Barbie, Kotex and Harley-Davidson are among the brands that are having a major impact on women, according to a new analysis of brand performance by Women at NBCU.
Women at NBCU is an ad sales, marketing and research initiative set up to help advertisers reach female consumers via NBCU's TV and digital assets.
As part of its efforts to come up with better ways for advertisers to target women, Women at NBCU has developed a Brand Power Index (BPI) to track brands that garner the most female attention and it used BPI to track brands having the most impact on women over the last year.
Many of the most successful brands found innovative ways to combine digital media and more traditional media to reach women.
The Women at NBCU's BPI review included an analysis of 500 brands based on a compilation of online search data from Compete, social media buzz data from New Media Strategies, and person-to-person conversations tracked by Keller Fay Group. Brands were tracked over the course of a year from July 1, 2010, to June 30, 2011.
The study spotlighted Frito-Lay in the "best social media buzz" category. Frito-Lay set the Guiness World Record on Facebook this spring with 1.5 million new "likes" in 24 hours, climbing 159 points up the index.
To achieve this feat, Frito-Lay partnered with Zynga to create a Frito-Lay farm on FarmVille, where players could harvest and package their own wholesome virtual goods. Frito-Lay also replicated its famous "Flavor Kitchen" in New York's Times Square, a live cooking demonstration with simple solutions for busy moms, which was simultaneously streamed on Frito-Lay's Facebook page.
In the "best breakthrough buzz" category, the traditionally male-associated brand Harley-Davidson landed a spot on the index for the first time by staging a series of initiatives to celebrate the growing number of women enthusiasts. The company also gave women the chance to interact with fellow female riders on a new website.
In the "best steady buzz" category, Women at NBCU highlighted CVS Pharmacy, which had the longest steady buzz, climbing eight consecutive months up the index. The company captured women's attention with its continued effort to diversify beyond the pharmacy category, focusing especially on lifestyle and beauty.
In the "best controversial buzz" area, Kotex landed on top. It jumped 130 notches up the index "when it got real with women this spring by breaking the silence around feminine care," the Women at NBCU reported.
The brand launched "U by Kotex Tween," a new line of feminine care products aimed at 8- to 12-year-olds. As part of that effort it created an online forum for girls and their mothers to speak candidly about women's health at www.Kotex.com/Tween, as well as a space to recount their first periods.
Barbie won the "best viral buzz" segment with a successful social media campaign over whether Barbie should take Ken back or remain a single, independent woman. Mattel flirted with the idea across Facebook, Foursquare, Twitter and Youtube to determine if America's most famous couple should reunite. The company also launched Genuine Ken, a reality web series, to find the next "great American boyfriend."
The Barbie and Ken love saga also continued offline, with a billboard campaign in which Ken professes his love for Barbie.
"The most successful brands we've seen over the last twelve months not only engaged women across multiple platforms, but also created the opportunity for women to engage with one another and contribute to the brand conversation," concluded Melissa Lavigne-Delville, VP of trends and strategic insights, Integrated Media at NBCUniversal, in a statement summarizing the results. "It was these brands that took risks, redefined their category, experimented with social media, and made room for humor in their messaging, that really climbed the Index."