NEW YORK: The financial and economic crisis is having a significant impact on how consumers perceive brand value, reports a survey carried out by YouGovPolimetrix through September 1 - October 27. That slot was chosen specifically to examine the impact of the current crisis on brand perceptions.

Budget brands like Wal-Mart and Old Navy were ranked highest by consumers; conversely upscale brands and financial services firms ranked lowest – the latter especially hit by lack of consumer confidence.

The five highest-scoring brands were Craftsman, History Channel, Discovery Channel, Google and Rubbermaid. Brands with the worst perception of value were MTV, Hummer, Red Bull, AIG and Abercrombie & Fitch.

Moreover, as the economic situation worsened, value perception scores increased for Microsoft, Starbucks, Verizon Wireless, Folgers, and Bath and Body Works, while  scores went southbound  for AIG, Wachovia, Washington Mutual, Foot Locker and Merrill Lynch.

Comments YGP svp/general manager Ted Marzilli: "There's a common theme here. In the case of financial services, consumers see these brands as irresponsible in the way they handled their own finances and how they handle the finances of consumers."

YGP's BrandIndex unit also measured the brands with the best and worst value perception across nineteen categories ...

  • Domestic airlines:
    Southwest ranked as "best," while United ranked as "worst." 
  • International airlines:

  • Virgin Atlantic, best; Air France, worst.
  • Coffee/non-carbonated beverages:
    Lipton, best; Perrier, worst. 
  • Beer:

  • Samuel Adams and Corona, best; Milwaukee's Best and Icehouse, worst. 
  • Spirits:

  • Jack Daniels and Bacardi, best; Wild Turkey, Ballantines and Sauza, worst. 
  • Domestic cars:

  • Chevrolet and Saturn, best; Hummer, worst. 
  • International carmakers:

  • Toyota and Honda, best; Infiniti and Audi, worst. 
  • Women's clothing stores:

  • Lane Bryant, best; Juicy Couture and Wet Seal, worst. 
  • All other clothing stores:

  • Old Navy, best; Abercrombie & Fitch, worst. 
  • Computer equipment:

  • HP and Sony, best; Lenovo and Acer, worst. 
  • Consumer products and goods:

  • Clorox and Crest, best; Schick, worst. 
  • Department stores:

  • Target and Wal-Mart, best; Neiman Marcus, worst. 
  • Grocery stores:

  • Kroger, best; 7-11, worst. 
  • Insurance:

  • AAA , best; AIG, worst. 
  • Credit cards:

  • Visa, best; Discover, worst. 
  • Specialty retail/home improvement:

  • Home Depot and Lowe's, best;  Brookstone and 99 Cents Only, worst. 
  • Specialty retail/drugstores:

  • Walgreen's, best; Long's Drugs, worst. 
  • Amusement parks:

  • Sea World, best; Six Flags, worst. 
  • Hotels:

  • Best Western and Comfort Inn, best; Motel 6, worst.
The findings indicate a real consumers focus on bargain brands, as opposed to more expensive, high-fashion brands.

Notes YGP's Marzilli: "Some of the other

Data sourced from AdWeek (USA); additional content by WARC staff