This from Freepress, via Adbusters: consumers are sending “warning signs” to US brands, according to Patrick Barrett. He writes that declining respect for American cultural values, exacerbated by the crisis in Iraq, is having a potentially disastrous effect on the image of US brands such as McDonald's, Coca-Cola, Nike and Microsoft. This is the conclusion of a new worldwide study of consumer attitudes. According to NOP World, the number of people who like and use US branded products has fallen significantly over the past year, while brands perceived to be non-American have remained relatively stable. Tom Miller, the managing director of NOP World, said worsening attitudes to the county's products could damage US business.
"It's not like there's a massive boycott. Instead, it seems to be an erosion of support. It's not falling off the face of the earth, but it is clearly a warning sign for brands."
Surveying the attitudes of 30,000 consumers worldwide, NOP found the popularity and consumption of US products had declined for the first time since the research programme was launched in 1998. Until 2002, brands such as McDonald's and Coca-Cola were notching up healthy annual growth in terms of use and familiarity in international markets. However, last year NOP discovered that the growth in popularity of all major consumer brands - including those from Europe and Asia - had stalled. Over the past 12 months the positive trend has gone into reverse, with US products hardest hit. The number of non-American consumers who "trust" Coca-Cola had fallen from 55% to 52%, while McDonald's rating had slipped from 36% to 33%, Nike's from 56% to 53% and Microsoft had fallen from 45% to 39%. The total number of consumers worldwide who "use" US brands was found to have fallen from 30% to 27%, while non-American brands remained stable at 24%.

The IPKat wonders how the survey distinguishes between a decline in brand popularity which is caused by a brand being American and a decline caused by health or investment concerns.

Politicisation of brands here, here and here
More on brand surveys here and here
ARE US BRANDS LOSING THEIR LUSTRE? ARE US BRANDS LOSING THEIR LUSTRE? Reviewed by Jeremy on Thursday, June 03, 2004 Rating: 5

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