BrandsToday we reveal the 2015 edition of our original analysis of the leading brands based in the North, irrespective of their ownership: the Prolific North Top 100 Brands.

Jump to the table

Unlike many of the national or international rankings and analyses of brands and their values, the Prolific North ranking is not predicated on brands paying for the privilege of being included (either directly paying for inclusion or via paying for visits from assessors) or how effective – or otherwise – a brand’s current social media activity is.

Our ranking is based solely on data compiled by MediaCom North drawing upon information extracted from Nielsen covering the 12 month period to end April 2015.

The information we have collated on the North’s biggest spending brands once again makes fascinating reading and shines a welcome light on familiar household names and also on several surprising names, particularly the numerous privately-owned concerns running highly profitable businesses and brands from the North.

SI_Master logo_PINK_GREENThis new edition of the Top 100 Brands has been produced with the support of the international B2B marketing agency Stein IAS and in a new innovation this year, we are also now working with Stein IAS and MediaCom North to publish an entirely new and complementary ranking of the North’s Top B2B brands this autumn.

The Prolific North Top 100 Brands initiative complements our growing range of annual information features including our Top 50 PR Agencies, Top 50 Integrated Agencies and the Top 50 Digital Agencies initiatives.

And with fortuitous timing, we were delighted to announce yesterday that John Roberts, the founder and CEO of AO World plc (owners of will be our guest speaker at the third Northern Marketing Awards on Wed 21 October: the biggest annual gathering of senior marketers outside London.

The Prolific North Top 100 Brands – in association with Stein IAS

Asda storeThere are numerous surveys of the top UK and global brands but none that focus purely on our patch: Prolific North’s patch.

This 2015 edition reflects how substantial and diverse the corporate base is in the North, with a number of regionally-based headquarter operations and a clutch of global brands who have chosen to base their UK operations in the North.

The information is anchored on data covering companies based in the following counties: Cheshire, Clwyd (Wales), Cumbria, Derbyshire, Humberside, Lancashire, Greater Manchester, Merseyside, Northumberland, Staffordshire, Tyne & Wear and Yorkshire and is taken from advertising spend that Nielsen has picked up covering the 12 months to April 2015 and overseen by the research team at MediaCom North.

Marketing expenditure includes cinema, direct mail, door drops, the internet, outdoor, press, radio and TV. However, a large part of PPC expenditure on Google is not currently available for publication but even without PPC expenditure, the ranking you have in front of you does reflect the activity, aspirations and ultimately success of these companies’ abilities to project and commercialise their brands more successfully than most.

There are some surprising omissions from the list.

dfsFrom notable brands such as Ronseal, Soreen, Topps Tiles and Skipton BS through to the region’s big sporting brands including MUFC, MCFC and LFC but these latter ‘brands’ are not typically big spenders on marketing while the aforementioned other brands are simply not as big spenders on media these days, for whatever reason. In many cases, brands are electing to invest more into dealer and retailer support initiatives.

The top three positions in our table are once held by companies based in Yorkshire, led by Asda in Leeds, owned by Walmart, the world’s largest retailer and the biggest global private employer with over two million employees.

Numbers two and three this year see Dfs Furniture swap places with the grocer Morrisons. Elsewhere among the largest brands, the Co-op perhaps unsurprisingly slips from fourth to ninth while JD Williams, with its enormous investment in online activities, moves up from sixth to fourth.

ao_onlineMajor listed brands in the North include Moneysupermarket, Morrisons, Barratt Developments, Park Group and the more recent public débutantes Pets at Home, and AO World.

Private companies make up around of the compilation with some cracking brands to the fore including (the Barclay Brothers-owned) Shop Direct, Iceland, Matalan, (the Done Brothers) Betfred (whose turnover including its Tote subsidiary is fast approaching £10bn), Taylors of Harrogate and Warburtons.

Read an analysis of these findings from a brand expert at Stein IAS here.

