In terms of brand preferences, today's average college students doesn't takes sides, with a survey from Anderson Analytics and BrandPort showing that while 90% of this year's returning college students can name a favourite brand, no single brand is capturing more than 6% of top-of-mind brand awareness or preference.
However, among the most popular brands mentioned, Nike took first place (mentioned by 6.0% of the students), followed by Coca Cola (3.0%), and a tie between American Eagle and Polo/Ralph Lauren (each with 2.7%). Other top 10 brands cited by the students were Sony (2.6%), Gap (2.5%), Adidas (2.0%), Old Navy (1.8%), and Abercrombie and Apple (tied for tenth place at 1.7%).
What's in a word?
According to the survey's report, communicating effectively with the youth market via advertising remains a challenge for many companies. Students were asked which advertisements they remembered seeing lately. They were also asked to comment on what made these ads really good or bad. The more popular and better-remembered ads were primarily described as being "funny", and were also described with more emotive language. Popular ads were frequently described as making you "laugh" and being "new", "creative", "cute" and featuring "people/girl" and/or "music".
Good or bad ad?
A number of commercials recalled were thought of as being bad, particularly from the fast food market. Bad commercials are simply thought of as being "too much" or "not making sense". Of course, the research suggests that brand damage from a bad commercial is limited: they proved to be more than twice as difficult to recall as good commercials (26% of goods ads were recalled easily, while on 12% of bad ads were recalled easily).
The '2005 Back to School Brand Survey' of 1,000 students was conducted in September 2005 from a representative sampling of US college students who have registered with BrandPort to view and get paid for watching advertisements. The report can be obtained directly from either BrandPort or Anderson Analytics.