NEW YORK (MainStreet) -- What does being "American" mean in the marketplace?
If you're a U.S. consumer, it's apparently a huge incentive. According to a 2010 survey by Adweek Media and Harris, 61% of Americans say they are more likely to buy a product when an ad says it's "Made in America." That includes 75% of Americans 55 and over, 66% of those 45 to 54 and 61% of those 35 to 44.
It also indicates a premium those same Americans are willing to pay for those products. After toys from China entered the country in 2007 laden with toxic levels of lead, pesticides and chemicals, a Gallup poll found that 82% of Americans would rather spend more money on a toy if it were made in the United States. That percentage jumped to 94% when survey participants were asked if they'd pay extra for food produced in the U.S. to avoid Chinese imports.
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That consumer patriotism is great and all, but does it do any good when buyers are given conflicting messages about what is and isn't made in this country? Does a beer can draped in the colors of the American flag necessarily indicate an American brewer? Does a truck rambling through the rugged American landscape as a song about "our country" plays in the background necessarily indicate an "American-made" vehicle?
Does the presence of the word "American" in the product's name or in its producer's core marketing agenda make that product "American"?
Any good, American skeptic knows the answer. Putting on a topcoat of red, white and blue and hiding behind a heavy layer of jingoism can't hide a product's true identity. That made it pretty easy to put together this checklist of 10 "American" products that have dual citizenship at best or are hiding their true colors at worst: