1 Subway (40.3)
For the third consecutive year Subway, the world’s largest quick service restaurant chain, was the BrandIndex top ranked brand with a Buzz score of 40.3. In 2012 Subway continued with its ‘Famous Fans’ campaigns; additions included Apolo Anton Ohno, RG3 (the NFL’s Robert Griffin III) and Michael Phelps’ mom Debbie, who deployed a Turkey & Bacon Avocado sandwich to motivate her gold medal-winning son.
2 Amazon (36.8)
Amazon came in at number two for the second year in a row. The people with the smile on the box last year expanded the Kindle family, and launched an expanded advertising network. The e-commerce giant continued to expand its footprint across categories of goods, expanding into fashion and even luxury goods.
Despite forays into high end fashion Amazon has kept close to its low fuss and high value roots; in 2012 Amazon topped BrandIndex’s Holiday rankings for Value scores.
3 Cheerios (35.4)
Cheerios finished 2012 at number 3 up from number 5 in 2011. The brand stormed into 2012 with two new flavors: Dulce de Leche Cheerios and Peanut Butter Multi Grain Cheerios
4 History Channel (33.8)
History Channel is a Top 10 regular and with Discovery Channel dropping to number 14, the only network in the short list in 2012. Standout production for 2012 was Hatfields & McCoys, which scored their biggest audience ever. The miniseries starred Kevin Costner and Bill Paxton and signals History Channel’s new foray into scripted TV. Another new scripted series, Vikings, received significant media interest despite not being scheduled until 2013.
5 Lowe’s (32.7)
Up from 6 to number 5, Home Improvement Store Lowe’s has been kitting out staff with iPhones to handle customer requests and outfitted store managers with iPads. And MyLowes.com, launched in late 2011, enables shoppers to retrieve data about past purchases and schedule reminders.
Continuing the technology theme, Lowe’s was named an International CES Innovations Design and Engineering Awards Honoree for their Iris Smart Kit.
6 Ford (32.1)
Up one from last year’s 7, Ford took the unusual step of launching a corporate ad campaign in 2012 showing new models stripped of the famous blue oval and never mentioning Ford by name. The company’s spokesman defended the move saying,
“The reality of the quality of our products is just ahead of where the perception of the brand is, still, here in the U.S.”
Despite their reticence Ford was the only auto maker to exceed two million in US sales last year, powered in large part by the hugely successful Ford Focus.
7 Target (31.1)
Target moved up from 9 to 7 although their score was slightly lower than 2011. In the third year of its remodel program and 2-years into the nationwide launch of 5% Rewards, Target worked hard to secure loyalty. The design-savvy discounter also committed to offering signature “exclusives” year round not just as an occasional headliner.
2012 Holiday Season saw a policy reversal with Target first off the blocks for holiday TV ads. A campaign featuring a giant version of mascot Bullseye launched in mid-October.
8 Kindle (31.0)
Kindle broke into the top 10 for first time this year. According to Amazon the Kindle Fire HD is the number one selling product across Amazon worldwide, and that the next two, bestselling products worldwide are the Kindle Paperwhite and the $69 Kindle.
Kindle ranked number 3 in YouGov’s “must have” gifts list for the 2012 holiday season.
9 YouTube (30.9)
Google owned YouTube made its first entry into the annual Top 10 at number 9. Last year saw YouTube’s first video to pass 1 billion views. PSY’s Gangnam Style stormed around the world and became the most watched YouTube video of all time. Even Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt danced Gangnam with a private lesson from PSY. “Tribute” versions were uploaded from such unlikely sources as MIT, NASA and the China Coast Guard’s Jiangsu division.
10 Google (30.8)
Google dropped from number 4 in 2011 to 10 in 2012. Google started the year with privacy issues, and negative coverage of Google+, however it was a year where the company built on previous growth and sharpened its focus on mobile and social.
The company completed its deal with Motorola and strengthened links to Samsung with more than 50 million Android tablets and smartphones activated to date. They launched Jelly Bean (Android 4.1) and a host of iOS apps including Google Maps for iOS, which saw 10 million downloads in 48 hours. And headliner of the year was Google Glasses, reinforcing the brand’s status as tech pioneers.
These brands were rated using 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?"
The Buzz Rankings chart shows the brands with the highest average Buzz scores between January and December 2012. The Buzz Improvers chart ranks the brands with the highest increase in Buzz between Jan-Dec 2012 and the same period in 2011. Both scores are representative of the general population.
All Buzz scores listed have been rounded to a single decimal place, however, we have used additional precision to assign ranks.