Client BrandIndex's first half 2008 numbers showcased on Mediapost's Marketing Daily

"Brand Perceptions of Gas, Airline Industries Nosedive"

Consumers are thinking better of the packaged goods, insurance and spirits--and less of the oil and gas and airline industries--now than they were six months ago.

According to YouGovPolimetrix, which measures consumer perceptions of 1,000 brands daily, favorable perception of the packaged goods industry (which includes brands such as Betty Crocker, Campbell's Clorox and Procter & Gamble) improved 7% in July when compared with its perception in January. Favorable perception of the insurance industry improved 35% during that same period, while favorable perception of the insurance industry grew 28%.

By contrast, favorable perception of the oil and gas industry was down 14%, while favorable perception of the airline industry was off 35%. That the two industries should decline so sharply over the past six months is not surprising, given recent high gas prices and news of the airline industry's struggles, says Ted Marzilli, general manager of YouGovPolimetrix's brand group.

Individual brands that have a high summer seasonal business--such as Dairy Queen, Crystal Light and Oscar Mayer--saw their favorable perception increase in July vs. January (up 26%, 44% and 22%, respectively). Given that the index provides a snapshot of July perception over January perception, the increase of those seasonal brands is not surprising, Marzilli says.

"When you ask people about Dairy Queen in January, they have a different perception of ice cream than they do in July," Marzilli tells Marketing Daily. Another big mover, A&T (up 87%) may have seen gains from its relationship with Apple's newest iPhone launch, he says.

One company that saw a big jump in perception was Wal-Mart, up 69% from January to July. Part of that may be due to the slumping economy. "There is often a lot of negative coverage in the news about Wal-Mart," Marzilli says. "But as the economy is struggling, low prices are winning the day."

Not surprisingly, companies from the oil and gas and airline industry dominated the list of those that saw their brand perception decline the most from January to July. Perception of Chevron, Shell and ExxonMobil were each down 100% on the index for July (down 169%, 102% and 131%, respectively.) United Airlines, Delta Air Lines and American Airlines were down 55%, 36% and 71%, in July vs. January.