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American Patriotism and Corporate Identity in Automobile Advertising

«What’s Good for General Motors Is Good for the Country and Vice Versa?»

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Markus Weik

The triumphal march of the automobile and its connection with American culture have often been acknowledged in scholarship. By contrast, the culture-specific, value-oriented advertising strategies of the most important US carmaker General Motors (GM) in its home market have received less attention, especially in American Studies. This study focuses on the connection between GM products and America and the fundamental values represented by politics, business, and society. The author examines which textual and visual strategies GM uses in its image advertising to establish and maintain its patriotic American image. He argues that GM’s advertising campaigns follow a patriotic leitmotif and are consistently in line with American core values, often generating new patriotic ideas.

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