The Battle of the Brands

Which brand is the best? If you were given two random brands, say, Coca-Cola and Manulife Financial, and put them in head-to-head competition, which would be the victor?

Coca-Cola vs Manulife Financial

Some might define the best brand on a set of criteria – from brand awareness to corporate valuation – and generate a global brand scoreboard. This would rank Coca-Cola as #1 and Manulife as somewhere … not in the top 100. Or perhaps you could run a poll and ask respondents a question like “…which three brands do you consider the best?” With this method Coca-Cola might come out on top, while Manulife Financial might be … well, not in the results.

While these methods seem reasonable on paper, they’re clearly biased against Canadian brands most people have never heard of.

So what’s a fair test for brand comparison? While scholars have debated this fundamental question for a millennia, initial data from the Large Hadron Collider at CERN suggests the optimal method would be something like the following:

  1. Take a pair of similar useless trinkets
  2. Place the competing brands’ logos on each trinket, converting them to Corporate SWAG
  3. Pit the two brands head-to-head on by selling the SWAG on eBay
  4. PROFIT!

Whichever gets the most money is clearly the superior brand.

Fortunately I was fortuitous enough to be in just the right situation to test such a theory. You see, most people think you should throw out (or, if possible, never take) corporate SWAG, but my Mother knows better: they make perfect stocking stuffers! And as a result, Sylvia and I came into the possession of the ideal crap to peddle on eBay brand testing material.

We’ll need some help if we’re to complete our mission. Call in FUWA!!


Beibei the Fish, Jingjing the Panda, Huanhuan the Olympic Flame, Yingying the Tibetan Antelope and Nini the Swallow. Together they form, VOLTRON!! Er… no. Actually they don’t do anything. But they will help us sell our SWAG on eBay, as they’re the official mascots of the Beijing 2008 Olypics. (PS: Tibetan Antelope?!)

In one corner we have the green team, neatly decked out in Manulife colours:

Manulife Pins

And in the red corner, we have the heavyweight champion and maker of diabetics – Coca-cola!

Coke Pins

Both teams will be represented by Fuwa. Otherwise who wants to buy a bunch of crappy corporate SWAG? If the pins don’t sell then the whole experiment is for naught.

So Good It’s Badminton
Nini shows ’em how it’s done. She’s so good, she’s badminton.

Huanhuan shows us his O-face. O-O-O.

The eBay auction is simple enough. Just a straightforward listing with “{Insert Brand Name Here}-branded collectable pins from the Beijing 2008 Olympics. 5 pins in display case, as shown.” A photo (like the one of the ones above) is also shown.

So who will be the victor!? Tune in next week to see the exciting conclusion …


Nah, not really. The auctions ended on Friday. Manulife Financial won. That’s right. MANULIFE-FREAK’N-FINANCIAL! TAKE THAT COCA-COLA!!! And it was a commanding victory as well: the Manulife pins sold for a whopping 5% premium over the Coca-Cola pins. FIVE PERCENT!

The results are below:

Auction Results

Unfortunately the proceeds won’t even pay for my breakfast, but at least we know which is the better brand. Tune in next time for Microsoft vs Polka-dot Door.

3 thoughts on “The Battle of the Brands”

  1. 2.03!? Forget your breakfast, that doesn’t even begin to cover my time spent going to the post office and shipping them to Greece!

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