Missing headlines (a continuing series)

"American Brands Selling Well Overseas"

The Economist presents the findings of an academic study by Peter Katzenstein of Cornell and Robert Keohane of Princeton, indicating that firms strongly identified with the United States are performing strongly in overseas markets, despite predictions of an anti—American backlash against brands identified with the USA.

Messrs Katzenstein and Keohane note: 'If anti—Americanism had a significant impact on sales, one should find US—based firms' sales falling in 2003—04, when anti—American views rose sharply in Europe, compared to 2000—01...This fall in the sales of American firms should occur both in absolute terms and relative to the performance of European firms.'

In fact, the opposite happened (see table). Between 2000—01 and 2003—04 all six firms increased their European sales. American companies also grew at least as fast as their European rivals. Why should this be? It could be that American firms have adopted clever marketing strategies that counteract any surge in anti—Americanism. Or perhaps it is simply that European consumers are still capable of drawing a clear distinction between President Bush and a Big Mac.

A third possiblilty is that anti—American feelings are vastly exaggerated by elites in media and academia, and that ordinary consumers are indifferent to the rantings of their supposed opinion leaders.

Ed Lasky and Thomas Lifson  12 19 05

"American Brands Selling Well Overseas"

The Economist presents the findings of an academic study by Peter Katzenstein of Cornell and Robert Keohane of Princeton, indicating that firms strongly identified with the United States are performing strongly in overseas markets, despite predictions of an anti—American backlash against brands identified with the USA.

Messrs Katzenstein and Keohane note: 'If anti—Americanism had a significant impact on sales, one should find US—based firms' sales falling in 2003—04, when anti—American views rose sharply in Europe, compared to 2000—01...This fall in the sales of American firms should occur both in absolute terms and relative to the performance of European firms.'

In fact, the opposite happened (see table). Between 2000—01 and 2003—04 all six firms increased their European sales. American companies also grew at least as fast as their European rivals. Why should this be? It could be that American firms have adopted clever marketing strategies that counteract any surge in anti—Americanism. Or perhaps it is simply that European consumers are still capable of drawing a clear distinction between President Bush and a Big Mac.

A third possiblilty is that anti—American feelings are vastly exaggerated by elites in media and academia, and that ordinary consumers are indifferent to the rantings of their supposed opinion leaders.

Ed Lasky and Thomas Lifson  12 19 05