political brands

Politics and Brand Preference: Can Cheerios Bring Together Dems & GOPers?

Posted by Abe Sauer on November 7, 2011 02:31 PM

In America, everything remains political, and that includes brand preference. According to YouGov BrandIndex, Republicans and Democrats (surprise!) do not completely see eye to eye on brand trustworthiness.

But there is hope that our nation's partisan divide will be healed… with Cheerios.

For the second year running, Democrats voted in Google while Republicans favored Fox News Channel as the top brands by political affiliation. The big mover this year was Amazon.

One year ago, Amazon was the 10th most favored brand of Democrats. This year, it is number two. With independents, the online e-tail giant moved from 9th to 5th. Amazon did not even make Republicans' top ten. The numbers scoring the brands were generally higher for Republicans, suggesting stronger connections with their favorite brands than their Democrat counterparts. 

The brands that managed to cross political divides to be highly regarded by consumers of all political stripes include Discovery Channel, Johnson & Johnson, History Channel, Clorox and, of course, Cheerios.

New to the top ten list for Democrats are Clorox, PBS, and Levi’s. The Republican list also added Clorox in addition to M&Ms.

To put this in some current political context, the Occupy Wall Street-sparked protest movement is just the latest movement in the US to politically charge brand-consumer relationships.

Last week, one right wing blogger declared a personal boycott of Men's Warehouse after one of its stores closed in solidarity with Oakland Occupy protesters after some of those protesters turned violent. This came two weeks after tea party groups held a rally for the Gibson guitar brand after it came under investigation by the US Fisheries and Wildlife Service. ESPN also pulled its longtime Monday Night Football opening tune after its singer compared President Obama to Hitler.

That comparison, by Hank Williams Jr., came on the Fox News morning show Fox and Friends. The highest score on the YouGov BrandIndex, a 68.0, is from Republicans in favor of Fox News. The third highest score, a 63.9, is from that same group in favor of Fox. Incidentally, Fox News has, of late, begun toning down its right wing rhetoric, engaging in a kind of “course correction." Will that impact the brand's ranking next year?

Curiously, NPR, which has been embattled since firing Juan Williams last year, did not appear on the list. NPR's CEO resigned earlier this year after a right wing video sting operation exposing what conservatives called friendliness for Muslim terrorist-affiliates. PBS was 5th on the Democrats' list.

How the study is scored:

The Index score is an average of YouGov BrandIndex’s sub-scores measuring Quality, Value, Satisfaction, General Impression, Reputation, and Willingness To Recommend. YouGov BrandIndex measurement scores range from 100 to -100 and are compiled by subtracting negative feedback from positive. A zero score means equal positive and negative feedback.

YouGov BrandIndex interviews 5,000 people each weekday from a representative US population sample, more than 1.2 million interviews per year. Respondents are drawn from an online panel of more than 1.5MM individuals. Margin of error is a very accurate +/- 2%.

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