BrandIndex's Friday column in Brandweek: Netflix vs. Blockbuster, AOL vs. MySpace, Honda vs. Hyundai



Netflix Beats Blockbuster in Brand Loyalty

Dec 10, 2010
- Brandweek and YouGov Staff

This month, Blockbuster launched its first ad campaign since 2007. But the beleaguered movie rental chain is still nowhere near Netflix, which has the highest brand loyalty compared to rivals, per research firm YouGov.

The Brandweek BrandIndex 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 measures consumer willingness to recommend a brand.

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.

The report spotlights the following brands.

Blockbuster vs. Netflix
Currently in Chapter 11 bankruptcy, Blockbuster is in need of cash and is focusing on the holidays, a time when summer movie hits are released on DVD.

The movie rental chain launched a new campaign during Thanksgiving week, with the tagline: "Less waiting, More watching." The effort, estimated at $15-20 million, boasts that Blockbuster stores have a 28-day exclusivity window on some new releases over competitors like Netflix and Redbox.

After a downhill slide in recommend score (brand loyalty), Blockbuster–which was once above its rival DirecTV–appears to be stemming the tide, at least for now. Since bottoming out just a few points below zero at the end of November, Blockbuster's score has moved up to the point of equal positive and negative sentiment.

Blockbuster still has a long way to go to catch up to Netflix, which is at its highest brand loyalty score of 35. It remains much closer to DirecTV, which stands at 8.6.

AOL and MySpace
At the beginning of 2010, AOL and MySpace were two of the more notable troubled Internet brands. AOL was in the middle of a turnaround under former Google president Tim Armstrong to become a content-generating powerhouse. MySpace, once the most popular social networking site in the U.S., has since been overtaken in traffic by Facebook.

On Jan. 1, AOL and MySpace were a mere few points apart in negative perception in index scores, which is YouGov BrandIndex’s overall yardstick for measuring brand health, averaging the sub-scores of quality, value, impression, satisfaction, reputation and willingness to recommend.

After three months, the brands took different directions and never came that close again the rest of the year. AOL snapped up TechCrunch and has been expanding its content areas– essentially keeping its index score treading water. MySpace underwent a complete overhaul this fall, and is now rumored to be on the block, with its index score at a 2010 low.

Throughout the year, AOL hovered around the -15 mark, pretty much where it started and where it is today. On the other hand, MySpace’s index score began eroding at the end of March, a long fall for what was once a social media icon. After hitting -23.8 on Aug. 31, the score began a mild climb as the site was heading towards a major relaunch at the end of October, with a new logo, cleaner design, better sharing functionality and a Facebook partnership. But the momentum didn’t last. MySpace’s score sunk back down to its present

Honda vs. Hyundai
Exploiting the holiday spirit, both Honda and Hyundai unveiled end-of-year campaigns during Thanksgiving, in hopes of boosting sales numbers.

While Honda’s sales are up 4 percent through November, the industry has seen an 11 percent increase. The carmaker started the year with an unusual gift: Toyota’s massive and much more highly publicized recalls overshadowed Honda’s own recalls. Honda’s buzz score with adults over 18 dropped significantly from 26.1 to 11.7 in less than 30 days after the news broke.

By the third week of April, however, Honda had recovered and stayed in the low 20s until late August, when its score jumped to 25. The new “Happy Honda Days” campaign eschewed spots featuring "Mr. Opportunity," and Honda’s buzz scored has remained at 25.

Hyundai also put on a happy face for its campaign. Over the course of the year, the carmaker nearly doubled its buzz score from 8.2 to 15.5, breaking through the sector average by the end of January.