For what it’s worth, at least one online market research firm believes the “Watergate” scandal involving Anheuser-Busch InBev (ABI) has negatively impacted the public perception of the company’s Budweiser brand.
YouGov BrandIndex, A London-based consumer perception research service that surveys over 5,000 U.S. consumers daily, asked adults ages 21 and above to rate their perception of the global beer giant, following a class action lawsuit that alleges the company systematically watered down some of its products in an attempt to mislead drinkers on the stated alcohol percentage of Budweiser, among other beers.
To combat the allegations, ABI took out full-page ads in 10 major U.S. newspapers, including the New York Times. The ads depicted one of 71 million cans of drinking water the ABI has donated to the American Red Cross for disaster relief efforts. While the ads poked fun at the lawsuit and demonstrated ABI’s ability to creatively spin negative press, they may not have won over consumers quite yet.
So how did Bud fare in YouGov’s sample group? On January 10, before ABI launched its annual multi-million dollar Super Bowl ad campaign, the Budweiser brand had a “Buzz score” of six. After the commercials aired, Bud’s rating shot up to 39. But with news of the lawsuit grabbing headlines last week, Bud’s Buzz score plummeted to negative two. By comparison, Budweiser boasted a Buzz score of 24 at this time last year.
To calculate Bud’s Buzz score, YouGov asked respondents to explain whether they had heard positive or negative news about the brand over a period of two weeks. Scores range from 100 to negative 100 and are compiled by subtracting negative feedback from positive.
YouGov, which polls a representative US population sample and conducts more than 1.2 million interviews per year, said the score indicates an increasingly more negative public perception of Budweiser and its blaming “Watergate.”
More details are included in YouGov’s recent blog post.