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Globalisation America’s global dominance

Zoe Garnett | 104407060 | Alan Clarke: Globalisation case study

Contents Introduction Recognizable Logos

Page 1, Page 2 Page 3


Page 4, 5, 6, 7, 8


Page 9, 10, 11

Britain and Globalisation (HSBC and Tesco) Page 12, 13, 14 Conclusion

Page 15, 16

Globalisation Introduction


merica and its multiple distributes are constantly referred to as a symbol of

globalisation, particularly their biggest exports Coca-Cola, Apple and Starbucks. However, it is regularly suggested that globalisation is not always a positive aspect, and ‘contemporary rhetoric suggests that we live in a unitary world in which space and time have collapsed and that experience of distance has imploded forever1’ – an implication that with multiple forms of communications (telephone, email, fax, the Internet etc), the boundaries of distance, which previously were a problem have vanished, making contacting around the world a simple task. There is also suggestion that ‘globalisation divides as much as it unites; it divides as it unites the causes of division being identical with those which promote the uniformity of the globe2’- suggesting that although globalisation allow a convergence of cultures, it is not always met with positive effects – for example, cultures may be shared, however, it is also potentially ruining a countries own culture – i.e. a third world country will not be able to afford to produce its own exports – which then results in a loss of their culture. In this case study, I am going to explore America’s exports – their huge brands which have succeeded and failed in trying to become global, in comparison to British brands, as well as the ‘McDonaldization’ effect as McDonald’s and Coca-Cola are possibly the two biggest exports of the United States, and it was even implied the three words everybody knew were ‘Elvis, Jesus and Coca-Cola’, evidence that America is catching. However, Britain’s exports have not been nearly as successful as the 1 2

Askew K, Wilk R, The Anthropology of Media; A Reader, 2002. Blackwell, USA & UK Bauman Z., Globalisation; The Human Consequences. 1998, Polity Press, Cambridge. P1

likes of the US – with companies such as Vodafone struggling to crack countries like Japan. Logos, however, are the main acknowledged part of the brands – ‘advertising campaigns and imagery have accompanied their products across national boundaries to the extent that the icons of Coca-Cola, Benetton, Del Monte, AOL and many others have become truly worldwide signs part of the ‘global language’ of the twenty first century’3. A company’s logo is vital in to becoming global – when it has become recognized internationally; a brand has officially made it global. Brands such as Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, MTV, Starbucks and Louis Vuitton have all achieved this.




O’Sullivan T, Dutton B, Rayner P, Studying the Media, 3 ed. 2003, Hodder Education, New York. last accessed 1st may 2012 4

Most recognized logos Louis Vuitton (US)

The key to a good logo is to make it distinguishable. All of the logos featured are simplistic, minimalistic, and easily definable from other logos.


Google (US)

McDonald’s (US)

Starbucks (US) Coca-Cola (US)

Chanel (US) Apple (US)

The logo is the breaking point for a brand – it is what the company will be recognized for and what will be seen globally – which means it also has to be

flexible and adaptable – something that can be transferred from country to country without having to change completely. The better option for a company is to use images – there are easily distinguished & easily transferrable.

McDonaldisation M

cDonald’s first came about in 1940, in which it started out as a simple burger

restaurant, which quickly grew. Fifteen years later, in 1955, McDonald’s became a corporation. Today, it operates in one hundred and nineteen countries and serves fifty-eight million customers daily.

George Ritzer’s theory of McDonaldisation is a term used to define a great proportion of globalisation. He coined the theory from sociologist Weber, who determined that ‘rationalism’ was defined as controlling and dominating people – and in his point of ‘efficiency, predictability and calculability’- an ideology which is clear within the standardization of products in the McDonald’s corporation. While Weber used the model of the bureaucracy to represent the direction of a changing society, Ritzer sees the fast food restaurant as having become a more representative contemporary model. Ritzer took the idea of McDonald’s ‘fast-food = fast lifestyle’ and combined it with Weber’s theory of rationalization. Although these ideas existed before – McDonald’s was a first in the food industry. Ritzer highlighted four primary aspect of the theory of ‘McDonaldisation’…

Efficiency Ritzer maintains a theory of efficiency that focuses purely on the minimisation of time – the quickest possible period from being hungry, to being full. McDonald’s is delivered as fast food with the pretence of being an instant meal – the serving time is as minimalistic as physically possible in order to deliver nourishment instantaneously.

Calculability Calculability runs on the theory of ‘quality vs. quantity’ – McDonald’s lures its consumers in to a pretense that the more of a product it provides them with, this is irrelevant to its quality – yet customers believe they are getting value for their money. The corporation wants it’s buyers to consider that they are getting a large quantity for a small sum of money – and workers within the industry are judged by how fast they work – as opposed to the quality of the work they do.

