By Stephen Nellis
(Reuters) - Apple Inc <AAPL.O> and Alphabet Inc's Google <GOOGL.O> corporate brands dropped in an annual survey while Amazon.com Inc <AMZN.O> maintained the top spot for the third consecutive year, and electric carmaker Telsa Inc <TSLA.O> rocketed higher after sending a red Roadster into space.
IPhone maker Apple dropped to 29th from its previous position of No. 5, and Google dropped from 8th to No. 28. Apple had ranked No. 2 as recently as 2016, according to the annual Harris Poll Reputation Quotient poll released on Tuesday.
The poll, conducted since 1999, surveyed 25,800 U.S. adults from Dec. 11 to Jan. 12 on the reputations the "most visible" corporate brands.
John Gerzema, CEO of the Harris Poll, told Reuters in an interview that the likely reason Apple and Google fell was that they have not introduced as many attention-grabbing products as they did in past years, such as when Google rolled out free offerings like its Google Docs word processor or Google Maps and Apple's then-CEO Steve Jobs introduced the iPod, iPhone and iPad.
"Google and Apple, at this moment, are sort of in valleys," Gerzema said. "We're not quite to self-driving cars yet. We're not yet seeing all the things in artificial intelligence they're going to do."
Meanwhile, Amazon.com held on to the No. 1 spot, which it has held for five years with the exception of 2015, when it slipped to No. 2. Gerzema attributed Amazon's ranking to its expanding footprint in consumers' lives into areas like groceries via its Whole Foods acquisition.
Elon Musk's Tesla climbed from No. 9 to No. 3 on the strength of sending Tesla Roadster into space aboard a SpaceX rocket - despite fleeting success delivering cars on time on earth, Gerzema said.
"He's a modern-day carnival barker - it's incredible," Gerzema said of Musk. "This 'The Right Stuff' attitude is able to capture the public's imagination when every news headline is incredibly negative.