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Brand Tags' clouds cut through marketing hype

CEOs and marketing types talk about improving or maintaining "brand values" all the time. But what do we really think of the companies that deliver us our modern existence? The site Brand Tags is attempting to find out.

CEOs and marketing types talk about improving or maintaining "brand values" all the time. But what do we really think of the companies that deliver us our modern existence? The site Brand Tags is attempting to find out.

What people think of Fox News

Visitors to the Brand Tags Web site are shown a company or brand logo and asked to enter the first word, or phrase, that pops into their minds. Listed brands run the gamut from tech companies (think Facebook, Microsoft and Apple) and the media (like Reuters, the Economist and ourselves) through to clothing, cars, charities and, even, the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Based on what users enter, tag clouds — similar to the ones in the right-hand column of this site — are generated for each brand. Some of the clouds clearly demonstrate that all the marketing dollars and creative spin in world can't change public perception. For instance, the Fox News cloud — seen in the picture on the right — proves that the site's visitors don't believe its claim to be "fair and balanced", while Hyundai is clearly "cheap" but "improving" and IBM can't seem to completely shake off its association to the Third Reich.

The site has been up for just over two weeks now and is an independently run social experiment run by Noah Brier, a New York City-based marketing strategist.

A quick tip: reduce your browser's font size to as small as possible to get a good view of each company's brand cloud; use ctrl together with the minus key several times on Firefox.