2012 - Top US Buzz Rankings

Subway tops our Buzz list and has consistently been the top Buzz generating brand in BrandIndex over the last three years. Equally impressive to the #1 position, is the brand’s unique ability to keep marketing and advertising ‘fresh’ as scores continued to improve in 2012 while most other brands in the top 10 have trended lower through the first 6 months of the year. The ever-popular $5 footlong program, Subway’s celebrity roster of spokespeople and new and evolving breakfast offerings deserves recognition as best-in-breed in the marketplace

Cheerios moved up 3 spots to secure 2nd place, joining Subway and Olive Garden as the food-focused brands in the list. The cereal entered 2012 with two new flavors, Dulce de Leche and Peanut Butter Multi Grain. Even a satirical piece in The Onion – which gave the Honey Nut Cheerios bee a rather colorful backstory – hasn’t set back the brand’s Buzz score.

Amazon ranks highly following a successful year of trading so far. The online retailer announced Q1 sales went up 34% to $13.18 billion. Its latest product, the Kindle Fire, is the bestselling and most ‘wished for’ product on Amazon.com in 2012. The Kindle store remains strong and exclusively distributes 16 of this year’s top 100 bestselling titles.

History – formerly the History Channel – dropped a spot to 4th place but remains popular with consumers. The network continues to cover subjects including medieval and modern history, science, reality shows and made-for-TV movies. The channel that brought us Shark Wranglers, American Pickers, American Restoration and Pawn Stars so far this year, to name a few, remains a favorite.

Ford has broken into the top 5, up from 7th position in December 2011. The car manufacturer sold 1.14 million vehicles so far this year in the US, and had a 7% rise in sales in the year to June. Vehicles like the Escape, Fusion, Explorer and F-Series were popular choices for US consumers in 2012 as this family-friendly car brand has remained strong.

Discovery Channel joins History as the only other broadcaster in the top 10 list. It moved up two places from 8th in December 2011 to 6th. The documentary channel didn’t disappoint this year with shows such as American Chopper, Cash Cab, Frozen Planet, Man Vs Wild and Deadliest Catch. Still a popular brand for US consumers.

Lowe’s has made it into the top 10 for the 2nd year running, taking literally the brand's slogan of 'Never Stop Improving.' A wave of store openings increased attention for the home store – in January alone, branches cropped up in Riverhead (NY), Fairfield (CA), Los Angeles, Sarasota (FL), Sparks (NV) and Mount Pocono (PA). The brand also built a strong social media presence this year including home improvement YouTube videos broadcast in three languages and navigated a brand crisis after pulling ads from the TLC reality show All American Muslim

Olive Garden is a newbie to the top ten, falling just outside the list at the end of 2011. Olive Garden’s dual-focus on quality and value has resonated with consumers and although it recently ended, the company’s endless soup / salad / pasta bowl promotions generated elevated Buzz for the brand. The restaurant chain might also thank the Grand Forks Herald for the perception boost, which published a rave review that went viral in March 2012. The piece, by an 85-year-old columnist, became an internet sensation for its review of an Olive Garden branch in Grand Forks, North Dakota.

YouTube has made it to the top 10 up to 9th place from its position at number 16 in the 2011 Buzz score list. Video highlights for 2012 so far include a behind-the-scenes look at a McDonald’s photoshoot (6,152,795 views), a cover of Gotye’s Somebody That I Used To Know (124,598,245 views) and Lil’ Wayne Ft Bruno Mars (134,952,447 views). Look for YouTube to be a consistent mainstay on the top 10 list moving forward as the leading platform for user-generated video content.

Google gained enormous reach in 2011 with the launch of Google+ (now with 250 million registered users), the unveiling of Google Wallet and acquisition of Motorola Mobility and Zagat. With the continued growth of Android phones this year – which now command 50% of the smartphone market share – 2012 can hardly be seen as a quiet year, but the technology giant has dropped from 4th place to 10th as the brand diversifies well-beyond the world of Internet search.

US Top Ten Buzz Scores
US Top Ten Buzz Scores

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 June 2012. The Buzz Improvers chart ranks the brands with the highest increase in Buzz between Jan-June 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.

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