The Food Network may be experiencing some consumer perception backlash since they announced the non-renewal of Paula Deen’s contract, particularly in the western and southern parts of the country.
However, the Food Network has maintained support in the Midwest, with Northeast-area perception holding close, but at lower levels than two weeks ago.
The Food Network was measured with YouGov BrandIndex’s Buzz score, which asks respondents "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?" Results are for adults 18+.
Since the time Paula Deen’s deposition had been made public about using racial slurs, the Buzz score for consumers living in western states skidded from 21 on June 16th to its current score of 1, representing a 20 point drop.
The South, where Deen is based (her restaurants are in Georgia and Mississippi), also saw its Buzz score of the Food Network fall, but half as much as the West: from 13 to -3 in the same period. While the South did not have the best perception of The Food Network in mid-June – it was third place out of four -- it now has the lowest Buzz score of the four major areas of the country.
The Midwest has been the outlier compared to the rest of the country, being the only area of the country where Food Network’s Buzz score went up. On June 16th, the Food Network’s Buzz score in the Midwest was 9, and is currently 13, the highest of all U.S. regions and just ahead of the Northeast with its 12 score.