasonic
  76. Tiffany & Co.
  77. Cartier
  78. Gap
  79. Pizza Hut
  80. Johnson & Johnson
  81. Allianz
  82. Moet & Chandon
  83. BP
  84. Smirnoff
  85. Duracell
  86. Nivea
  87. Prada
  88. Ferrari
  89. Armani
  90. Starbucks
  91. Lancome
  92. Shell
  93. Burger King
  94. Visa
  95. Adobe
  96. Lexus
  97. Puma
  98. Burberry
  99. Polo Ralph Lauren
  100. Campbell’s

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