Predictability Predictability is a large proportion of the idea of globalisation – it is the pretense of service and product being exactly the same wherever they go – for example, going to a McDonald’s restaurant in London, you would be able to receive the same service and food as you would if you were to go to a restaurant in New York, Tokyo and Paris. This is also applicable to the workers within the industry – their job is incredibly repetitive, highly routine – and overall, very predictable.

Control The final point in Ritzer’s theory is the idea of control. McDonald’s is standardized – controlling their employee’s with a distinguishable uniform and some even believe that the corporation itself controls its consumers. It also replaces the work of humans by non-human operate technology. It is implied that this way of thinking is what is dominating the McDonald’s society, American culture and the global lifestyle. Ritzer also outlines ‘Irrationality of Rationality’ – the fifth aspect of McDonaldisation – ‘most specifically, irrationality means that rational systems are unreasonable systems. By that [I] mean that they deny the basic humanity, the human reason, of the people who work

within or are served by them5’, suggesting that in can be a ‘dehumanizing place in which to work – and even to be served’ – creating ‘settings in which people cannot always behave as human beings’. Ritzer then goes on to say that ‘beyond dehumanization further irrationalities emerge; including the inefficient masses of red tape, over quantification leading to low quality work, unpredictability as employees grow unclear about what they are supposed to do, or the loss of control due to other inadequacies’. There is a strong formation between the likes of McDonaldisation and irrationality, in Ritzer’s theory.

The McDonald’s logo is easily transferrable globally – using the colours red and yellow – a striking large yellow ‘

M’ is the standard. In the United Kingdom, McDonald’s now feature a dark background, with the name in white and the traditional yellow ‘M’. McDonald’s has recently worked on making the décor more upmarket – featuring more modern interior – bright coloured walls, leather sofas and funky, neon plastic seats – allowing it to appeal to a wider British audience.


Ritzer, G, The McDonaldisation of Society, chapter 2; The Past, Present, and Future of

McDonaldisation: From the Iron Cage to the Fast-Food Factory and Beyond, 2002, Pine Forge Press, USA.

In the United States, McDonald’s restaurants are a lot more traditional – sticking to the original yellow and red colours schemes with a more playful image. Fierce advertising can be seen within the windows and the original logo is still used.

Japanese McDonald’s

French McDonald’s

Even though these McDonald’s images shown above are all global images – restaurants from five completely different countries, it is still evident that they

Hong Kong McDonald’s

are all a part of the same corporation due to their continuity.

A map of McDonald’s in the US (To the closest McDonald’s) 6

The map above shows an image of the United States built up of the locations of the McDonald’s – which currently operate over 13,800 restaurants in the US alone. As well as operating multiple restaurants globally, McDonald’s offers a variety of different options in different restaurants in various countries, for example some McDonald’s offer alcohol in their restaurants – a large majority (if not all) have a partnership with the likes of Coca-Cola and sell their product within their establishments.

6 , st last accessed 1 May 2012.

Coca- Cola C

oca-Cola is another brand, similar to that of McDonald’s

that has gone global – a corporation that is known by everyone in every language. Coca-Cola’s is a globally acknowledged product – featured in restaurants such as McDonalds which has gone international (as previously discussed), as well sponsoring massive organizations such as the Olympic Games, FIFA and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series as well as multiple other NHL, NFL and NBL events. CocaCola is recognized particularly for its unique bottles, which it has been bottling the product in since 1894 – something that no other company has similar. Coca-Cola uses a glass bottle – as pictured to the right. Named the ‘contour bottle’ and occasionally the ‘hobble skirt’ bottle, Coca-Cola created a bottle that was ‘a bottle which a person could recognize even if they felt it in the dark and so shaped that, even if broke, a person could tell at a glance what it was’7. Coca-Cola has achieved this and even had several designers create limited edition bottles – including the likes of Karl Lagerfeld and Fendi. However the globalisation of this corporation is more often than not seen as a negative point. The globalisation of the Coca-Cola Company has created hatred and distain throughout the world. Many countries have tried to ban the use of Coca-Cola products, claiming that Coca-Cola is ‘threatening public health, aggressively pursuing youth in schools as potential new customers and encouraging students to understand themselves, principally as consumers rather than citizens’8There are also implications of hazards to health alongside the beverage which distain from a positive image.

7 last accessed 1st may 2012. st last accessed 1 may 2012 8

Due to the company’s high degree of identification with the United States, it is considered as an ‘American Brand’ and even an item representing America. There is also implication with its similarity to the McDonald’s globalisation; coining its own pun ‘Coca-Colanization’ and the drink its self is more often than not used as a metonym for the Coca-Cola Company. The Coca-Cola Company has not infiltrated the Middle East, but left it down to its strong competitors at Mecca Cola and Pepsi. The Coca-Cola logo and image has changed slightly since it first came about in 1944. It wasn’t until the 1900’s that the logo began to take shape to what we know it as today. After that, the colour was added – but the Coca-Cola label has been incredibly similar over the past one hundred years.

