The concept of patriotism is an ancient one, with its etymology traced to the Greek πατριώτης (patriōtēs), literally "countryman." The sense of the individual participating collectively within a group that has a shared sense of the common good goes back much further than that but it's still going strong — just unfurl a flag or play a national anthem in a crowded place and you're bound to get a reaction. Patriotism thus has a powerful emotional component and so it's no surprise that brands are more than happy when their products and services become aligned with this.
Brand Keys, a New York-based brand loyalty and customer engagement research consultancy, has for decades been applying its proprietary consumer-centric system to determine corporate brand equity and predict what a company's customers will be thinking about and, more importantly, buying. When it comes to patriotism, Robert Passikoff, the founder and president of Brand Keys, points out that "Marketers like Independence Day because it gives them an opportunity to help citizens celebrate with patriotic flag-waving and red-white-and-blue motifs. Marketers cue the marching bands and majorettes, and look to leverage all the patriotic emotions that symbolize America. And for some, increased sales."
While true enough, once again the firm decided to dig a little deeper and recently surveyed 4,680 consumers aged 16 to 65 to determine which of 225 brands were the most associated with the concept of patriotism. The result was its 2014 ranking of the 50 most patriotic brands. Judging from the top 25 shown below, you can best get in a patriotic groove if on Independence Day you drive a Jeep, while wearing Levi's and sipping a Coke. Almost as good is driving a Ford while chewing Juicy Fruit, dressed in something from Ralph Lauren. Or you could partake of the festivities on your Walmart-sourced TV, while simultaneously watching a Disney movie streamed from Amazon on your iPad.
It's interesting to note Hershey's high ranking, coming in at number seven. This explains why Republican Senator Stephen S. Hershey Jr. has repeatedly employed campaign material that echoes the branding of America's favorite chocolate maker, as we covered in an earlier post.
For our part, it looks like we'll be spending July 4 the usual way — knocking back some Bud while polishing our Smith & Wesson, before taking the Harley out for a spin. Now that's patriotic!
2 Levi Strauss
5 Ford/Harley Davidson/Ralph Lauren
9 New Balance
11 Gatorade/Marlboro/Sam Adams
13 Louisville Slugger/Smith & Wesson
14 American Express/Coors
15 John Deere/L.L. Bean
19 Walgreens/Wilson Sporting Goods
20 Craftsman Tools/Jack Daniels/Kodak