World » Europe
Author`s name Ольга Савка

European consumers ignore most famous US brands

Market specialists believe that the reduction of sales in Europe might last for quite a long period of time

The US government is suffering losses not only in Iraq. Cult American brands such as Marlboro, Coca-Cola, McDonald's, Ford and others are currently experiencing a decline on the European market, particularly in Germany in France.

According to the results of the third quarter of this year, American companies have found themselves in a rather unpleasant situation. Car makers Ford and General Motors (trademarks Opel, SAAB, Cadillac, Chevrolet, etc) have had a mass of layoffs recently at their enterprises in Germany and France. GM is suffering $236 million of losses: it plans to fire 12,000 employees in Germany, where the company is losing both its popularity and the car market share. The face of the American business – the companies McDonald's, Coca-Cola and Philip Morris – have suffered considerable losses in Europe in the third quarter of the year too.

US companies' managers insist on the non-political explanation of the sales crisis in Europe. They think that the unfavorable situation has been caused with the longstanding stagnation of the European economy, which coincided with such business-unfriendly factors as the increased tax on tobacco production in Europe nationwide, for example. Spokespeople for McDonald's corporation explain the decline with the high unemployment level in Europe, which made the purchasing capacity slide and increased the number of people, who prefer to eat at home.

The decreasing popularity of American brands can be explained with growing anti-American sentiments in Europe, presumably caused with the US foreign policy. Jeans, Marlboro cigarettes and Coca-Cola used to symbolize the American dream – the country, where everything is possible. History changed such a perception: the USA and its world-famous brands are now associated with the war in Iraq, multi-billion war costs and scandals with Iraqi prisoners in the notorious Abu Ghraib prison.

Market specialists believe that the reduction of sales might last for quite a long period of time. They are certain that the problem has not been caused with a short-term psychologically justifiable boycott of American products. European young people ignore and disapprove the American lifestyle, which used to flourish for decades, selling many American products worldwide.

The warnings, which were made in May-June of the current year, are coming true to life now. Clothing company Gap closed its stores in Germany and announced about the 10-percent reduction of its sales volumes on the European market. Disneyland in Paris is suffering losses and is in vital need of support from its American headquarters. Wal-Mart, the world's largest network of supermarkets, is currently suffering losses in Germany for the first time in history.

The widespread propaganda of healthy lifestyle became another reason, which sent US companies to the bottom. Cowboy Marlboro and Ronald McDonald do not help here either. To crown it all, several recently released movies shattered the American principles even further.

The film Super Size Me tells of a reporter, who ventures to risk his health for the sake of an experiment. He ate only McDonald's for a month and became a fat, lazy man as a result of the fast food diet. The film has caused a considerable damage to the global corporation of hamburgers. Documentaries called Corporation and Fahrenheit 9/11 added more fuel to the fire as far as the image of the USA is concerned.

Those films will definitely not shock the ardent critics of America in Europe. US companies have to face the real threat of losing their consumers on account of strong anti-military sentiments, which may break the old tradition of worshiping the American culture and American brands.

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