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BBC tops Brand List 2012, while Apple and Amazon take a hit over tax avoidance accusations


By Jennifer Faull, Deputy Editor

December 26, 2012 | 2 min read

YouGov has revealed its annual BrandIndex, showing the top brands of 2012.

YouGov pollsters questioned a different set of 2,000 people every day, asking whether they had heard anything positive or negative through advertising, the media or word of mouth about a whole host of brands, to calculate a daily score – based on the percentage balance of people reporting hearing good or bad news.

Topping the 2012 poll was BBC iPlayer. Despite the BBC brand overall suffering from the Jimmy Savile scandal this year, individual parts maintained a strong score. The corporation’s site came eighth in the top 10 poll.

John Lewis and Amazon followed the top spot. However Amazon, due to the recent news of its tax avoidance, has dropped to third place from being first last year.

BrandIndex director Sarah Murphy told the Guardian that: "Amazon had a score of 32.1 last year, so a fall of eight points is a statistically significant drop for them. What we'd attribute that drop to would be the recent tax avoidance debate."

Fourth and fifth were Money Saving Expert and Marks & Spencer. Overall, M&S dropped 10 points and two places in the rankings from 2011. This year the retailer's chief executive, Marc Bolland, was forced to admit that the company didn't buy enough stock of its most popular winter lines, which ultimately led to the departure of the head of general merchandising, Kate Bostock.

The biggest risers in the brand list were energy companies, including British Gas; Scottish Power, and EDF Energy. However, they had started at a low base in 2011 after increasing prices while raking in record profits.

The reputations of Google and Apple also took a hit as Google struggled to recover after changing its privacy policy and sparking a European investigation. It came fourth last year but dropped from the top 10 altogether for 2012.

Meanwhile Apple suffered over its new mapping software, an underwhelming iPhone 5 launch and protracted legal battles with rival Samsung (which came ninth on the list). Despite being sixth in the 2011 list, it fell to 15 points and out of the 2012 top 10 list. However, thanks to the launch of the iPad mini, its iPad did well individually, placing sixth.

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