Global brands are brands that expose a coherent identity across diverse cultural and geographical contexts. While the number and importance of global brands have increased with the most recent, neoliberal wave of globalization, the phenomenon is not new in itself. Brands were already an important element to the “first” wave of globalization of 1870–1913. Building on superior productive capacity and new advertising and marketing skills that had developed in a growing domestic consumer market, British brands like Pear's Soap were successful in colonial markets as well as in continental Europe and the United States. In the interwar years, the development of an American consumer society relied on new capacities for “Fordist” mass production: a consolidating cultural industry centered on radio, cinema, and the press, and new management and marketing practices along with market research and consumer psychology. In particular, there was a consolidation of American advertising practices; advertising underwent a “scientific turn” and began to rely more on systematic theories and models and less on intuition and artistic whim. These tendencies gave a growing strength to American brands like Lux Soap or Lucky Strike cigarettes. Aided by Hollywood cinema – where actors were often featured as “live” advertisements for branded consumer goods – and by the global expansion of American advertising agencies like J. Walter Thompson, these brands began to make inroads into European and, to some extent, Asian markets by the 1920s. For example, until the proclamation of “autarchy” in 1935, American brands had a discrete presence in fascist Italy and Coca-Cola was consumed in Nazi Germany. They were sold against the backdrop of a globalizing American media culture, centered on cinema and jazz music, where commodities like cigarettes and bubble gum could achieve new, transnational meanings as part of an alluringly modern American way of life. During the postwar years, the global diffusion of American brands and of the American consumer culture of which they were part would be a key component of the processes of “Americanization,” whereby the United States built up a cultural “soft-power” in the so-called “free world” that remained in a position of relatively uncontested hegemony at least until the onset of the Vietnam War.
|Parole Chiave:||brands; capitalism; commerce; commodity; consumerism; consumption; culture; labor|
|Settore Scientifico Disciplinare:||Settore SPS/08 - Sociologia dei Processi Culturali e Comunicativi|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2012|
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI):||10.1002/9780470670590.wbeog054|
|Tipologia:||Book Part (author)|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||03 - Contributo in volume|