Every year, market researchers Interbrand publish a little chart. Amongst marketing types, it's very important. They compile what they believe are the top 100 "hottest" brands in the world, and rank them in order of, well, "hotness". Any and all brand names are eligible, so the top of the list is dominated by names like Coke, IBM, Microsoft McDonalds. But cast your eyes down the list to #40 and you'll see little old Nintendo. No doubt thanks to the continued success of the Wii and DS, they moved up four places from the 2007 list, one spot behind Kellogs and one spot ahead of...Swiss financial services firm UBS. They're the only games-specific "brand" to make the list; both Sony (#25) and Microsoft (#3) are present, but they're of course there primarily for other stuff. best global brands [Interbrand]
To the people saying they disagree with this list: This isn't like some "TOP TEN!" list on some blog. This is a list of the 100 most valuable brand names, published by a market research company. It's not like a list of the best games, where you can argue, it's more like a list of the best-selling games, based on facts.
As for the financial companies, like AIG, what's going on right now doesn't necessarily kill their brand. Even if it's killing the company, it's possible for the brand to remain strong.
And for the people wondering about some of the other companies on there, remember that this is worldwide. It might not seem like it, since there's a huge number of US-based companies, but some of those placements that make you say "wha?" may just be very popular in other regions.