Adweek 2000 – Speak Out

In cyberspace, the public lets its fingers do the talking
Marketers beware! On the information superhighway, people have the power. Web sites like deja.com give consumers a soapbox to voice their opinions about products known.
Since Deja.com focuses on product attributes and relative value, Adweek recently teamed with the site for a four-week probe behind the perception of popular brands. We asked consumers what role ad campaigns, a brand’s image, brand loyalty and value for money play in their purchasing decisions.
The results offer a fascinating glimpse of the techno-savvy, early-adapter consumer drawn to the open borders of cyberspace. Our consumers are Libertarian, outspoken, free-thinking and iconoclastic in taste. They are enthusiastic about image-marketed categories, such as beers, soft drinks, vodkas, sneakers, jeans and clothing makers. They are less interested in price-driven industries, including airlines and online brokers.
Site visitors harbor a healthy cynicism about trendiness; they hate logos with a passion. They want MTV to return to music programming and are upset about what they see as deceitful long-
distance telephone pricing ploys. The 4-year-old site invites input into its scaled-voting system, which measures everything from cookware and consumer electronics to bisexual Web sites and vacation destinations in Tunisia. Currently, there are about 850,000 user ratings of 38,000 products in more than 1,000 categories. The site has anti-spamming features allowing only one vote per person.
In November, 1.6 million visitors either placed a rating, comparison shopped, gushed or ranted. Their comments are posted on the site, or users can select a link to other product-oriented discussion groups.
Visitors to the special Adweek/deja.com segment were given the opportunity to rate brands on four criteria: A) ad campaign
B) image/reputation C) brand loyalty and D) value for money. For instance, the BMW entry shows the number of responses (13), the average combined rating for all four criteria (4.3) and the rating for each individual category. To see all the results, visit deja.com.
–Noreen O’Leary\
Criteria

A – Ad campaign C – Brand Loyalty
B – Image/reputation D – Value for money
Ratings are ranked on a 1- 5 scale, with 5 as the highest score.

“Excellent car for the money. Only complaint is that the base model is sluggish at low speeds.”
Luxury Cars
Product Responses Combined Ratings A B C D Ratings


BMW 13 4.3 3.9 4.6 4.7 3.8
Jaguar 6 4.0 3.5 4.7 4.3 3.7
Volvo 8 3.9 3.4 4.1 4.4 3.9
Lexus 10 3.9 3.4 4.1 4.1 3.9
Mercedes-Benz 13 3.8 3.9 4.2 4.0 3.3

“Apple is only hype. Computers should not be promoted by their appearance [but] by their technologies.”
Computers

Product Responses Combined Ratings A B C D
Ratings


Apple 93 3.7 3.7 3.8 3.8 3.3
Gateway 35 3.6 3.8 3.8 3.4 3.4
Dell 56 3.5 3.3 3.7 3.4 3.6
HP 20 3.4 3.0 3.6 3.5 3.2
IBM 18 3.2 3.1 3.6 3.3 2.6

[Poland Springs sells] excellent water at very good prices. No matter how many bottles you drink, it always tastes the same.”
Bottled Water
Product Responses Combined Ratings A B C D


Evian 32 4.3 3.5 4.2 3.8 2.9
Deer Park 10 4.3 2.8 3.4 3.7 4.1
Perrier 17 3.5 3.4 3.8 3.4 2.6
Poland 30 3.4 3.1 3.4 3.5 3.2
Springs
Pelegrino 9 3.2 2.1 3.4 3.2 3.0

“Amazon.com is
unacceptable. It e-mail spams its customers and even people who never did business with them. Avoid at
all cost.”
Online Booksellers
Product Responses Combined Ratings A B C D


Amazon.com 24 3.7 3.2 4.0 3.8 3.7
Borders.com 6 3.5 2.7 4.0 3.7 3.5
BN.com 6 2.9 2.7 3.3 2.3 3.2

“Watch your billing [MCI]. You’ll have to put up a good fight to get unauthorized charges removed.”
Long-Distance Service Providers
Product Responses Combined Ratings A B C D


Sprint 93 3.7 3.7 3.8 3.8 3.3
AT&T 35 3.6 3.8 3.8 3.4 3.4
“Dial Arounds” 56 3.5 3.3 3.7 3.4 3.6
(10-10-220, etc.)
MCI 20 3.4 3.0 3.6 3.5 3.2
WorldCom

