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Americans – and much of the world – will not soon forget the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. After 9/11, a tidal wave of U.S. patriotism emerged, and as the consumer consciousness shifted, marketers were faced with a new challenge: how to promote products and services without seeming inappropriate. Notably, campaigns from Abercrombie & Fitch and Coca Cola were pulled in the wake of the attacks – marketers fearing their tone unsuitable for the times. Other campaigns embraced the new patriotic zeal sweeping the marketplace. From all-American brands such as Ford and GM to AT&T, Major League Baseball, and financial groups such as Fidelity and Morgan Stanley, 9/11 rebranded emotional branding.
With the announcement of the death of Osama bin Laden, U.S. marketers will no doubt be tempted once again to display patriotism in their integrated marketing campaigns.
Maybe I’m just blogging out loud, but is it appropriate for patriotism to be tapped as a marketing tool by U.S.-based companies selling their products and services to U.S. consumers?
The death of “Public Enemy #1” provides a dilemma for marketers. Our question: Is it appropriate this time around for U.S. companies to tap patriotism as a marketing tool for selling their products and services, or should marketers avoid associations?
We really want to know your thoughts.