Overall Ad Awareness Down, But Amazon Tops In Brand Perception

Ad awareness was down across the board for the brands with the highest ad awareness for the second year in a row, according to consumer perception research firm YouGov BrandIndex, which is releasing its annual study on 2017 brand perception and ad awareness today.

Brands experiencing the doldrums include AT&T, Verizon, Progressive and DirecTV. 

As for the brand perception portion of the study, half the top 10 best-perceived brands are new, which is higher than usual and perhaps a sign of the unstable times. Usually there may be one or two new brands on the top 10 chart. 

Walgreens fell out of the top 10 on both the perception and ad awareness lists.

YouGov BrandIndex studies a year’s worth of daily data, which included interviews of 4,800 people each weekday from a representative U.S. population sample, which equals more than 1.5 million interviews per year. Respondents are drawn from an online panel of more than 1.8 million individuals. YouGov BrandIndex tracks the perception of more than 1,600 major brands daily. 



The top 10 best-perceived brands of 2017 were: Amazon, Netflix, Amazon Prime, YouTube, Google, Nike, Dawn, M&Ms, iPhone and Apple. Apple and iPhone return to the top 10 after a two-year absence. Nike and Amazon Prime are new to the list. Falling off the top 10 chart: Lowe's, Cancer Treatment Centers of America, Walgreens, and Home Depot. Brands with the biggest perception gains of 2017 were Chipotle, HLN, Volkswagen, Spectrum and Walmart.

The brands with the highest ad awareness of 2017 are GEICO (repeating as number one), McDonald’s, Verizon, Walmart, AT&T, T-Mobile, Subway, DirecT, Progressive and Home Depot. The five brands with the biggest ad awareness gains in 2017 were Amazon Alexa, SlingTV, Lyft, Hulu and Blue Apron. 

GEICO invests quite a bit in advertising, as do the other brands at the top of the list, says Ted Marzilli, CEO of consumer perception research firm YouGov BrandIndex.

“Through a combination of quirkiness and humor, GEICO has taken a product that many consumers might find confusing or boring, and made it fun,” Marzilli tells Marketing Daily. “And no matter what tack they explore, the ads consistently return to the ’15 minute’ tagline that has become the brand’s trademark. They clearly have not worn out their welcome, as long as they keep cranking out entertaining new ads.”

Marketers talk a lot about humor, but few have pulled it off successfully and continuously over a period of years, he says. 

“Rivals GEICO and Progressive are great examples of brands that have leveraged a distinctive tone to carve out a unique positioning,” Marzilli says. “It is difficult to master.”

Despite some continuing problems, 2017 was a recovery year for both VW and Chipotle. 

“Although neither has returned to their pre-crisis levels, they appear to be on the mend, and enough so that they take the top two spots on the improvers chart,” he says.

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