“[American Express has] snarly customer service. The AMEX blue card is the better deal. Low interest rate, membership miles, no annual fee.”
Credit Card Companies
Product Responses Combined Ratings A B C D

Ratings



American 35 3.7 3.6 4.2 3.7 3.4
Express
MasterCard 15 3.4 3.7 3.4 3.1 3.3
Discover 29 3.1 2.9 3.4 3.1 3.2
Visa 14 2.6 2.6 2.1 2.6 3.0

“I like Adidas because it is so unassuming. It’s not like one of those flashy new pairs of Nikes. I own three pairs and love every one for a
different reason.”
Sneakers
Product Responses Combined Ratings A B C D
Ratings



Adidas 16 4.1 3.4 4.7 4.4 3.8
Converse 13 3.6 2.8 3.8 4.0 3.9
New 13 3.4 2.5 3.7 3.8 3.7
Balance
Vans 7 3.3 3.1 3.3 3.4 3.4
Nike 26 3.3 3.5 3.6 3.4 2.8

“Stupid clothes for stupid people. [Abercrombie & Fitch is] worthy of a poor rating.”
Clothing Makers
Ratings

Product Responses Combined Ratings A B C D




Gap 36 4.1 4.3 4.3 3.9 3.9
Banana 30 4.0 3.9 4.4 3.9 3.7
Republic
Structure 16 4.0 3.8 4.2 4.1 3.7
Urban 15 3.9 3.7 4.3 4.1 3.6
Outfitters
J. Crew 25 3.8 3.9 4.0 3.8 3.7

“Coors lives on
reputation not taste. I don’t get the mystique behind Coors. The novelty factor has definitely worn off. It’s just another weak American lager with little flavor.”
Beer
Product Responses Combined Ratings A B C D
Ratings


Guinness 93 3.7 3.7 3.8 3.8 3.3
Bass 35 3.6 3.8 3.8 3.4 3.4
Sam 56 3.5 3.3 3.7 3.4 3.6
Adams
Sierra 20 3.4 3.0 3.6 3.5 3.2
Nevada
Molson 18 3.2 3.1 3.6 3.3 2.6

“I was never a fan of their ad campaigns, but the product is the best. Levi’s last forever
making them worth the money. This is the only product I buy that shows the label.”
Clothing Makers
Product Responses Combined Ratings A B C D


Gap 22 4.3 4.3 4.5 4.3 4.1
Levi’s 28 4.3 3.8 4.6 4.5 4.1
Guess 16 3.5 3.8 4.4 4.1 4.0
Wrangler 22 3.4 3.8 4.0 4.0 4.2
Ann Taylor 14 3.2 3.6 4.1 3.9 3.9

“This watch is worth every dollar spent! It has outperformed any watch I previously owned and the
engineering is precise. I always get compliments when I wear it.”

Watches
Product Responses Combined Ratings A B C D



Timex 11 4.2 3.8 4.3 4.5 4.2
Swatch 7 4.0 3.7 4.3 3.8 4.0
Tag Heuer 12 3.9 3.4 4.3 3.9 3.8
Swiss 11 3.7 2.6 4.2 4.1 3.9
Army
Seiko 9 3.7 3.3 4.0 3.8 3.6

“I buy Pepsi because I like its taste best. I hate the current commercials with the little girl.”

Soft Drinks

Product Responses Combined Ratings A B C D
Ratings


Dr 55 3.8 3.5 3.9 4.0 3.8
Pepper
Coke 96 3.8 3.8 4.0 3.8 3.5
Pepsi 81 3.6 3.6 3.7 3.6 3.5
Canada 19 3.5 2.9 3.6 3.6 3.9
Dry
A&W 27 3.5 3.0 3.6 3.6 3.7
Root Beer

“Absolut=Hype. Absolut is a college kid Vodka. It is a lot of flash and there is little substance to it. The ads are top notch; the quality is OK but not great. A good mixer, however.”
Vodka
Product Responses Combined Ratings A B C D


Belvedere 23 3.8 3.3 4.2 4.0 3.9
Absolut 69 3.8 4.2 4.1 3.7 3.4
Finlandia 18 3.8 3.7 4.0 3.7 3.6
Stolichnaya 32 3.7 3.1 3.8 4.0 3.8
Ketel One 18 3.6 2.8 3.8 3.8 3.8