Below are shown the changes within the Coca-Cola cans which are still produced today.

Even the glass Coca-Cola bottles have changed over the years…

An image from the front cover of the US magazine ‘TIME’ shows the Coca-Cola logo feeding an image of the globe as a baby, from one of the signature contour bottles, implying the power of Coca-Cola over the world – and even the size of the corporation.

Britain and Globalisation W

ithin the top one hundred globally acknowledged brands, it is very that one

from the United Kingdom should star. Companies that do, however, include Tesco – a company in which has 6,351 global stores, of which 3,376 are not in the United Kingdom. Tesco started localising its stores and products according to the international market - it entered South Korea in 1999 by forming a joint venture with a well-established local retailer – Samsung. This venture allowed Tesco to step to the hole in the market without the fear of failing. A reason for their global succession is down to Tesco’s core competencies that have influenced their process of developing and implementing international business strategies. Tesco turned out to be the seconded largest retailer in the country.

The Tesco logo is simplistic – the company title in red, with a blue dashed line underneath – minimal and distinctive.

This logo is easily transferrable and recognisable globally – as is shown in the image above, of a Tesco store in South Korea - also known as ‘Home Plus’.

Another company who are gaining global dominance from the United Kingdom are high-street bank HSBC – but not to everyone’s satisfaction. HSBC announced 1,400 redundancies, multiple in Sheffield – because the jobs had moved out of the country. Sheffield Green Party chair Bernard Little states ‘these job losses directly result from globalisation and Sheffield can expect to be hit hard by further job losses at HSBC as jobs disappear to the Far East’ continuing ‘global corporations can move offices and factories to the cheapest location and are doing so’ – HSBC are struggling to gain British support and acceptance for their attempt at globalisation. The impact of globalisation on HSBC will increase and be more like to reform the bank in order to gain credibility with international investors. Globalisation, defined by Giddens as ‘intensification of worldwide social relations which link distant localities in a way that local happenings are shaped by events occurring miles away and vice versa’ – it is leading to convergence in HSBC strategies, structures and processes and even in consumer choice, along with a new global division of labour that widens the income gap between the ‘haves’ and ‘have not’s both within and between societies. Today’s financial world is organised by accelerating globalisation which is ‘strengthening the dominance of a world capitalist economic system supplanting the primary of the nation state with bank corporations and organisation through global culture base. There has been an emergence on global bank economy and culture can be described as a ‘network society’, which is grounded in new communications and information technology9. HSBC has recently announced it plans for globalization – stating on its website ‘Available in sterling, US dollars and euro, the HSBC Expat Bank Account is an international current account that makes it easier for you to manage your money while you're living or working abroad’ – the company have branched 9

Axtmann R, Glo balization and Europe: Theoretical and Empirical Investigations, Cassell, York House, London 1998

out and investigated the opportunity to create a unique account of which is available globally to expats. It has also launched various global products lines such as HSBC Direct, HSBC Advance, HSBCnet and HSBC Premier – all services available internationally.

Globalisation Conclusion


onclusively, America is currently the most dominative nation in the world,

inflicting its culture on multiple other countries. Companies such as Disney, MTV and Starbucks are also heavily inflicted, brainwashing cultures in to falling for an American dream of which is non-existent, in comparison with British corporations that struggle to gain any form of dominance on the world and more than regularly fail to dig their way in to a countries lifestyle, for example Vodafone’s huge struggle to crack Japan. All began well when they acquired Omnitel (the second largest mobile operator in Italy) and Mannesmann (the biggest in Germany), they agreed to centralise most functions in the United Kingdom – in Newbury. This centralisation of almost all functions seemed to cause enormous resentment and many senior executives left – but the plan seemed to work – Italy, Germany and the UK are all somewhat similar on the mobile market. However, when Vodafone decided to apply the same principles of globalisation to J-Phone in Japan in 2001, they lost market share and momentum. A New York Times article states what went wrong – the main factor being the problems with communications – users wouldn’t receive text messages or phone-calls, there Figure 1: Vodafone in Munich would be poor signal and the bills would reach a high price. In March 2006, they sold the company – yet Vodafone still owns 45% of Verizon Wireless in the United States – proving that they have still achieved a vast amount of globalisation despite their failure to take off in Japan. America’s

power gives them a great deal more opportunity to create an international brand – finding simplicity in infiltrating more submissive countries.


2CP100, Globalisation


2CP100, Globalisation