the grass is greener on the internet


All-American All-Invasive culture
January 3, 2009, 1:00 am
Filed under: 1

I’m curled up in a nice little coffee place with free wi-fi, having just consumed a cream cheese bagel and eyeing off the brownies on the counter. It feels like a small-town American cafe, or perhaps a quieter version of Starbucks.

And yet I’m in the heart of Europe – in the Czech Republic no less, a paragon of foreigner suspicion in a continent known for its slight distaste of the other side of the Atlantic.

Relatively little foreign influence has seeped into this culture – mostly only pizza/pasta, bits of kebab, smatterings of sushi, a touch of Chinese (mostly served with fries) and the odd tortilla/mojito.

But then there’s the American invasion.

Starbucks is starting to gain a hold. Similar coffee joints, like the one I’m in, are everywhere. Bohemia Bagel, serving some very American fare, is rarely not full.

Wait.

This is America we’re talking about.

A country which is mostly composed of immigrants.

A country whose current culture has had far less time to evolve.

How does it even have a unified culture of its own, let alone one that can take over the world?

It’s not just here either. I’ve seen it all over Australia. My brother saw Coke and Fanta used as symbols of wealth at a Kenyan wedding. It’s all over the place. Even talking to French youth – France is particularly suspicious of foreign influence – they know all of the American TV shows, movies and celebrities.

How has American culture become so pervading?

Is it the glamour machine called Hollywood? The availability of MTV?

Does this mean that American values apply?

It’s an interesting question but one which marketers need to pay attention to.

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