The Good, The Bad, The Dead

This Halloween season Y&R’s Brand Asset Valuator (BAV), our proprietary brand management tool and global database of consumer perceptions of brands, look at 30 years of U.S. Data to analyze the good, the bad and the dead in the world of brands. 


These are cultural icons that have been able to maintain leadership positions through time. They’re brands that have proven they just can’t be killed. Google ranks in the top 1% on Brand Strength today. 

  • Gatorade
  • Google
  • M&M
  • Nike
  • Starbucks
  • Ziploc

M&M’s | Consistently ranked as the strongest brands in the candy sector since 2003. Compared to the candy category, M&M’s is 57% more Fun and 29% more Innovative.

Ziploc | Why has Ziploc become a genericized term with the likes of Xerox, Kleenex, and Google? Since 1997, our data has shown Ziploc as a leadership brand. Consistently ranked high on Brand Stature and Strength, it’s even perceived 54% more of a Leader, 27% more Reliable, and 25% more Trustworthy than any brand in its category. Ziploc outshines on its functional abilities, while establishing an emotional connection with consumers.


These are brands that kill off major competition and dominate a category. They are market leaders with high equity scores, making it hard for any other brand to enter their space.

Netflix Netflix ranks in the top 3% on Differentiation vs. 3,000+ brands in our study. For comparison, Hulu only ranks in the top 16% and HBO Go is in the top 5% respectively on Differentiation. 

Trader Joe’s | Trader Joe’s has dominated the supermarket category with a unique offering. As Americans care more and more about the food that goes into their bodies, Trader Joe’s capitalizes on this trend by offering organic and non-GMO products at a low price. Our data shows that Trader Joe’s is perceived as 20% more Healthy than other grocery stores.

In addition, the dynamic of shopping has changed. It’s not just about products anymore -- it’s about the experience. Trader Joe’s has disrupted the category by creating an inviting in-store experience. Whether its selling their famous Two-Buck Chuck or handing out leis to customers, they’ve carved out a unique identity in the space… the brand is seen as 70% more Charming, 51% more Friendly than any other supermarket brand.


These are relatively new brands that are climbing up the equity charts and taking market share from other brands in their respective categories.

  • AirBnB
  • Blue Apron
  • Buzzfeed
  • Snapchat
  • Uber
  • Warby Parker 

Buzzfeed | Buzzfeed is a disruptor in the news content space. Currently it is ranked in the top 2% on Different, top 7% on Dynamic, and top 10% on Unique.

Snapchat | Snapchat has transformed the way Millennials communicate. Since it’s launch in 2011, the brand has almost doubled in Relevance among this cohort. Although other social media apps offered similar capabilities to exchange pictures and videos, Snapchat has differentiated itself by being 13% more Unique than its competitors, Facebook and Instagram.

The brand has even attracted the attention of advertisers, celebrities, and news affiliates who use the content to attract younger audiences. Today, Snapchat is ranked top 2% on Innovative and Popularity versus 3,000+ brands in our study.

UberUber has consistently ranked in the top 5% on Different and the top 6% on Daring among all 3,000+ brands in our study.


These are brands that were on the verge of death, but have re-energized themselves to evolve into stronger brands with increased Brand Equity & a more developed brand persona.

  • Converse
  • Domino’s
  • General Motors
  • Old Spice

ConverseConverse began as the shoe for the world’s greatest athletes, but when competitors like Nike and Adidas began taking away market share, Converse was pushed off the court. After filing for bankruptcy in 2001, Converse decided to change their image from athletic footwear to an everyday shoe that expresses creativity. In doing so, the brand expanded its fan base, increasing on Daring by 68% and gaining on Originality by 52% (versus 15 years ago), while staying true to the artist community that originally embraced them. When faced with brand adversity, Converse tapped into a perceptual opportunity no shoe brand had seized before, personifying a true “Mutant” journey.

Domino’sDomino’s Pizza has experienced a 52% increase in Innovation and gained 15% more credit for Leadership since its 2009 ‘Pizza Turnaround’ campaign.

Old SpiceAfter the “Smell Like a Man” campaign launched in 2010, Old Spice increased 54% on Daring.


These brands have been facing equity decline and are struggling to recover. Consistently losing brand Differentiation, consumers find them to be outdated.

  • J.C. Penney
  • Michael Kors
  • Nokia
  • Toys R Us

JCPDifferentiation has fallen 34 rank points since 2008 – an indication that they cannot keep up with the evolving retail space.

Michael KorsA high-end fashion retailer that was reasonably priced, Michael Kors was the brand for young professionals looking to get luxury for less. In 2010, consumers considered Michael Kors as 45% higher on Worth More than the luxury fashion designer category. But today its brand persona has softened. In order to grow scale, Michael Kors began selling in outlet stores, discount retailers, and department stores, but this move devalued their brand--shifting from niche appeal to mass exhaustion. Although it’s a highly Differentiated brand in our culture today, Michael Kors has dropped 27 rank point on Good Value over the last six years. Once a wholesome brand, Michael Kors has been Infected with the devalue virus and runs the risk of becoming a Warm Body if it doesn’t act soon.

Warm Bodies

Simply put, these are brands that are close to dying off in the marketplace. They have lost emotional connections they once had with consumers, having majorly declined in brand equity over the last decade.

American Apparel Compared to the ‘fast fashion’ category, American Apparel is seen as 30% less Up to Date, 46% less Glamorous, and 12% less Trendy.

  • American Apparel
  • MySpace
  • Quizno’s
  • Scion
  • US Airways

MySpaceIt can be easy to end up as a Warm Body in the brand graveyard, just ask MySpace. When the brand was at its pinnacle, MySpace was ranked in the top 4% on Innovation and in the top 6% on Different compared to 3,000+ brands in our study. MySpace essentially developed the concept of social media, but in 2008 Facebook began to edge out MySpace. While Facebook rapidly began innovating, offering a well designed user-friendly website, MySpace was not prepared to compete with newcomers. Dropping drastically in Innovation by 20 rank points in just one year, MySpace lost its unique edge. Sitting in the bottom 19% on Differentiation today, MySpace struggles to own a clear brand identity. Now, in an almost decade long brand identity crisis, MySpace’s shifting platform from social media, to music streaming, to content aggregate has consumers wondering when they’ll finally kick the bucket.

ScionIn 2010, Scion was in the top 3% on Differentiation, but is now in the bottom 40%. Scion was seen as 64% less High Quality, 66% less High Performance, and 23% less Good Value compared to the overall automotive category. They will be completely rebranded as Toyota cars this August.

US Airways | Currently ranked in the bottom 1% on Differentiation. Compared to the airline category, it is 46% less Different, 37% less Prestigious, and 33% less Unique and Innovative. *Note: US Airways was acquired by American Airlines in 2013, but US Airways planes are still flying until 2017.


BrandAsset Valuator (BAV) is Y&R’s proprietary brand management tool and global database of consumer brand perceptions. Using 23 years of data and measuring, BAV is able to measure a brand using 72 metrics to see how they react in the larger cultural brandscape.