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Which brand has the highest ad awareness in the US? Turns out it’s GEICO, with an impressive 51.7% of US adults having seen one of its ads in the 2 weeks prior to being surveyed. That’s according to YouGov BrandIndex, which has released its top ad awareness rankings for 2016.

GEICO has certainly had to spend to reach that rank: in 2014, for example, it reportedly spent upwards of $1 billion on advertising.

That spending seems to have been more effective in generating awareness than the #2 brand, though. Verizon Wireless came in second in YouGov’s ad awareness rankings, with roughly half (49.5%) of adults surveyed reporting having seen one of its ads in the prior 2 weeks. Ad Age data indicates, however, that Verizon Communications spent $2.7 billion in measured media advertising in 2015. Still, that spending was likely on a more diversified set of brands and products/services than GEICO.

Interestingly, a lengthy 2012 MarketingCharts report on insurance marketing (available upon request) found that GEICO devoted a larger share of its advertising budgets to TV and radio than did other leading insurers, while spending less on display ads and paid search. Assuming that has held up over the past few years, and it seems that mass media is well, effective at doing what it’s supposed to do – generate awareness…

The rest of the brands occupying the top 5 positions in ad awareness are:

  • McDonald’s (49.1%) – not in the top 10 advertisers on Ad Age’s list;
  • AT&T (48.3%) – #2 on Ad Age’s list with $3.9 billion in 2015 measured media ad spending; and
  • DirecTV (47.3%) – which is owned by AT&T.

Meanwhile, the brands that improved the most in ad awareness between 2015 and 2016 were:

  • Uber (+8.4% points to 18.8% ad awareness);
  • Clorox (+5.3% points to 21.9%); and
  • Metro PCS (+5% points to 17.2%).

The full list can be accessed here.

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