Which brands make us most angry? Yes, you guessed correctly. The big ones that rip us off, starve us of mortgage funds, pilfer our savings and behave with amoral disregard for everyone’s interest but their own. Anything, in short, that ends with the word “Bank”.
But come, let’s be a bit more specific. How about some brand differentiation – which is the worst, and which the runner-up? Well, coming in at number two – just behind the winning “All banks” category – is Barclays. And next, in seventh position, is Royal Bank of Scotland.
I know all this thanks to some research, just out, conducted by YouGov and commissioned by creative agency Johnny Fearless (of which more below).
Why don’t Lloyds, Santander and HSBC make it into the top ten? Surely not on account of the odour of sanctity. We can only speculate, but could it be that Barclays and RBS have the two biggest Swinging Dicks attached to their brand heritage, namely Bob Diamond and Fred the Shred? I doubt that most people know who Antonio Horta-Osario is, and would struggle to recall his name in sufficient detail if they did. Which is probably just as well for Horta-Osario and Lloyds Bank.
More interesting, if perplexing in some ways, is the identity of the other seven members of this exclusive Top Ten club. Tenth equal with Coca-Cola is Nestlé – still regarded as a corporate pariah on account of its anti-social baby-milk marketing practices in developing countries. I’m sure that doesn’t depress sales of Kit Kats and Yorkie bars one bit, though.
And what’s Coke doing in there? Sorry boys and girls, for all your tender investment in clean athleticism, those grubby practices in Third World countries have not gone unnoticed.
Next up, “all utilities companies” at number eight, on account of their high prices and perceived profiteering. But two deserving special mention are British Gas – with its conspicuously bad customer service; and BT, with its ineffectual overseas call centres.
That leaves us with McDonald’s at number 4 – poor quality food and an inappropriate Olympics sponsorship, apparently…
…And, weighing in at number 3, the nation’s unfavourite retailer – Tesco. Memo to Tesco CEO Phil Clarke: it’s because you’re too big for your boots, despoil our high streets and blackmail your suppliers. No other retailer can do this so successfully, it seems.
Which companies or brands make you feel angry?
Rank company or brand
1 ‘All banks’, ‘Banks’
6 British Gas
7 ‘Royal Bank of Scotland’, ‘RBS’
8= Virgin Media
8= ‘Utilities’, ‘Energy companies’
The research was commissioned by Johnny Fearless and carried out by YouGov. Total sample size was 2077 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between August 3-6th 2012. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).
Johnny Fearless is a Soho start-up agency founded by Paul Domenet and Neil Hughston, whose stock in trade is creating “social crackle” around brand messages. Or so it says in their publicity blurb.