26 Jan 2011 10:50 AM

Wendy’s, McDonalds, Domino’s and Nestlé Are Among Biggest Gainers On The Index Over Six Month Period

NEW YORK, NY - January 26, 2011 - Fast Food and sweet tooth brands are resonating among women – but not necessarily because they are craving pizza, chocolate and French fries. According to a 6-month analysis of The Women at NBCU Brand Power Index from July to December 2010, food brands that embraced healthy alternatives are capturing women’s attention like never before.

“With the national obesity crisis at an all time high, women – who make 90% of today’s consumer healthcare decisions – are clearly taking notice,” said Melissa Lavigne-Delville, VP of Trends and Strategic Insights for Women at NBCU. “What’s particularly interesting about the index findings is that some fast food brands are generating more buzz for their healthy products than other brands more commonly associated with health and wellness. This is a great illustration of the power of positive brand equity, which can be leveraged to launch new products and help companies enter areas of the market not typical to their business.”

A frequent ranker in the index’s top 25, McDonald’s saw an additional 10-spot surge over the 6-month period, after a partnership with social game FarmVille went live, virtually aligning the brand with fresh farm produce. Wendy’s climbed into the top 100 to #96, after introducing four new salad options as well as “natural-cut” fries seasoned with sea salt. In the last month of 2010 alone, Domino’s Pizza catapulted 140 notches up the Index to #218, coming off a major push to educate consumers on the California farm-grown tomatoes and 100% real cheese now used in every pie.

Nestlé, a company with a history steeped in chocolate, was the subject of a blitz of conversation and shot up the index 120 spots to #153, after announcing its new Food Science Institute, which focuses on creating products designed to prevent disease and improve health. Sierra Mist found its “sweet spot,” climbing 143 spots up the index between July and December, after announcing an all-natural version of its soda made with five ingredients, including real sugar.

Frito Lay appeared on the list for first time in November, after introducing its Artisan Recipes tortilla chips made with all natural ingredients. The brand continued its momentum in December, rising 13 spots on index to 361, following an announcement that 50% of its products will be made with all natural ingredients, including Lay’s, Tostitos and Sun Chips.

And it’s not just fast food chains that are going healthy. Walmart, which consistently held the number one spot on the index over the last six months, recently announced it will join First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” anti-obesity campaign by stocking healthier foods, reformulating thousands of packaged food items by 2015, reducing salt content by 25% and sugar content by 10%. The company also pledged to remove all remaining industrially produced trans fats and partially hydrogenated oils, and make food labeling more clear.

For the 6-month period, the following consumer brands made the top 25 list:

1) Walmart 2) Target 3) Verizon 4) eBay 5) Ford 6) Coca-Cola 7) AT&T 8) iPhone 9) iPod 10) Pepsi 11) Honda 12) Amazon.com 13) Sears 14) McDonald’s 15) Samsung 16) Toyota 17) Bank of America 18) Netflix 19) Kohl’s 20) Sony 21) Sprint 22) Microsoft 23) Tylenol 24) Xbox 25) Comcast

Methodology: The Women at NBCU Brand Power Index is the most comprehensive marketplace measure of the brands most talked about by women. The results include an analysis of 500 brands and are based on a compilation of online search data from Compete, social media buzz data from New Media Strategies, as well person-to-person conversations tracked by Keller Fay Group.

About Women At NBCU: Launched in May 2008, Women at NBCU is a powerful combination of media assets reaching women across multiple platforms. This ad sales, marketing and research initiative creates custom solutions for advertisers to connect with female consumers via NBC Universal's wide portfolio, including Oxygen, iVillage, Bravo, "Green is Universal," “TODAY,” as well as other female-skewing shows such as "The Biggest Loser." With its television, digital, and new media platforms, NBC Universal reaches 95% of U.S. women per month. Some recent Women at NBCU clients include Pepsi, Procter & Gamble, General Mills and Kodak.

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Press Contact: Meredith Feiner, Meredith.feiner@nbcuni.com, 212-664-5191


For more information contact:

Meredith Feiner
e: meredith.feiner@nbcuni.com

Hilary Smith
e: hilary.smith@nbcuni.com