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GMI World Poll: Europeans Reject American Products

Reported by Marie Therese - November 24, 2004

On Your World with Neil Cavuto yesterday (11/23/04), Cavuto interviewed Dr. Mitchell Eggers, Vice-President of Operations for Global Market Insite, Inc. (GMI), a Seattle-based market research firm. GMI's most recent World Poll shows a new trend in overseas consumption that could prove damaging to American corporations, namely, a willingness on the part of Europeans to boycott American-identified products if an alternative brand is available.

According to Eggers, "Microsoft is a brand heavily identified as American, but there's not a good local subsistute and so consumers don't identify that as a product they're planning to shift their purchasing dollars away from. McDonalds, on the other hand, is closely American but they also feel there are good substitutes and so they do, in fact, identify it as a brand they would avoid."

CAVUTO: Let me ask you about what's going on here. We had a nasty response to the French - boycotting French wine and cheese - in the height of the war. Is it tit for tat on their part or what?

EGGERS: I think it might be. I also think that much of America's innovation, competitiveness and fairness and respect around the world has been called into question and it's been called into question most deeply in what has been referred to as old Europe - France and Germany - and we asked those respondents and consumers "How do you form your image of America?" and 35% said the most important factor was US foreign policy and the way the United States is depicted on their national media.

They chose those responses over their travel to the US, American tourists in their country or their enjoyment of US music, movies, videos, so clearly the foreign policy angle and the way the United States is depicted in their national media strongly influence their image of America. And it spills over to brands that are closely associated with the United States. The long-term question here is: As American image erodes or as anti-American sentiment rises in important markets, are those consumers truly effective at having an impact on the bottom line? And in some cases I think we have to be very careful and begin to spot a trend when one's there. GM (General Motors) is having trouble in Germany and pulled out, closed the factories.

CAVUTO: Disney in France.

EGGERS: France. Disney in France. American Arilines lost $114 million last quarter, laid people off in Texas ...

CAVUTO (cuts him off): Good points all, Doctor. I'm sorry. We're in a time crunch here, but I want to thank you very much for joining us on what seems to be a European tiff with us.

To read the complete results of the GMI research click here World Poll.

COMMENT

On their site here's what GMI says about the poll:

"The GMI World Poll, conducted one week after the U.S. general election, sampled 8,000 international consumers, including a 1,000 representative sample in Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan, Russia, and the United Kingdom. The survey finds that 81% of Germans, 73% of French and 52% of consumers living in the UK are displeased by the reelection of President Bush. Additionally, nine of 10 French and German consumers think the U.S. president is an ineffective global leader and two-thirds of all European respondents believe the Bush administration's foreign policies are driven by self-interests and empire building."

"As a consequence of their frustration with the United States' policies overseas, one in five European consumers indicate that they will avoid purchasing certain American-brands products and services in the future." (End excerpt.)

We live in a country saddled with the largest trade deficit in our history, governed by an out-of-control Republican Congress that recently raised the debt ceiling to 6% of GDP while permitting the dollar to sink like a stone.

So, what do the Talking Heads at FOX, Clear Channel, Sinclair and the RNC continue to do? Why, bash Europe for being wishy-washy ingrates.

As recently as Sunday, FOX aired a xenophobic diatribe called "Breaking Point: Hating America" that vilified the French and Germans for opposing the war and believing ill of our sainted President.

In one clip from this special, narrator Greg Palkot, a FOX correspondent, said: "If the terrorists' first objective is to create chaos and fear, their second objective is to disrupt our economy." A clip of a newspaper then aired with a headline that read: "Well-Known US Brands See Sales in Europe Fall." The clear implication was that TERRORISTS have caused European sales to slump!

John Gibson, who hosted that special, wrote the book it is based on. On his daily show, Big Story with John Gibson, he spends a goodly amount of time spewing anti-European drivel, as does his colleague, Bill O'Reilly. If you recall, O'Reilly is the man who's convinced his middle-aged viewers that they are helping America by purchasing "Boycott France" flags and bumper stickers. The purchase of these items has little effect on France's economy, but does, in fact, have a salutary effect on Mr. O's bottom line!

As the GMI World Poll shows, Europeans are also playing the boycott game. They have clearly decided to show their disapproval of Red America's choice for President by rejecting our products. The sad thing is that Blue America will be dragged along on a bumpy economic ride it didn't vote for.

If, as has been predicted by some business analysts, European investors draw their capital out of our markets, the effect will be quite devastating.

As for the FOX viewers who've bought into this "trash Europe" message, I think David Hannum said it best: "There's a sucker born every minute!"

(For you history nuts out there, according to HistoryBuff.com, P. T. Barnum did not coin this phrase. Click on the link for the whole wonderful quirky tale.)

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