Transnational advertising agencies, like the transnational corporations they serve, derive their competitive power from their capacity to use finance, technology and marketing skills in an integrated way on a world scale. The worldwide brand or name-trade is now a common phenomenon, and is an example of the mastery of the techniques of marketing that is characteristic of the transnational corporations. Transnational corporations place heavy emphasis on brand name and image when selecting the message to advertise. The advantage of the brand system is that a brand name may be effective in cases where a patent is not - for example, for products which cannot be patented, or which are freely licensed, or for which the patent has expired. Transnational corporations are also more inclined to use advertising aggressively. Studies have shown, for instance, that transnational corporations on the average outspend local firms in terms of advertising expenditures at the ratio of about six to one.
According to one study, some products of transnational corporations sold in Kenya are known only by their brand names rather than by their generic names.