Critics may better appreciate Apple’s recent “Genius” ads, knowing that since mid-July 2011, and the introduction of the new MacBook Air line and OSX Lion, adults 35+ have been bigger supporters of the Apple brand than the 18 – 34 demographic. This reverses the positions of the two age groups before last July.
From early 2008 through mid-July 2011, Apple scored higher with the 18- 34 demographic but this group no longer constitutes Apple's biggest banner wavers. There is another group, which may just need a "Genius" to help with their Apple products, as the new commercials imply.
Brandindex Buzz scores tell the story of an evolution in Apple’s brand over the past year. When the iPhone 4S was introduced last October, Apple’s perception with adults aged 35+ skyrocketed. Perception for 18 – 34 year olds enjoyed a solid but unspectacular rise, then trended downward for four months afterward.
Now that adults 35+ have a higher perception of Apple, it may make sense that the “Genius” ads were airing during the Olympics, where the prime time audience is easily over 35 years old. It appears that the 35+ demographic, which includes Boomers 50 and over, may need more product hand-holding than the younger group – hence the Genius.
Apple was measured with YouGov BrandIndex’s Buzz score, which asks “If you've heard anything about the brand in the last two weeks, through advertising, news or word of mouth, was it positive or negative?” All results were filtered for adults 18 – 34 and all adults 35 and over. YouGov BrandIndex measurement scores range from 100 to -100 and are compiled by subtracting negative feedback from positive. A zero score means equal positive and negative feedback.
Before July 2011, the 18 – 34 demographic Buzz scores lead those of the over 35s for the Apple brand. At the beginning of 2011, the younger demographic lead the older one with a 35 buzz score compared to 30.
Beginning in mid-May 2011, the 35+ demographic began a steady perception ascent that peaked shortly after the release of the iPhone 4S, soaring from a 25 Buzz score on May 17 to a 48 score on November 1st – the highest perception score this group has held for Apple in at least four years.
The 18 – 34 demo made a significant ascent in the two weeks leading up to the mid-October iPhone 4S release, jumping six points from 30 to 36, and then began a long backslide down to a 22 score by mid-February.
When adults 35+ hit their peak score of 48 on November 1st, the 18 – 34 Buzz score was 13 points lower at 35.
The 35+ demo’s current Buzz score is 32, compared to the 18 – 34 Buzz score of 24.