Can a piece of golden foil-wrapped chocolate be perfect? It can in the social media world, where the Valentine's Day treat Ferrero Rocher topped the Passion Intensity Index, generating the most social love and a perfect score of 100 among eight major chocolate brands, according to the NetBase Brand Passion Index, which tracks the intensity of consumer passion for brands among users of online communities.

The February 2013 Brand Passion index measured Valentine's Day chocolate-related consumer insights around popular candy brands: Hershey's, Godiva, Ghirardelli, Ferrero Rocher, Neuhaus, Cadbury, Lindt, and Dove.

Ferrero Rocher also garnered the highest Net Sentiment score (87), despite accounting for a mere 1.3% of total buzz about Valentine's Day chocolate. Across online communities, customers raved about the golden-wrapped hazelnut chocolates, labeling them the "perfect" gift to give and receive.

Close behind was Ghirardelli, with the same Net Sentiment (87), but a lower Passion Intensity score (61). Social media users loved the sea salt and caramel chocolates as well as the peppermint flavors from Ghirardelli.

Even so, Hershey's accounted for the plurality of online buzz about Valentine's Day treats, generating some 30% of the total chatter generated by the eight brands.

However, Hershey's had the second lowest Net Sentiment score (68) and one of the lower Passion Intensity scores (45). Consumers complained about Hershey's smell and the overly sweet taste of the chocolate, Netbase found.

Using measures across a spectrum of emotions—love, like, dislike, and hate—the Netbase Brand Passion Index reads and understands what people are saying online, then surfaces and aggregates those likes and dislikes, as well as the emotions and behaviors associated with brands.

Below, excerpts from online discussions capture the passion that consumers feel about some of the major candy brands.


Ferrero Rocher:


About the data: To generate the February 2013 NetBase Brand Passion Index, ConsumerBase analyzed Valentine's Day chocolate-related conversations around popular candy brands across the Web from Feb. 1, 2012 to Jan. 31, 2013.

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Hershey's Hogs Social Media Buzz, but Ferrero Rocher Garners Love

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Lenna Garibian is a MarketingProfs research writer and a marketing consultant in the tech industry, where she develops engaging content that builds thought leadership and revenue opportunities for clients. She's held marketing and research positions at eRPortal Software, GAP Inc., Stanford University, and the IMF. Reach Lenna via Twitter @LennaAnahid and LinkedIn.