BrandIndex's weekly Brandweek Buzz Report: AOL, Nintendo Wii, Walmart

Nintendo Wii Wows Consumers

Jan 8, 2010

Despite videogame console sales declining in 2009, consumers seemed to be looking for a bargain during the holidays. Nintendo put all the right marketing and packaging elements in place for its Wii to make it one of the top five value score gainers during the month of December, according to market research firm YouGov's BrandIndex report.

The Brandweek Buzz Report by YouGov is a weekly consumer perception report that analyzes the most talked about brands based on buzz. The survey asks consumers If they've heard anything positive or negative recently about the brand and asks about value, namely, Does the brand provide good or poor value for what you pay?

YouGov interviews 5,000 people each weekday from a representative U.S. population sample. Respondents are drawn from an online panel of 1.5 million individuals. A score can range from 100 to -100 and is compiled by subtracting negative feedback from positive. A zero score means equal positive and negative feedback.

This week, the report spotlights:

• Walmart
• Nintendo Wii

AOL's Rebranding Generates Buzz
Chairman and CEO Tim Armstrong spent much of last year rebranding the Internet company to create “the world’s best content” and an ad revenue machine. Launching a series of heavily trafficked niche blogs, redesigning the home page, streamlining the ad operation, and spinning itself off from Time Warner are just some examples of the changes. They may be paying off in the public’s eyes, as AOL was one of the five biggest buzz score gainers last month, rising from -10.4 on Dec. 1 to -3.9 at the end of December. While AOL is still on the receiving end of more negative sentiment than positive and well below the scores of Google and Yahoo, it’s an encouraging turn for this sector’s oldest brand.

Walmart's Holiday Buzz Is Short-Lived

Walmart’s "Snowflake" holiday campaign where a kid’s wishes for his dad stationed in the desert may have tugged on many heartstrings, but it didn’t stop the retail giant from having one of the biggest buzz score drops last month. December got off to a promising start, with the score rising from 30.8 on the 1st to 38.1 on the 11th. The scores, however, fell during the rest of the month, finishing at 24.9 on New Year’s Day.

Wii Scores In Value Perception
While videogame console sales experienced a drop last year, Nintendo’s value score increased from 20 on Dec. 11 to 33.3 at month’s end. Nintendo went right for the family-friendly sweet spot by offering discount bundles of consoles and kids’ games. At the same time, Nintendo debuted a commercial featuring a proud father in a festive sweater boasting about the new system he bought for Christmas. “The family that plays together stays together. My family adores me!” the father exclaims in the ad, as it shows the kids and grandparents battling it out competitively.