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In Your Face: How American Marketing Excess Fuels Anti-Americanism

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In Your Face: How American Marketing Excess Fuels Anti-Americanism


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  • Offers the business community a desperately needed wake-up call for American companies in global markets.
  • Examines and explains the "repositioning" of America: why American popularity overseas has collapsed.
  • Practical guidance on how to market internationally without promoting anti-Americanism.


  • Copyright 2004
  • Edition: 1st
  • Book
  • ISBN-10: 0-13-143818-2
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-13-143818-7

Globalization, commercialization and Americanization are changing the lives of almost everybody on the planet. The uniqueness of this book is that it tackles these trends together, and head-on. The balance of knowledge and feeling makes it an important book in a field plagued by one-sided pro- and anti- pieces.–David Arnold, author of The Mirage of Global Markets

Millions of people around the world have come to despise the United States. One of the biggest reasons is American "in-your-face" marketing, which treats people everywhere as 24 × 7 consumers, drives U.S. free market materialism at the expense of local values, and seeks to "McDonaldize" the entire globe.

In this book, one of the world's leading experts on global marketing steps back to see its true impact. Johny K. Johansson looks at American marketing from the perspective of the non-U.S. consumer: as the first wave of a cultural assault by an arrogant, wasteful society of overfed, gas-guzzling, SUV-driving bullies.

Johansson considers the Bush administration's "repositioning" of America and the post-9/11 collapse of American popularity from the perspective of a professional global marketer. He then offers practical guidance for marketers who wish to succeed in global markets without becoming "ugly Americans."

  • Meet the new "ugly American"–American marketers abroad: loud, short-sighted, and ineffective
  • Live by the brand, die by the brand–Why American brands are the #1 targets of the anti-globalization movement
  • One size does not fit all–No matter how much global marketers say it does
  • After 9/11: The disastrous "repositioning" of America–Bush unilateralism versus traditional American values
  • Toward a more humane global marketing–Local awareness and respect and the long-term route to sustainable profit

The new global rebellion against American marketing

  • "In-your-face" American marketing–the not-so-hidden cause of global anti-Americanism.
  • The "repositioning" of America and why American popularity overseas has collapsed
  • How to profitably market internationally, without promoting anti-Americanism
  • A desperately needed wake-up call for American companies in global markets

In Your Face reveals the new worldwide rebellion that's brewing against American marketing. Renowned international marketing expert Johny K. Johansson explains why global customers will no longer put up with the traditional tactics of western companies. Most important, he offers a new path to sustainable profits–a path based on respect, not domination.

Along the way, Johansson shows why American brands are especially susceptible to attack, how global politics is reshaping the playing field for U.S. companies, and how to overcome the hidden "one-size-fits-all" ethnocentrism that's fatal to marketers abroad.

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Table of Contents



1. Three Strikes.

Strike One: Anti-Marketing. Strike Two: Anti-Globalization. Strike Three: Anti-Americanism.

2. The Anti-Marketing Case.

Early Stirrings. The New Anti-Marketing. Brands as Weapons. Being "In the Market". Crowding Out. From Consumer to Citizen. The New Brief.

3. Why Do Marketers Do What They Do?

In-Your-Face Logic. The Marketer's View of People. The Empowered Consumer? Marketing Know-How. Competitive Pressure. Marketing as Warfare. Damned If You Do…

4. Global Marketing as Bad Marketing.

A Sales Orientation. Global Standardization. Global Synchronization. Country of Origin. Foreign Legitimacy. Who Needs Foreign Brands? The U.S. Size Advantage. Ethnocentric Marketing. Anti-American Sentiments.

5. Anti-Globalization and Marketing.

The Anti-Globalization Case. Globalization Successes. A Coalition of the Diverse. "McDonaldization". "McWorld". No Logo. Market Power. Anti-Globalization Success? The Local Advantage. The New Cola War. Global Localization. A Wake-up Call.

6. Why Only American Brands?

Few Products Targeted. The Japanese Case. The European Case. Youth at Risk? Anti-Globalization Limits. The Affluence Effect. The Commercialized Society.

7. Anti-Americanism and Marketing.

Before 9/11. The 9/11 Effect. The Fallout.

8. Who Wants to Be American?

Destination America. Universal Values: Pro and Con. Marketing's Role. America Is Not the World.

9. Are Foreign Countries Any Better?

Most Commercialized? The European Picture. Way of Life. Patriotism. Marketing Religion. Your Choice.

10. Accentuate the Positive.

The Pro-Marketing Case. The Pro-Globalization Case. The Pro-American Case. Transcending Consumerism. No Globalized Uniformity.



Untitled Document

This book started as an investigation into the complaints againstmarketing in the anti-globalization movement at the beginning of the newmillennium. Not only did anti-globalizers attack sweatshop practices,child labor, and environmental degradation in third-world countries,they also denigrated the global brands I used as examples of good globalmarketing in my Master's of Business Administration (MBA) courses. Booksappeared deploring the "McDonaldization" of society, and self-proclaimedanti-marketers advocated the boycott of leading brands. Young teenagers,including my own two daughters, refused to buy leading brands carefullytargeted to them using our most advanced marketing techniques.

My daughters made me think. While I was touting Nike in class as agreat example of global outsourcing and brand building, my own daughtersparticipated in anti-globalization demonstrations against the brand.Starbucks, the globalizing chain of coffee houses, was picketed becausetheir strategy of blanketing neighborhoods with Starbucks outlets forcedlocal cafes out of business. The Gap, Disney, and McDonald's, iconicbrands for us in marketing, were disparaged, or "dissed," in chat roomson the Web. This needed some explanation.

After I started to write, the anti-globalization movement graduallymorphed into another kind of movement. You all know what happened. OnSeptember 11, 2001, terrorists attacked the World Trade Center and thePentagon. It was sort of anti-globalization gone berserk. As peoplearound the world voiced support for the Americans, the air seemed tohave gone out of the anti-globalization movement. This was way biggerthan just international trade or economics. I put the preliminary drafton the shelf for the time being.

But as America turned the war on terrorism into a war PIon Iraq, and inthe process lost the support of its allies, the anti-globalizationmovement turned first into an anti-war movement, and then into ananti-American movement abroad. And now marketing issues seemed relevantagain. For one thing, the rhetorical style of the Bush administration'swar campaign very much resembled the in-your-face communicationstrategies common in American marketing. In addition, the unilateral wartalk removed any foreign inhibitions against attacking America and itsbrands, reawakening the animosity toward globalization. The Americanswere the main proponents of war, and they were also the main proponentsof globalization. Anti-Americanism and anti-globalization seemed twosides of the same coin, and marketing surely played a common role inboth movements. Exploring this role seemed important. I got back to thebook. This is the result.


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