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In acquiring Canadian-headquartered coffee shop chain Tim Hortons, Burger King gets a chain with high marks in value and quality perception but less than a third of the brand awareness of its U.S. rivals. With 866 outlets in the U.S., compared to 4,546 in Canada, only 30% of U.S. citizens are aware of the brand, compared to more than 90% for the far bigger Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks. However, in the eyes of consumers, Tim Hortons is very competitive on the value and quality fronts. And with increased investment from Burger King, Tim Hortons could close the awareness gap through ... read more

According to the Identity Theft Resource Center there have been 447 data breaches so far in 2014 exposing over 11 million records across a number of industries. From 2012 to 2013 the number of breaches identified as "hacking" has increased by just over 20%, from 129 to 160 breaches. Understandably, Americans have become more concerned about security with 47% reporting to be more worried about cyber security this year than last year. This past April a security bug in OpenSSL (the protocol used to secure everything from Facebook to Etsy) called Heartbleed threatened to expose private account information to hackers. ... read more

Kmart, Forever 21 and Target have made the biggest strides in purchase consideration among parents over the past 30 days. Kmart is also the leading Value improver during the time period. While these gains have undoubtedly strengthened the three brands, which are already in the top 10 of purchase consideration scores, Kmart and Forever 21 are in an increasingly tightening pack of back to school retailers where no chains have broken out to catch up with the top tier of Walmart, Target, and Old Navy. Over the past 30 days, most retailers find themselves in “back to school perception gridlock,” ... read more

While perception of the big three burger chains has been moving recently in different directions, driven by news, menu items and other factors, one thing still remains relatively un-impacted: more fast food eaters say they have bought meals at McDonald’s over the past 30 days than Burger King or Wendy’s by a wide margin. Here’s how each of the chains has seen their perception change lately: Burger KingMaybe it was the phasing out of the low-calorie Satisfries. Or maybe it was the heralded revival of Chicken Fries. Burger King’s perception among fast food eaters has been on the rise since ... read more

Colgate’s consumer perception reached a 14-month low a little over a week after Bloomberg News revealed their Total toothpaste contains triclosan, which has been linked to cancer-cell growth and disrupted development in animals. Since the August 11th story, Colgate lost two-thirds of its YouGov BrandIndex Buzz score, which asks respondents: "If you've heard anything about the brand in the last two weeks, through advertising, news or word of mouth, was it positive or negative?" Colgate’s Buzz score dropped from 17 on August 8th to 6 on August 18th. Buzz score is measured on a scale of of -100 to 100 ... read more

The Trivago Guy is shaking up the online travel booking industry. The Germany-based travel search engine Trivago has come out of nowhere with a much-talked-about video ad to join Priceline as the online travel booking sites with the highest recent ad awareness. Among domestic leisure fliers, 29% recall seeing an ad in the past two weeks for both Priceline and Trivago, compared to 19% for Expedia. Veteran site Tripadvisor recently launched a $30 million TV ad campaign for the first time, tripling ad awareness from 5% when it launched in spring to its current 15% level, although still half of ... read more

There is overwhelming support in America for legislation that would require policemen to wear cameras with 72% supporting the legislation.   Why such an overwhelming desire for more transparency? Two thirds (66%) of Americans think that police brutality described as “the use of excessive force, usually physical, but potentially in the form of verbal attacks and psychological intimidation, by a police officer,” is an issue in the United States.   A rather higher percentage of African Americans (75%) see it as a problem compared to 63% of whites – but a clear majority of all demographics see it as a problem. ... read more

Unlike most of America, only one third of New Yorkers (34%) have access to a household car, and New York’s extensive subway system is the most commonly used mode of transport – used by over three quarters of New Yorkers (77%).  Although a large 43% of New Yorkers do use cabs, more people use buses and walk (67%).  New apps like Uber might be about to transform the way people move about the city. Which of the following best describes the reasons why you do not travel by cab/taxi? Price is a real barrier for New Yorkers when it comes ... read more

Little Caesars is taking a bigger slice of customers in the pizza wars. Following its February introduction of the $5 Hot-N-Ready Lunch Combo with an aggressive series of ads throughout the late spring and early summer, Little Caesars is attracting more customers while maintaining higher value perception levels than it first achieved last fall. The brand returned to national advertising in mid-2012, and recently pushed ahead of Domino’s in ad awareness – the percentage of US consumers who recall seeing an advertisement in the last two weeks. YouGov BrandIndex reported last year on the boost to consumer value perception kicked-off by the ... read more

Journalist Ryan Block’s highly viral recording of his tangle with an aggressive Comcast service rep has helped bring the cable company to its lowest consumer perception levels in two and a half years. This long-time low point of consumer perception has come at an inopportune time: the Justice Department and FCC are yet to decide whether Comcast can merge with Time Warner Cable, with public interest being part of its mandate. Word of mouth levels for Comcast have increased since the beginning of the year and have stayed elevated. However that word of mouth is predominantly negative: Comcast and Time ... read more