A taste of how America makes choices

AMERICAN tastes are being pored over like never before.

As Trump and Clinton go head to head for the Presidency, the vote lies in the hands of around 150 million Americans. Having watched the twists and turns of the Presidential campaign, many British people feel that the way our friends in The States go about making their choices is very different to how we do things here.

sunset-flag-america-fieldsWell don’t be so sure. No matter who ends up in the White House on Wednesday, the way we pick things isn’t always as poles apart as many of us like to think.

The saying goes something like ‘When America sneezes, Britain catches a cold’ and at Product of the Year we certainly see similarities between the brands beloved of both nations.At our London awards ceremony in January Energizer EcoAdvanced batteries were victorious. A few weeks later, at Product of the Year in the US, the same product won. And Listerine mouthwash which proved a UK winner last year had already scooped the US award 11 months earlier.

And beyond the winners, there’s a lot of similarities between the British and American shopping trolleys. Brands like Finish, Durex, Right Guard and Kleenex – which all happened to scoop Product of the Year awards in the States in February – are huge hits on both sides of the Atlantic. After all, when it comes to washing your dishes, having safe sex, beating body odour and blowing your nose, everyone needs a brand they can rely on.

There are also differences. To start with there are products that taste the same but look different. Walker’s crisps are Lay’s in the US. A Galaxy bar is a Dove bar over there, and you’ll find Frosted Flakes on an American breakfast table instead of good old Frosties (although you’ll be pleased to hear that Tony the Tiger has dual nationality!).

But there are also brands that are big over there that don’t quite translate to this side of the ocean. P&G’s Tide laundry detergent for example is the market leader in the States, while we have Persil and Ariel, and we’ve heard many a Brit say that a Hershey’s chocolate bar just doesn’t cut it compared with Cadbury’s (although no doubt many Americans would disagree).

The States tend to stay ahead of us in terms of trends, so they caught the gluten-free bug before we did, and the sheer choice in American supermarkets is staggering, which makes Product of the Year signposting shoppers to the best innovations, even more relevant.

Choice is something that many are lamenting that there is too little of when it comes to choosing the next president. But, while the campaign has highlighted a different brand of politics in America, let’s hope the result – whichever way it swings – doesn’t leave a bitter taste on either side of the Atlantic.

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