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What makes a brand cool?

Published:  23 July, 2008

By Tina Gellie

A new book about Britain's coolest brands cites Chivas Regal, Disaronno and Campari alongside Aston Martin, Chanel and Topshop.

The fifth volume of CoolBrands, published by Superbrands UK, lists 94 companies or products that qualify as the UK's coolest', as judged by a dedicated CoolBrands council'.

Other spirits deemed cool for 2006/2007 are Havana Club rum and Stolichnaya and Smirnoff vodkas. But their inclusion has raised eyebrows from many in the drinks industry. I'm scratching my head in wonder at what makes them cool, and what parameters they've used to come up with such a list,' said Ben Reed, mixologist, drinks author and director of IP Bartenders. It's a big old pile of nonsense. In no parallel universe are Chivas Regal or Smirnoff cool. Sure, they have been successful brands, but that does not make them cool.'

Reed said a synonym of cool' would be contemporary - something that couldn't be said for these old spirits with tired packaging'.

Neil Mathieson of spirits supplier Eaux de Vie agreed - to a point. Chivas is popular overseas, but it's never been cool in the UK,' he said. Disaronno has a good advert, but that's about it. And Havana is pretty cool, but only because of Cuba and mohitos.'

He dismissed the vodkas as standard pouring brands, but said of Campari: Now, that's cool! A Negroni is one of the classiest cocktails in the world, and any bloke drinking Campari on ice has got to have it going for him.'

Robbie Bargh, mixologist for The Dorchester and founder of The Gorgeous Group creative consultancy, believed all the brands cited were cool due to a combination of their heritage and ability to modernise, particularly through their affinity with cocktails.

Bargh, Mathieson and Reed said other cool spirits included golden rums, Hendrick's gin, designer vodkas such as New Zealand's 42 Below and the innovative whiskies Compass Box and Monkey's Shoulder. Beer brands listed in the book are Asahi, Beck's, Budweiser Budvar, Cobra, Michelob, Peroni and Tiger.

Members of the independent' CoolBrands Council include consultants, style directors and PR managers behind The Times, O2, Sony Ericsson, first direct,, Oasis and Diesel - all of which are included in the book.