Although he sold his stake in the company in the mid-1990s, anti-virus software founder John McAfee’s widely-reported misadventures in Central America and extradition to the U.S. appear be causing a drop in his namesake company’s consumer perception in the US.
Anti-virus software company McAfee, Inc. is currently at its lowest consumer perception in five years, with more consumers reporting they have heard recent negative news vs. those hearing positive news about the brand. In more than five years of daily tracking, the brand has never scored in negative territory until now.
The brand experienced a gradual drop beginning in September but that decline accelerated in mid-November, around the same time John McAfee began blogging about evading Belize authorities who wanted to question him about a neighbor’s murder. As McAfee did a flurry of TV interviews, entered Guatemala illegally and then was extradited to the U.S. in early December, his namesake company’s perception dropped below that of rival Symantec and entered negative territory.
McAfee and Symantec were measured with YouGov BrandIndex’s Buzz score which asks respondents: “If you've heard anything about the brand in the last two weeks, through advertising, news or word of mouth, was it positive or negative?”
On September 7th, McAfee Inc.’s Buzz score was 35 while Symantec was at 17. Two months later in early November, McAfee was at 20. Once news about John McAfee’s escape from the Belize police broke in the news, the company’s Buzz score quickly descended to its present -17.
Symantec peaked on October 22nd with a 39 Buzz score, then began descending to its current 11 score, still keeping a 30 point gap with McAfee since early December.
Buzz Scores: McAfee, Symantec