Americans Dislike Flag-Waving Promotions

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Americans Dislike Flag-Waving Promotions

NEW YORK -- Americans want to purchase U.S.-made products, but could be turned off when retailers use blatant flag-waving promotions, says a Ball State University study.

A survey of 447 Midwestern residents found that strong pro-American feelings are driving them to buy U.S.-made products. The feelings include national pride, believing in the need to keep the American economy strong and disbelieving that imported products are better options.

However, the survey also found that American consumers have few problems purchasing high-quality imported products, such as cars and electronics, said Joseph Brown, a marketing professor. He co-authored the study with marketing professor Russell Wahlers.

Brown urges retailers to consider a potential consumer backlash when using a 'buy American' campaign.

"Retailers should appeal to American pride and values without crossing over into blatant flag waving," he said. "When attempting to capitalize on national pride, simplistic promotional appeals could backfire."

The survey explored the impact of U.S. consumer motivation on deciding whether to purchase American-made products. Respondents were asked to rate how they considered purchasing products when considering national pride, helping to strengthen the U.S. economy, perceptions of product superiority, views regarding a global economy and product availability.

Brown said that from a managerial perspective, understanding consumer motivation is essential to planning, executing and evaluating promotions for either domestic or imported products.