It’s the most wonderful time of the year…Oh yes, Christmas was nice and New Year’s should be too. But I’m actually talking about the list season.  You know—now that we are at the end of 2010, the lists are everywhere.  The year’s Top 10 news stories; the Top 10 videos; the Top 10 yada, yada, yada.  I love this stuff!

Happily for me, I work for The Nielsen Company, the largest marketing research company in the world.  In addition to those TV ratings for which we are famous—Nielsen tracks, measures and analyzes trends and consumer behavior here and around the globe.  My mantra for 2010 has been, “knowledge is power.”  With that in mind, here are some of the winners in the Nielsen listing for The Top Trends of 2010:



Under the Single Telecast category, Super Bowl XLIV (the game itself, the Post Game and the Kick-Off) swept the top three spots—which explains why advertisers are so willing to shell out millions of dollars for just 30 seconds of commercial time.  In fact, with the exception of two shows—the Academy Awards and Undercover Boss—all of the Top 10 Single Telecast Programs are sports.

Viewers love reality competition shows: American Idol—Tuesday and Wednesday and Dancing With the Stars took the top three spots of the Top 10 Regularly Scheduled TV Programs; followed by NBC Sunday Night Football in the number four slot and Dancing with the Stars—the Results Show (now, that was a nail biter—and we all know why, whether you followed the show or not) rounded out the top five.

Because we are a nation of multitaskers, sometimes it’s hard to sit still long enough to actually watch an entire program.  However, Nielsen has a category for Top 10 Most Engaging Programs, in which we measure viewers attention to a TV episode’s content. Those shows include Mike & Molly, Lost (no choice but to stay glued, or you were literally “lost”), Army Wives and The Event (again, you’re “lost” if you don’t pay attention).

Thanks to the wonder of the DVR (which I have finally mastered thanks to my son and nephew), which gives us the freedom to watch when we choose or back-up during live TV, Nielsen provides the Top 10 Timeshifted Primetime TV Programs.  Favorites there include Mad Men, Sons of Anarchy, Justified, Lie to Me and Leverage.

Remember, what you watch and purchase influences the advertising dollars for TV shows.  To vie for your attention marketers have to make the commercials engaging too, thus the Top 10 Best-Liked TV Commercials category. This year two Snickers commercials (the :30 and :15 versions) took top honors.  Both starred the venerable Betty White (whom we also love), who is tackled in a game of football and morphs into a young man after taking a bite of the candy bar.  The Snickers spot with our Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, (love it) also transforming into a young man after chomping into the candy on a road trip, gives the brand three of the top ten ads. Viewers also really liked those M&M’s commercials, which place in three of the top 10 best-liked commercials.  Non-food companies Target and Samsung also produced top ten likeability commercials.

Top 10 DVD Sales

Here, consumer tastes are pretty eclectic, and include:  Avatar, Toy Story 3, The Blind Side, Twilight Saga: New Moon, Iron Man 2 and Princess and the Frog.

Top Video Games of 2010 are Xbox 360, Wii, PlayStation3, PlayStation2, Xbox and GameCube.

Happily, we are still reading.  Top 10 Print Book Sales in Adult Fiction and Non-Fiction include: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played With Fire, The Help, Eat, Pray Love and Women, Food and God (loved them all!).

Out of 117 major measured categories, these ranked among consumers’ Top 10 Consumer Packaged Goods favorite:  Snacks/­Spreads/­Dip-Dairy, Wine, Sugar/­Sugar Substitutes, Canning/Freezing Supplies, Nuts, Liquor, Seafood—Canned, Vitamins, Fragrances—Women  and Cosmetics.

The top ranked Mobile Phone is the Apple iPhone 3G S, followed by the Samsung SCH-U450, the Motorola Droid, the RIM Blackberry 8500 series and the Apple iPhone 4.

The Top 10 Mobile Internet Video Channels include YouTube, Fox, Comedy Central, ESPN and MTV.  In Paid Apps, we love Games, Books, Music, Shopping and getting directions.

See how much influence you have?  Here’s to more power in 2011.

(Cheryl Pearson-McNeil is Senior Vice President of Public Affairs and Government Relations for The Nielsen Company. For more information on trends go to

Also On New Pittsburgh Courier:
comments – Add Yours