The Politics of Brand

With the U.S presidential election imminent, not surprisingly politics are dominating everyone’s conversations. Last week I had an on-going discussion with a work colleague on whether brands have political connotations. We decided to try to figure out the politics of brand.

The conversation started with my colleague’s observation about cars in our office parking lot: more Republicans owned BMW’s while more Democrats owned Jeeps. Cars turned into sports: Democrats prefer football while Republicans prefer baseball. Yes, it’s a bit of stereotyping but it was intriguing to the marketer in me.

My colleague speculated that logo colors might reveal something about political leanings. After all, red and blue are the primary logo colors. 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 an intriguing notion, our observations didn’t match the research we found. 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 logo theory but at least we got the cars correct.

Trying to associate brands with political preferences is apparently 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 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.”

Politics of brand
Infographic by engage

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

So readers, do your politics fit these brand preferences?

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27 Responses to The Politics of Brand

  1. catherinephung November 4, 2012 at 1:40 pm #

    Reblogged this on catherinephung.

  2. yasniger November 4, 2012 at 2:17 pm #

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

  3. Things You Realize After You Get Married November 5, 2012 at 9:05 am #

    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!

    • 48colorrainbow November 5, 2012 at 11:15 am #

      Same here, and I also would have guessed Democrats prefer Subway.

      • L. Palmer November 5, 2012 at 3:05 pm #

        Me too. Subway seems a very Democrat brand.

  4. Jeremy Truitt November 5, 2012 at 9:27 am #

    This is a good one! Going to reblog for sure. I also blog about these topics, feel free to check me out!

  5. susielindau November 5, 2012 at 9:43 am #

    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. Jason Ministries November 5, 2012 at 10:50 am #

    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 November 5, 2012 at 11:13 am #

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

  8. kituok07 November 5, 2012 at 11:35 am #

    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???

    • Jonathan November 5, 2012 at 12:27 pm #

      Interesting interpretation but probably too simplistic.

    • Anonymous November 5, 2012 at 9:18 pm #

      Simply sharing information; form your own conclusions. Thanks.

  9. segmation November 5, 2012 at 11:49 am #

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

    • Jonathan November 5, 2012 at 12:29 pm #

      I’m always ready for the next new thing because it gives me ideas for future posts…

      • segmation November 5, 2012 at 12:33 pm #

        So True! Thanks for sharing.

  10. S.C. November 5, 2012 at 11:54 am #

    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. writebelowthesurface November 5, 2012 at 3:26 pm #

    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 November 5, 2012 at 5:06 pm #

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

  13. margaretw514 November 5, 2012 at 7:42 pm #

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

  14. jjew November 5, 2012 at 10:08 pm #

    Reblogged this on UC Berkeley's Student Dietetic Association.

  15. Ras Writa November 6, 2012 at 5:57 am #

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

  16. jsw12 November 6, 2012 at 6:51 am #

    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.

  17. lsurrett2 November 6, 2012 at 7:44 pm #

    It’s definitely an interesting idea.

  18. kituok07 November 12, 2012 at 3:50 am #

    Reblogged this on Kituok07’s Blog.


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