Marketing Americana across the world

A while back I participated in a discussion on the American brand and the beating it's taking throughout the world. Though the session was more about the appropriation of mega-brands like Apple, Coke, and Levi's, it's conversely interesting to see international brands market themselves as particularly American--with mixed levels of success. Below are a few retailers who sell the American dream throughout the world.

While mostly having locations throughout Asia, this South Korean brand for teens has recently landed in the US ,with stores in Connecticut and New Jersey. Somewhat of a nu-preppy brand, with a Hollister feel. Product assortment includes traditional items like ties, bow ties, and blazers. However, the graphics and imagery could use some work. The cracks begin, for example, on the webpage. The loading page features sparkles and an orange that could be straight from a Sega video game. Likewise, while the photography is well-staged, the sepia tones are a touch forced. The brand is featured in Portfolio magazine.

Jack Wills
A mash-up of Abercrombie circa-1998 and the American Eagle of today, this is well-done brand immersion. The similarity to late 90’s Abercrombie is because of the commitment to layered, well-done imagery (I can’t say early-90’s because the merchandise doesn’t appear to be as quality, and I can’t say today’s because A&F is no longer preppy at all). Really well-done collection films, probably better than any actual American brands.

Geddes and Gillmore
I’ve never seen a more direct imitator of another company. From the logo to the store architecture, everything is stolen from Abercrombie’s handbook circa 2005. The models, the way imagery is post-produced, the logo behind figures in photographs—everything is practically identical. What makes Geddes particularly odd is in reading the online brand “story,” which is filled with truly bizarre anecdotes and inconsistencies (like giving three different spellings for one of the founders).

Though considered an all-American brand, Gant is currently Swiss-owned. Since trimming distribution and somewhat relaunching, the brand has been churning out amazing collections and has become a quality alternative to Polo Ralph Lauren. The stores, too, are terrific.

Lexington Company
A Ralph Lauren-inspired Swedish home goods supplier, Lexington's execution is just about perfect. Product, photography, graphic design and website are really on point. My only (slight) complaint–and I never, ever thought I’d say this–might be that they actually have too many lifestyle shots. I generally love establishing shots, but I’d actually like to see more product. Having said that, going through the collections is a terrific experience. Of particular interest are the “films” which are essentially slideshows of the latest collection imagery.

Lexington Clothing
While Lexington’s home goods site is very American traditional, and even has models in classic American clothing, Lexington Clothing is geared toward teens. Similar to Jack Wills, but a little less prep and a little more ski and surf.

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