The Prolific North Top 100 Brands 2015

# Company Location Ownership Accredited media expenditure £
1 Asda Leeds Walmart (USA) 108502499
2 DFS Furniture Doncaster Advent International 75999982
3 Wm Morrison Supermarkets Bradford plc 75052733
4 JD Williams Manchester N Brown plc 65410796
5 Shop Direct Liverpool Barclay Brothers 47168495
6 Halifax Plc Halifax Lloyds Bank plc 43086601
7 Kellogg’s Manchester USA 33125003
8 MoneySuperMarket Ewloe, Chester plc 29180524
9 Co-operative Food Manchester Co-op Group 28942868
10 Iceland Frozen Foods Deeside Independent/Malcolm Walker 22231369
11 ScS Furniture Stores Sunderland Share & Sons 21918882
12 Bensons Bedcentres Accrington Steinhoff International (SA) 21580466
13 Swinton Insurance Group Manchester Covea Insurance (France) 17347710
14 Beaconsfield Footwear/hotter Skelmersdale Independent 16484878
15 Health Lottery Birkenhead Northern and Shell group 16350091
16 Arla Foods Leeds Arla Foods (Denmark) 16086828
17 Plusnet Sheffield BT Group plc 15283138
18 Kingstown Assoc/All the very best Driffield Independent 12869164
19 Manchester British Car Auctions (plc) 12707080
20 Chums Liverpool Independent 11773485
21 Damart Bingley Damartex (France) 11719471
22 Plumbs Preston Independent 11500072
23 Matalan Skelmersdale Independent/John Hargreaves 11044556
24 Cotton Traders Altrincham Fran Cotton/Steve Smith 10761297
25 Leeds Dart Group plc 9995991
26 Safestyle Bradford Style Group (Jersey) 9667164
27 Taylors Of Harrogate Harrogate Independent 9079262
28 Victoria Plumb Com Hessle, East Yorks TPG Capital 9070929
29 Bet365 Stoke Independent/Denise Coates & family 8775888
30 Provident Personal Credit/Vanquis Bank Bradford plc 8668633
31 Sofaworks Golborne, Warrington Independent/Tyldesley family 8621182
32 Shearings Wigan Independent/MBO 2014 8395469
33 Redcats Bradford La Redoute (France) 8069226
34 Injury Lawyers 4u Manchester Independent 7316794
35 Wren Living Barton-upon-Humber Independent/Ebuyer consortium 7219979
36 Gladstone Brookes Warrington Independent/Lisa O’Neill 7090772
37 Co-operative Banking Manchester Hedge funds/primarily USA 6866584
38 Marlow Foods Stokesley, N Yorks Exponent Private Equity/Intermediate Capital Group 6862258
39 Jacobs Bakery Liverpool United Biscuits 6791124
40 First Direct Leeds HSBC plc 6361719
41 High Seat (HSL) Batley Independent/ Hudson family own agency Hub 6346699
42 Go Outdoors Sheffield Independent 6167707
43 Magnet Darlington Nobia AB (Sweden) 6056433
44 Haribo Dunhills Pontefract Haribo (Germany) 5769361
45 Dr Oetker Leeds Dr Oetker International (Germany) 5566242
46 Sky Bet and Sky Vegas Leeds CVC Capital Partners 80%/Sky 20% 5600234
47 Amplifon Manchester Independent 5543877
48 McCain Foods Scarborough McCain (Canada) 5382149
49 Help Link Uk Leeds Northedge Capital and Melvin Butler 5358450
50 SJM Concerts Stockport Independent/Simon Moran 4842954
51 Marks & Spencer Money Chester Marks and Spencer plc 4840070
52 National Holidays Wigan MSE Investments + Management 4544874
53 Neville Johnson Manchester Alcuin Capital 4387913
54 Great Rail Journeys York ECI Ventures 4147785
55 Betfred Warrington Independent/Done Brothers 4123784
56 Bolton plc 4019197
57 Better Bathrooms Wigan Independent/Colin Stevens 3908767
58 Yorkshire Building Society Bradford Independent 3892318
59 PokerStars Isle of Man Amaya Inc (Canada) 3832136
60 JD Sports Bury plc 3826612
61 Leger Travel Rotherham Independent/ Henry family 55% 3779016
62 MBNA Europe Bank Chester Bank of America (USA) 3770192
63 First4lawyers Huddersfield Independent/Anwar family 3557164
64 Joe Browns Leeds Brown family and GE Commercial Finance 3554031
65 Express Gifts Accrington Findel plc 3537784
66 Satsuma Loans Bradford Provident Financial plc 3527109
67 Pets At Home Handforth, Cheshire plc 3440063
68 Credit Claims Bolton Independent 3409830
69 Scenic Tours Manchester Independent (Australia) 3269348
70 Manchester plc 3212292
71 Nisa Scunthorpe Mutual/membership 3188969
72 Warburtons Bolton Independent 3096777
73 Yorkshire Bank Leeds NAB plc (Australia) 2880703
74 Acorn Mobility Services/Acorn Stairlifts Keighley Independent/John Jakes 2812122
75 AB World Foods/Pataks Leigh ABF plc 2705058
76 David Nieper Alfreton Independent 2658360
77 Park Group Liverpool plc 2595410
78 Stanton Fisher Sale, Cheshire Independent 2590979
79 National Tyre Services Stockport Independent 2535860
80 J Parker Dutch Bulbs Manchester Independent 2382929
81 Book People Bangor Independent (Surrey) 2372527
82 Culture Vulture Craft Shop Cumbria Independent 2360921
83 Stoneacre Motor Doncaster Independent 2344397
84 Co-operative Funeralcare Manchester Membership 2330587
85 Seven Seas Healthcare Hull Merck (Germany) 2191743
86 Youngs Bluecrest Seafood Grimsby Findus/Tri Point Capital Partners 2190425
87 Flamingo Land Malton Independent 2168193
88 New York Bakery Rotherham Maple Leaf Foods Inc (Canada) 2069443
89 Barratt Developments Newcastle plc 2046835
90 PZ Cussons Manchester plc 2039024
91 Lakeland Windermere Independent 2013400
92 Abel & Cole Hull William Jackson Food Group 1951263
93 Country Collection Cumbria Independent/WCF 1947951
94 Acdoco Manchester Delta Pronatura (Germany) 1824322
95 Cottages4you Earby, Lancs Wyndham Vacation Rentals (USA) 1821977
96 United Carpets & Beds Rotherham plc 1803401
97 Sports Direct Shirebrook, Derbyshire plc 1798567
98 Adidas Stockport plc (Germany) 1677326
99 Costcutter Supermarket York James A Barry & Co 1673202
100 Nichols Vimto Manchester plc 1635292