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GM 'Trust' Drives Positive Response

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Using its chairman as a spokesperson worked for General Motors once, so the automaker picked a shrewd time to do it again. By featuring Ed Whitacre in a post-government bailout ad, GM received positive feedback from consumers, according to YouGov's BrandIndex report.

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. This week's report also measures brands based on impression, meaning whether consumers have a positive feeling about 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:

 •   General Motors
 •   Sprint
 •   BP


Whitacre's Return Boosts GM

After running a series of spots offering a 60-day satisfaction guarantee last September, GM chairman Ed Whitacre recently returned in a new ad. In a spot called "Trust," Whitacre explained: “We have repaid our government loan in full, with interest, five years ahead of the original schedule.” The effort pumped up the impression score of GM’s individual brand average from 12.1 on April 22 to 17.1 six days later.

The score, however, has slightly cooled off since watchdog group Competitive Enterprise Institute accused GM of false advertising and asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate.





Sprint Calls Up Positive Buzz


Since the beginning of the year, Sprint has slowly worked its way up to more positive buzz, having waited on the sidelines while AT&T and Verizon Wireless went for each other’s throats last fall. Sprint’s buzz score has risen from 6.5 on Jan. 1 to a current score of 27.5.

Fueling Sprint’s resurgence are a number of factors: Sprint CEO Dan Hesse’s early March ad campaign dispelling his competitors’ “all you can eat $69.99” plans, the release of the Overdrive 3G/4G Mobile Hotspot (geared to iPad users), and now, the much-hyped rollout of 4G broadband coverage.





BP's Score Takes a Spill

Oil has not traditionally been a sector to receive warm buzz from consumers, inevitably linked with soaring prices, the recession and big profits. Before its calamitous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, BP was coasting in positive territory because of its longstanding rebranding (from “British Petroleum” to “Beyond Petroleum”), as well as its efforts to reduce greenhouse emissions and to divert money to alternative energy initiatives.

As news came that BP oil was continuing to leak into the waters near Louisiana, all that consumer goodwill crumbled quickly. BP's buzz score also took a spill, dropping from 43.1 on April 23 to its present -45.5. In the meantime, BP’s rivals -- Sunoco and Shell -- have kept the sector’s score more than afloat.