Subway was the top brand in the U.S. for a third year in a row, while two huge tech companies, Google and Apple, which battled privacy issues and product defects, fell down the popularity list.
Market research firm YouGov ranked the top brands for all of 2012. YouGov assigns a BrandIndex Buzz score of -100 to 100 based on daily surveys of 5,000 people.
Subway continued its “Famous Fans” ad campaign last year featuring star athletes. Amazon had two brands on the top 10 list: Amazon, at No. 2 for the second year in a row, which expanded into fashion and luxury goods e-tailing; and Kindle at No. 8. Google dropped from fourth place to No. 10 but still made it in the top 10; its YouTube came in at No. 9.
Rounding out YouGov’s top five brands were Cheerios, which jumped to third from fifth place in 2011 after introducing new flavors; History Channel at No.4; and Lowe’s at No. 5.
The biggest improver was BP, which pleaded guilty to charges related to the 2010 giant oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. A string of bad PR had its upside for others. Also repairing their image were Toyota, which had the biggest car recall in more than a decade, and Monster, whose energy drinks have been cited in the deaths of five people.