Digital Insights: J&J Rivals Tiger Woods & BP in Bad Web Press

Jan. 11, 2011
Pharma Web Buzz: Johnson & Johnson rivaling Tiger Woods and BP in 2010 bad web press.

Full-service digital marketing agency Zeta Interactive recently published their annual end-of-year Buzz Report, recapping the most (and least) buzzworthy pharmaceutical brands trends, stories, etc. from all of 2010. To determine the winners (and losers), Zeta uses its Buzz technology and algorithm, which scans more than 200 million blogs and online sites in real-time, and assigns a buzz ranking to each company, factoring in both volume and tone of posts each brand receives.

For the past two years, Johnson & Johnson was the buzz champion of all the pharmaceutical brands, but this year Pfizer claimed the top spot with a 5.64 overall buzz rating. Not surprisingly with all the recalls and job cuts last year, J&J dropped out of the top ten all together.

Positive and negative news stories and commentary are calculated within the Buzz algorithm and referred to as a company’s “tonal” score. Zeta Interactive CEO Al DiGuido tells us that in the past few years, the blogosphere has been an accurate indicator of mainstream, general consumer trends and tonal rankings very closely parallel this past year’s brand successes and failures. “By December 2010 we saw Johnson & Johnson fall off our Top Ten Best Buzz list completely and rank with only a 36% positive tonal score. To provide a comparison, Tiger Woods ranked at a 29% tonal score in 2010.” What this means, he says, is that Johnson & Johnson is now keeping company with BP and Tiger Woods in the Top 10 Worst Buzzed brands of 2010.

For the first time since 2008, three pharma brands—Bristol-Myers Squibb, AstraZeneca, and Pfizer—ranked above a 90% positive tonal score in web stories, trends and commentary in the 2010 Buzz Ranking. The report found that AstraZeneca, for example, which finished with a 91% tonal score, was most closely associated with the words “trust” and “loyalty,” which were the most popularly used terms to describe the brand in 2010.

“We are seeing that in the current climate it is very important to consumers that they are able to trust the brands they use and feel that these companies are treating them loyally in return. It was interesting to see this year that ‘trust’ and ‘loyal’ were the most popular words describing the big winners in the blogosphere,” DiGuido says.

Other interesting Buzz Rankings to note:

  • Merck and Bayer kings of volume, far off on tone: Of all pharma brands in 2010, Merck and Bayer received 2 of the 3 highest volume rankings, coming in at over 60 posts/day average throughout the year. However, the two brands also received the lowest tonal ranking of all pharma brands on the Top 10 list, registering just 63% and 64% positive buzz, respectively. 
  • New brands on the block: There are four new brands to this year's Top 10 pharma buzz list—AstraZeneca at #3, BMS at #7, Eli Lilly at #9 and Mylan at #10. 
  • Roche shoots up rankings: Of all brands to have made the 2009 Top 10 list, Roche experienced the greatest jump in the rankings this year, moving up 6 spots overall, from #10 in 2009 to #4 in this year's rankings.
  • Novartis only brand to remain the same from '09: Of all brands on the Top 10 list in 2009, Novartis was the only one to have kept the same exact overall buzz ranking, coming in at #2 on both last year's rankings and this year's. 

Do you think these rankings are accurate based on what you have seen in the blog and social media space? Let us know: [email protected].

Brand Volume Ranking Tonal Ranking
Zeta Buzz Ranking Change From Last Year's Rankings
Pfizer 62.7 90/10 5.64


Novartis 64.8 74/26 4.80 no change
AstraZeneca 51.9 91/9 4.72 new to list
Roche 52.2 80/20 4.18 +6
Merck 65.6 63/37 4.13 -1
Bayer 64.3 64/36 4.12 -1
Bristol-Myers Squibb 35.1 92/8 3.23 new to list
Watson 38.7 82/18 3.17 -1
Eli Lilly 34.4 83/17 2.86 new to list
Mylan 30.9 85/15 2.63 new to list
About the Author

Michele Vaccarello Wagner | Senior Digital Editor