Rod Springett `s article “Global Seduction” (MW March 17) chose not to acknowledge the somewhat unique circumstances that have allowed the brands he highlighted as the best examples of global marketing success to reach such universality without going through an identity crisis in packaging or presentation. Coca-Cola, Marlboro and Levis were not conceived of as “global” brands. They were Americans for Americans.
The underlying force that permitted these specific brands to become universal successes was the universal success of much of “Americana” – particularly that associated with the American lifestyle, both historical and contemporary, that was so idealised by Hollywood’s big screen. The John Wayne cowboy and his successors paved the way for the aworldwide.
I think packaging for these brands carries immense emotional charisma, particularly in the case of Levis and Coke, but it is linked to the American heritage that has gained global recognition and acceptance.
Some might argue that the most successful global propositions are brands in categories for which local origins create a platform for the development of packaging, advertising and promotional support. So one would anticipate French Cognacs and Italian fashion brands to do well. In contrast, the making of global brands with no real local heritage, such as washing powders, is a truly complex challenge.
Worldwide management supervisor
Oglivy & Mather Worldwide