Survey: Top Brands For Buzz In 2012 Were Subway, Amazon And… Cheerios?

When you think about popular fast food chains, Subway is certainly among them. And Amazon.com is without a doubt the leader in online retail. But apparently the U.S. brand with the third-best “buzz” from consumers in 2012 was a cereal we’ve all been eating since the dawn of time.

The folks at YouGov BrandIndex have released their annual Buzz Rankings. The methodology is pretty simple. They ask consumers, “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?” and then calculate a score by subtracting the negative feedback from the positive.

For the third year in a row, Subway was not only the highest-scoring fast-food chain, it was the top scorer overall with an index of 40.3. Credit for the ongoing buzz is due, at least in part, to the company’s ad campaign featuring big-name athletes like Robert Griffin III, Michael Phelps, and Ryan Howard (who will have a huge year in 2013 after missing half of the 2012 following surgery on his Achilles tendon).

As for Amazon (36.8), BrandIndex says the company’s successful expansion of its Kindle family, along with its growth in just about all retail facets is keeping the e-tailer high in the ranks. This is the second consecutive year Amazon has hit the #2 overall spot. And its Kindle brand of e-readers and tablets scored high enough (31.0) to come in at #8.

Then there’s Cheerios. The edible little tori floated up from fifth place in 2011 to win the buzz bronze this year with a score of 35.4. The bump is believed to be the result of the new Cheerios flavors added to the lineup in the past year — Dulce de Leche Cheerios and Peanut Butter Multi Grain Cheerios.

The History Channel’s 33.8 score was good enough for a fourth-place finish. It’s the only broadcaster to make the top 10 list this year (Discover sunk to #14). “Standout production for 2012 was Hatfields & McCoys, which scored their biggest audience ever,” explains BrandIndex.

Rounding out the top five is Lowe’s, with a score of 32.7. BrandIndex thinks the recent addition of MyLowes.com, which lets regular customers track past purchases, has been a slight boon to the brand.

The rest of the top 10 were:
6. Ford (32.1)

7. Target (31.1)

8. Kindle (31.0)

9. YouTube (30.9)

10. Google (30.8)

Also of interest were some of the companies in the most-improved category, a few of which are Worst Company In America regulars (and one WCIA champ).

That former champ, BP, was actually the most-improved on that list. Of course, any improvement is good for a company that saw a 75 point drop in a single year. The company still has a negative index score of -4.7.

Even though ING is now in the hands of WCIA mainstay Capital One, the bank’s score actually increased during the last year from 3.6 to 8.1. It possibly got a bump after it decided to donate $500,000 to Hurricane Sandy relief and stood by the decision to cancel the New York City Marathon, of which it is a major sponsor, says BrandIndex.

While Citi is still a target of lawsuits and concerns about malfeasance regarding the financial crisis of 2008, the company’s branding and advertising folks have apparently done their job of changing public perception about the company — a bit — with the bank’s scores the highest they have been since before the crash. Of course, that number is not only negative (-5.5), it’s worse than BP’s.