BrandIndex's weekly Brandweek Buzz Report: Oscar night winners

Oscar Night's Winning Advertisers

March 19, 2010

With a high female viewership, The Academy Awards are practically the "woman's Super Bowl," especially due to the focus on fashion, according to market research firm YouGov's BrandIndex report. J.C. Penney was among the advertisers hoping to reach that demographic with the launch of a spring ad centered on women. Apple and Hyundai also debuted new spots during the Oscars—a move that contributed to a spike in their buzz scores.

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. The report also features scores based on brand quality.

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:

• Apple
• J.C. Penney
• Hyundai

Apple's iPad Gets Mixed Reactions
Apple took the wraps off its first commercial for the much-hyped iPad in its usual edgy fashion. The ad featured a highly syncopated overview of everything the new tablet computer does, cut to the tune of “There Goes My Love” by The Blue Van.

When the product was first unveiled in January, the consumer reaction was quite mixed. That seems to have carried over two months later. The new ad gave Apple a short-lived shot in the arm with adults over 18, sending the brand from a buzz score of 35 the day after the Oscars to 38.5 a couple of days later. However, perception has been rocky since then, with the brand’s buzz score now at 32.4, reflecting the public’s indecision about the product.

J.C. Penney Speaks to Women
J.C. Penney kicked off its spring marketing campaign targeting women 20 to 40 years old with a new tagline: “New look. New day. Who knew?” Taking its bold cue from the economic turnaround, the energetic TV spot emphasized trendy styles, while subtly scrolling five brand names across the bottom—all done to British group Sugababes’ anthem “Girls.” Even the chain’s chairman Mike Ullman III likened the ad to seeing “a new day for J.C. Penney.”

The optimistic campaign has propelled J.C. Penney from 43 to 47.6, placing it on top of the department store sector’s quality score ranking. J.C. Penney is currently in a virtual tie with Macy’s and ahead of Target, Kohl’s and Sears.

Hyundai Drives Into the Spotlight
Since its Super Bowl blitz, Hyundai has been on a tear and not looked back. Despite being unable to employ its usual narrator Jeff Bridges for the spots because of Oscar-mandated rules regarding nominees, the carmaker aired eight commercials—including three new ones—promoting the Sonata and Genesis vehicles.

Hyundai has more than doubled its buzz score for adults 18 to 34 since the beginning of March. Its Oscars presence sent that score from 8.8 to the current score of 11.7. Hyundai’s numbers rank it ahead of other international rivals such as Volkswagen, Infiniti, Audi and Lexus.