BrandIndex's weekly Brandweek Buzz Report: light beers, MTV, Taco Bell

Light Beer Brands Battle It Out Over Sports Fans

Jan 29, 2010

With NBA, NHL and college basketball in full swing, light beer brands have been trying tirelessly to make their mark on beer-drinking sports fans over the last four months. Bud Light has steadily improved its buzz scores from 12.4 in late October to a peak of 16 through January, 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 scores are based on weighing positive and negative perceptions of a brand. A +100 score is positive, a -100 score is negative, and a rating of zero means that the score is neutral. This week's report also features scores based on "willingness to recommend," which is used to measure whether a consumer would recommend the brand to a friend.

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.

This week, the report spotlights:

• Bud Light, Miller Lite, Coors Light
• Taco Bell

Light Beer Buzz Grows
Bud Light's gains in buzz follow a commitment by Anheuser-Busch to reenergize the brand with a variety of new commercials and the Golden Wheat product extension. Bud Light’s main competition, Miller Lite, pulled even with Bud at the end of November. Miller rolled out its “Love” commercials, which highlight men choosing beer over their girlfriends. The campaign’s success has tapered off and Miller's score dipped below Coors Light in January for the first time in several months. Coors Light, sticking with its campaign mainstays of the “Silver Bullet” and “NFL Coach Interviews,” has shown modest growth from 6.6 to a high of 12.7. Currently, Coors Light and Miller Lite are no. 2 behind Bud Light for buzz supremacy.

'Jersey Shore' Lifts MTV
Can one show lift an entire network’s perception? Jersey Shore has seemingly single-handedly pumped up the MTV brand's brand score with adults 18-34, just pushing it barely into positive territory for the first time since mid-April. The reality show took a little while to catch on with this demographic. It started with a -12.1 buzz score when the show premiered on Dec. 3. The buzz dropped when the network aired the infamous Dec. 17 episode (“Fade To Black”) when a bar fight broke out and cast member Snooki got punched. That took the score down to -22.7. Since then, however, MTV’s buzz grew more positive as Jersey Shore progressed and viewers got more perspective, perhaps by not taking the show too seriously. The Jan. 21 finale, which was viewed by more people than NBC's Jay Leno Show at the same 10 p.m. hour, boosted the network to its current 0.6 buzz score.

Taco Bell 'Diet Drive-Thru' Wins Women Over
Taco Bell’s heavily marketed "Drive-Thru Menu" national campaign targeting women, seem to have won over the intended audience this month. Taking inspiration from the annual New Year’s ad blitzes of weight loss programs and Subway’s spokesperson Jared, Taco Bell featured a Florida woman who lost 54 pounds by reducing her daily calories while eating from the Taco Bell's "Drive-Thru Diet Menu." The campaign drove up the "willingness to recommend" (brand loyalty) score for women over 18 from 23.9 on Jan. 6 to 37.4 on Jan. 20, then settled at above pre-campaign levels with a score of 29.