1) Amazon (30.6)
Online retailer Amazon has overtaken Ford as the most favored brand in America, making it the best-perceived retailer in the US. Amazon has remained coy about revealing hard sales figures, despite strong performance of its Kindle and Amazon prime products – the first weekend in December was the company’s strongest holiday sales period yet.
Amazon revealed its Kindle Fire HD and the 7 inch Kindle Fire HDX were its top selling items during the holiday season. Amazon, which is the world’s biggest bookseller, also revealed in its sales figures that a quarter of its Kindle eBook sales in the US were from independent publishers. More than 36.8m items were ordered worldwide on Cyber Monday, which is a record-breaking 426 items per second, and millions of customers unwrapped Kindle e-readers and Kindle Fire tablets this holiday season.
Amazon Prime, which offers free shipping and access to Amazon Instant Video, may be one of the company’s biggest growth drivers, and 2013 share prices have remained historically strong. “Amazon Prime membership continues to grow, and we now have tens of millions of members worldwide. They benefit from all-you-can-eat free two-day shipping on millions of eligible items and our members have a voracious appetite,” said Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.com. But as poor weather caused delivery delays with UPS, one of Amazon’s delivery suppliers, Amazon has announced that it will limit the number of new customers to the Prime service.
2) Ford (29.6)
Despite slipping to second place, Ford reigns as America’s best selling vehicle brand in 2013, making it well placed to be a US Buzz leader. Annual sales increased 14% in the US on the previous year, with gains strongest in the West, where sales are up 21%. “December was a strong close to an even better year for Ford Motor Company,” said John Felice, Ford vice president of US Marketing, Sales and Service. “We saw strong growth across the entire Ford lineup and made significant gains in the import-dominated coastal markets. “Strong demand for our new cars, utilities, hybrids and trucks provided Ford with the largest share point gain of any full-line automaker in 2013,” Felice added.
Ford kept up its ‘And Is Better’ commercial series this year, with the October-launched ‘Nuts or Bolts’ spot advertising the 2014 Ford Fusion and the 2013 Ford Escape using the #fordand Twitter handle. Ford announced it would unveil a solar power car this year, at an electronics convention in Las Vegas. The Ford C-Max Solar Energi Concept car will be able to travel 21 miles on a full charge, keeping the carmaker in the headlines for 2014.
3) Subway (29.4)
Subway remains in third place from the mid-2013 rankings, having started the year with a health-focused promotion, ‘Fresh Fit Meals’ in a Super Bowl spot in January. The chain celebrated its fifteenth birthday this year, and has set off its summer campaign with an ‘Avocado Love’ commercial featuring two Subway customers going a little over-the-top in praising the ingredient.
The sandwich chain continues to grow in the US, reaching a 40,000 outlet milestone in August. In September, Subway launched its ‘Project SUBWAY’ campaign, an annual dress design contest hosted by Project Runway stars Althea Harper and Raina Seitel, with a top prize being to display the dress at a Subway outlet in Manhattan and free Subway Footlongs for a year. Subway is currently offering $5 Footlong sandwiches for the month of January in its ‘JanuANY’ promotion.
4) History (26.4)
History makes it to the top five after a year of big budget showings like Vikings and the Bible. Vikings was among the most popular cable series of the year, snagging more than 4m viewers per episode. Now the channel has announced the second season will launch in February 2014, with the promise that it will bring “Crises of faith, of power, of relationships. Brothers rise up against one another. Loyalties shift from friend to foe, and unlikely alliances are formed in the name of supremacy.”
History’s Christmas viewing included The Curse of Oak Island, the story of two brothers from Michigan who attempt to find treasure buried on the island, and a two-part series of Bonnie and Clyde remade from the original 1960s movie. History also gained success with The Bible, a 10-part series debuting with more than 13m views in March before wrapping up on Easter Sunday.
5) Lowe’s (25.9)
In at fifth place, Lowe’s reported net earnings of $499m for the quarter ending November 1 2013, a 26% increase on the same period in the previous year. The home improvement store has tapped into the social-media savvy audience by launching 12 6-second spots on its Twitter and Facebook pages featuring home improvement tips. It has stuck to its more traditional method of TV marketing to get do-it-yourselfers in store with a 'Rituals' commercial, comparing home improvement to being victorious on the sports field.
During the holiday season, Lowe’s teamed up with designers including Design Mom, Little Green Notebook and Brit+Co to inspire customers into improving their homes over Christmas with a series of blogs and pictures. Lowe’s expects another strong performance for 2014, and is launching a number of YouTube spots on the theme: ‘Get a fresh start for the new year.’ “The home improvement industry is poised for persisting growth in the fourth quarter and further acceleration in 2014,” said Robert Niblock, Lowe’s chairman, president and CEO.
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 2013. The Buzz Improvers chart ranks the brands with the highest increase in Buzz between Jan-Dec 2013 and the same period in 2012. 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.