The Politics of Brand

The U.S presidential election is imminent and, not surprisingly, politics are dominating everyone’s conversations.  Last week a work colleague and I had an on-going discussion of whether brands have political connotations.

We started with an observation about cars in the office parking lot: more Republicans own BMW’s while more Democrats own Jeeps. Cars turned into sports: Democrats prefer football while Republicans prefer baseball. We tried to find a pattern with fast food restaurants but couldn’t.

My colleague then speculated that logo color might reveal something about political leanings.  Coca-Cola, Verizon, and Oracle would all be considered Republican while Pepsi, AT&T, and SAP would be Democratic.  Chick-fil-A’s red logo seems to be consistent with their recent political controversy.

While it’s an intriguing notion, the theory didn’t stand up to a little on-line sleuthing. The neuro-insight research firm Buyology studied consumers’ non-conscious connections to brands and discovered variations by political affiliation:

Democrats Republicans
Most Desired Car Jeep BMW
Most Desired Electronics Sony Sharp
Most Desired Insurance Progressive Allstate
Most Desired Restaurant Wendy’s Subway
Most Desired Coffee Shop Starbucks Dunkin’ Donuts

Allstate’s blue logo disproves our theory but at least we got the cars correct.

It turns out trying to associate brands with political preferences is a popular topic. According to consumer research firm YouGov, which ranked 1,100+ brands for quality, value, and willingness to recommend, the top brands for each political party are as follows:

Democrats Republicans
Google Fox News Channel
Amazon.com History Channel
Cheerios Craftsman
Clorox Chick-fil-A
Dawn Johnson & Johnson

The results seem to imply Republicans watch more TV while Democrats spend more time on-line.

Even social media has joined in.  The digital agency Engage cross-referenced polling data with influence and Facebook “likes” to correlate food preference with politics. Their conclusion? “Conservatives like Cracker Barrel, while Red Bull leans left.”

Infographic by engage

I don’t know if any of this can be used to project the election winner but it’s good fun.

So readers, what do you think? Do your politics fit these brand preferences?

27 Responses to The Politics of Brand

  1. yasniger says:

    Reblogged this on yasniger and commented:
    it just made me laugh really

  2. […] This blog was originally posted on Manage By Walking Around. […]

  3. Interesting post! I’m surprised by the Starbucks vs. Dunkin’ Donuts preference—-I thought for sure Starbucks would be a Republican thing! Congrats on being FP!

  4. This is a good one! Going to reblog for sure. I also blog about these topics, feel free to check me out! http://bit.ly/S4a6ID

  5. susielindau says:

    As an independent voter, it is pretty hilarious! Love the Cheerios and Craftsman difference as well as Clorox and Chick-fil-A.
    Congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

  6. Interesting. As far as color goes, I do know that most advertising done for food use warm, earth tones. It’s believed that these colors (red, orange, yellow, green, brown, etc.) create hunger in the subconscious. 🙂 Enjoyed your post.

  7. Matt_S_Law says:

    Huh… Is this why big companies donate so much to political campaigns?

  8. kituok07 says:

    Ok then, basically you are saying that the Democrats are happy with the essetials while the Republicans will go for the finer things in life? The common man versus the elites???

  9. segmation says:

    I am not sure if they do fit those brands but I will be glad when the elections are over, how about you?

  10. S.C. says:

    I think Progressive gets so much Democratic support because “progressive” means something like “liberal” in political terms. So even the Progressive vs. Allstate thing makes a kind of sense.

    As for the color thing, I don’t really know. I’ve always thought of the red color as a left thing for some reason, and over in Europe the social democratic parties seem to like the color red, since they use it a lot. But hey, interesting post!

  11. Fascinating! I’m not sure how far one could read into this, but it would be interesting to flesh out a full argument about how these branding patterns reflect the values and ideas of the political parties. Thanks for sharing!

  12. Leah says:

    This reminds me of some of Philip Cohen’s google correlation charts at familyinequality.wordpress.com. Not entirely scientific but still quite interesting.

  13. margaretw514 says:

    I would think that the most desired Republican restaurant would be Chick-Fil-A… but of course, I could be wrong.

  14. Ras Writa says:

    Politics like everything else in the US uses consumerism and ads to get were they want to be.

  15. jsw12 says:

    I’m British, so some of these brands (like Chick-fil-A and Craftsman) mean nothing to me. Starbucks, of course, I know well: if it’s more readily identified with Democrats maybe its connected with the coffee chain’s Seattle origins.

    I would have thought Jeeps would be more popular with Republcans, since they’re more practical than BMWs in rural areas.

  16. lsurrett2 says:

    It’s definitely an interesting idea.

  17. […] This blog was originally posted on Manage By Walking Around. […]

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