Top 5 Brands of 2010

In what we hope will be an annual tradition here on the Proof blog, here are my choices for the best brands of the past year. Each demonstrated an ability to interest the public with a story, a product, or a service. Above all, each got people talking.

#5 – Groupon

There’s no telling how many clones there are now of this daily deal site that leverages the power and pressure of social buying. Now being discussed as an acquisition target, Groupon is also talked about around water coolers and at parties. When there’s a really good deal, if you miss out, you may as well apologize to your friends for being so slow to fork over $12 for $50 worth of food, photography, or laser hair removal.

#4 – It Gets Better

Spawned after the publicity of a string of bullying incidents, this viral video campaign had celebrities and folks like you and me weigh in and offer words of support, advice, and wisdom to young people who are being victimized because of who they are. Mentions by mainstream media and popular talk show hosts also helped this do-good campaign skyrocket in publicity.

#3 – Sarah Palin

Whether she’s a front-runner or a spoiler in 2012, it’s increasing clear that she’s not going away. A reality TV show, a second book, a daughter whose popularity is growing, and more and more time in the public eye means people kept talking about Sarah Palin. Regardless of your political opinion, you can’t deny that she’s a growing brand to be reckoned with.

#2 – Apple

What did they do this year? Just revolutionize the computing world with the iPad. Even people who say they don’t want one secretly do. They still have the best smart phone, when they do something online people talk, and they just added The Beatles to iTunes. What to do next year? It doesn’t matter. People will talk, and people will put their money where their mouth is.

#1 – Facebook

When you have a hit movie about you that doesn’t paint you in the best light and you want to trademark the word “face” and people still sign up on your site in droves, you’ve got something going for you. Now, when Facebook has an announcement, it’s as popular as when Apple does. Venture firms are dedicating funds to companies who want to make money on Facebook. Other social networks can only watch in awe. Gaming on the platform continues to grow. And it is the still the best place to look at pictures of people you barely care about. My status update is that you will use this product even more next year.

What do you think? Do you agree with this list? Think I’m nuts? Who would you add? What’s your Brand of the Year for 2010?