Posted by Anthony Zumpano on September 29, 2009 10:11 AM
For the Wal-Mart brand, it’s aisle number one.
According to a rather odd survey conducted by “60 Minutes” and Vanity Fair magazine, Wal-Mart was selected as “the best corporate symbol of America today” by a 3-to-1 ratio over runner-up Google. The other choices were Microsoft, the NFL, and Goldman Sachs.
Jeffery Fager, executive producer of “60 Minutes,” was surprised by the results. “I wouldn’t have guessed that Wal-Mart would have run away with that,” he said.
Really? Could Mr. Fagan be that out of touch with the average American? Whether you love Wal-Mart or hate it, or simply go there to people watch, few brands have made such a deep impact on Americans and their spending habits.
But more likely, someone involved with the poll stacked the deck. If you match America's favorite big-box against divided competition from two tech giants, the fan-gouging NFL, and Wall Street, you shouldn't be surprised at the results. Or were the producers and editors so stuck inside their bubble that they don't "get" average Americans' chilly reactions to those other brands?
There's nothing more contrived than polls that pit an arbitrary five brands or names, from dozens of possibilities, against each other, and then declare whichever gets a bare plurality to be America's "most loved," "favorite," or some superlative. Why wasn't Apple one of the choices? Or Coca-Cola? Or McDonald’s, Kmart, or Major League Baseball? The survey, as Vanity Fair's Graydon Carter—whose own brand makes no bones about its elitism—explains, was intended to tap “different opinions and beliefs of Americans that don’t show up in most polls.” It did just that.