America is a meticulously constructed brand; it is the indispensable nation with exceptional power. There is no country as adept at branding as the United States.
Popular international mega-brands like Apple and McDonald’s sell neat pre-packaged pieces of the American dream to eager international consumers. A complimentary national branding strategy sells “freedom” and “democracy” over international airwaves, in movie theatres and through diplomatic influence.
But if Brand America is the sum of the effects of its soft powers, can we really separate this cultural imperialism from the nation’s use of hard power?
This month on Empire we investigate Brand America as the indelible presence that exerts its influence on the world. We talk to those who construct the brand, disseminate its message as brand ambassadors as well as those who are its stark critics.
Even after a series of economic failures and continued military interventions why does Brand America continue to be unmatched and unrivalled in the world? Will Brand America triumph over the nation’s strategic failures or is it on its way to becoming unravelled?