YouTube is number one in the 50 Coolest Brands for Kids & Teens which has been unveiled by Beano Brain, the specialist kids and family insights agency.
Netflix, McDonald’s, Amazon and Disney make up the rest of the top five according to the survey of 30,000 7-14 year olds.
There were some notable gender differences, with social brands like TikTok firmly in the top ten for girls and gaming brands Nintendo, PlayStation and Xbox featuring in the top ten for boys.
The highest rating UK brands are Harry Potter (11), Costa Coffee (32), BBC (42), Sports Direct (45), JD Sports (46), Times Table Rock Stars (48) and Argos (49).
The 50 Coolest Brands is the first of what will be an annual report to help brands understand how to interact with young people and their families.
The Beano Brain team spent a year talking to kids and teens about their likes and dislikes and observing the brands kids are wearing, chatting about and coveting, before testing their findings with the Beano Brain omnibus panel of 30,000 youngsters.
The 50 Coolest Brands come from a variety of sectors spanning gaming, social media, retail, entertainment, hospitality and more, and reflect Gen Alpha’s increasing levels of discernment and their desire to interact both online and offline.
According to Helenor Gilmour, director of insight at Beano Brain, Generation Alpha (those born in or after 2010) have both high expectations and benchmarks for the brands they have in their lives.
They expect depth and breadth of content, full integration across multiple platforms and next day delivery as standard. They also expect to see a sense of guardianship of the planet and giving back alongside innovation and safety protocols.
“YouTube is the number one Cool Brand; the reigning king of the social media world and the go-to place for kids looking for expert advice,” commented Helenor. “It has a winning formula of being perceived as friendlier and safer than other platforms.
“If kids want to learn how to do something, they turn to YouTube – the expert they know and trust – and it’s this that allows the platform to stand firm against the onslaught of TikTok.”
Pete Maginn, md of commercial insight at Beano Brain, continued: “There are two questions that I am repeatedly asked by clients: ‘which brands do kids really love at the moment?’ and ‘what can we learn about these brands to make our own as appealing and successful?’.
“The 50 Coolest Brands answers the first question with its mix of expected brands – YouTube, Disney, LEGO, etc – up next to perhaps surprising entrants like Apple, Starbucks and WhatsApp, which undoubtedly play an important part in Gen Alpha’s lives and are well liked.
Pete added: “In answer to the second question, Beano Brain has identified the criteria that drive brand love from kids and have brought these to life with robust data directly from kids, rather than filtered by parents.
“It’s crucial for business stakeholders, no matter how senior, to listen and see what kids truly like, do and say in order to make smart, informed decisions.”
YouTube’s UK md, Ben McOwen Wilson, said he was “thrilled” with the number one position.
He commented: “YouTube is a place to have fun, learn new things and share interests and passions. We have worked hard to make our platform a safe and inclusive place while allowing young people to express themselves authentically and freely. It’s fantastic to see this is being recognised by our highly engaged users.”