Despite its recent “footlong” problem, Subway was the most buzzed about brand in the U.S. in 2012, according to YouGov’s BrandIndex Buzz ranking
It marks the third straight year that Subway has topped the list.
“Subway is a brand that positions itself on quality and healthiness,” Ted Marzilli, the global managing director at BrandIndex, wrote in an email to PR Daily
. “In a category like quick-service restaurants (CSRs), those two attributes really help the brand stand out from its competition.”
To determine the ranking, YouGov, which tracks consumer perception of brands, asked more than 1.2 million people the following question about 1,100 brands: “If you've heard anything about the brand in the last two weeks, through advertising, news, or word of mouth, was it positive or negative?” YouGov subtracted the negative answers from the positive to reach a score between -100 and 100.
Marzilli said that because the Buzz score is calculated by subtracting negative feedback from positive the brand “benefits by being less controversial” than others.
In short, a higher score means more favorable buzz.
Subway, as Marzilli pointed out, positions itself as a healthy alternative to other fast-food restaurants, helping it avoid much of the criticism around obesity and unhealthy foods heaped upon companies such as McDonald’s and Taco Bell.
The sandwich chain isn’t without fault, however. This month, Subway was forced to respond to a crisis that erupted in Australia, where a customer shared a picture of his “footlong” sandwich alongside a tape measure on the company’s Facebook page. The sandwich clocked in at a mere 11 inches, prompting others to post similar pictures.
to “redouble [its] efforts to ensure consistency and correct length in every sandwich.”
Following Subway on the list are Amazon, which was No. 2 for the second year in a row, and Cheerios, one of several movers on the list—the cereal brand climbed two spots from last year. Meanwhile, Google fell to No. 10, from No. 4 in 2011.
“Google started the year with privacy issues and negative coverage of Google+, however it was a year where the company built on previous growth and sharpened its focus on mobile and social,” the YouGov report said.
Also this year, Amazon’s Kindle cracked the top 10 for the first time, while Apple slipped just off the top 10 radar. It was No. 11, according to a report in Business Insider
Here are the top brands and their scores:
1. Subway (40.3)
2. Amazon (36.8)
3. Cheerios (35.4)
4. History Channel (33.8)
5. Lowe’s (32.7)
6. Ford (32.1)
7. Target (31.1)
8. Kindle (31)
9. YouTube (30.9)
10. Google (30.8)
To see the rankings for 10 other countries—including the U.K., France, Germany, Mexico, and Saudi Arabia—visit YouGov’s website