Yorktown, N.Y. — IBM announced that its Deep Blue supercomputer, made famous by its chess victory in 1997 over Grandmaster Garry Kasparov, has again made history by becoming the first computer to earn a celebrity “Q Score.” The impressive showing of Deep Blue in a survey by Marketing Evaluations/TvQ, whose Q Score ratings are a leading indicator of a celebrity’s appeal, demonstrates how “tech” icons and popular culture are mingling to create new media superstars.
The Q Score is a measurement used frequently by advertisers and the media to evaluate the level, nature and trajectory of the popularity enjoyed by potential spokespeople or characters. Typically, scores are generated for film and television stars, musicians, fictional characters and other celebrities. According to Q ranking results, Deep Blue’s score is on par with celebrities such as CNN host Larry King, radio personality Howard Stern, former “Baywatch” star Carmen Electra and MTV deejay Carson Daly. Deep Blue, which currently resides at IBM’s Watson Research Center in Yorktown, NY, also did exceptionally well when compared with other well-known New Yorkers, including Donald Trump and George Steinbrenner.
After thirty-six years of evaluating cartoon characters, products, television programs, sports stars and other personalities, the proposition of Q scoring a computer was very intriguing to Henry Schafer, executive vice president, Marketing Evaluations Tv/Q Inc. “Deep Blue is emerging as a true personality and is comparing favorably with some very well known celebrities. It’s part of an interesting phenomena in which this computer had its fifteen minutes of fame and three years later we are still counting. I think it points to our evolving relationship with technology as it becomes part of everyday life,” said Schafer.
Highlighting the degree to which Deep Blue has become part of the collective consciousness of Americans, the IBM supercomputer was featured last month with Vice President Al Gore on the hit animated television series Futurama.
Deep Blue has also popped up in everything from Internet humor sites to daily newspaper columns. In addition, it has received over 5000 mentions in the print media over the last three years and has served as comedic material for Late Night talk show hosts including David Letterman and Jay Leno.
“Deep Blue’s chess victory made an RS/6000 SP supercomputer an overnight celebrity and showed the world the awesome capabilities of a computer that continues to make an impact today as the fastest supercomputer in the world and as the backbone behind some of the largest Web Sites in the world,” said Rod Adkins, general manager, IBM Web Servers. “We’re thrilled that Deep Blue has received a “Q” rating and that it continues to play an integral role in shaping people’s perceptions about computers.”
Among Internet users, Deep Blue scored exceptionally well compared to personalities commonly associated with the computer industry. The refrigerator-sized native of Yorktown, N.Y., scored higher than both Oracle CEO Larry Ellison and Sun Microsystems CEO Scott McNealy when members of the Net generations were asked whether they had heard of either man or machine.
Deep Blue’s Q-Score was derived from a representitive mail-in survey of 1200 Americans from the database of Marketing Evaluations/TVQ a New York-based polling company that has tracked celebrities for 36 years. The Q Score is a product of popularity, rated on a scale of 1 to 5, and familiarity among respondents. About 1 out of 2 people, according to the survey are familiar with Deep Blue. In Q-Scores the higher number is better. Scores within 5 pts are statistically comparable. For context, Albert Einstein rates a 56, Mickey Mouse 44, Elvis 33 and Tom Brokaw 28.
Compared to… Q-Score (Total sample)
Batman 13 Austin Powers 13 LL Cool J 12 Carson Daly (MTV-VJ) 11 Donald Trump 11 George Steinbrenner (NY Yankees) 10 Howard Stern 10 Deep Blue 9 Teletubbies 9 Carmen Electra (of “Baywatch”) 9 Gilbert Gottfried (comedian) 8 Larry King 7 Count Chocula (Breakfast cereal character) 7
What do men really think about? Q Score (Men over the age of 18)
Carmen Electra 14 Deep Blue 10 Hillary Swank (Academy Award Winner) 7
In fact, among Internet users, Deep Blue is more familiar than others commonly associated with the net: (Internet users only) `
Have you heard of….. Q Score
Deep Blue 45% yes 8 Larry Ellison (Oracle CEO) 14% yes 6 Scott McNealy (Sun CEO) 13% yes 6