Let’s face it—political parties are brands. Democrats and Republicans are always looking to define their own brands with the most effective soundbites, and spin the perception of each other’s brands with equally effective soundbites.
So it makes sense that as consumers we’re attracted to brands that seem to jive with our political identities. Marketing firm Buyology recently polled Democrats and Republicans to gauge their feelings on various brands, and several patterns emerged along party lines.
Some of these brand splits are pretty predictable, as with insurance: Democrats like Progressive insurance more than Republicans who like Allstate.
But there are some less obvious loyalty splits as well. When it comes to coffee, Republicans go for Dunkin’ Donuts whereas Democrats love Starbucks. On fast food, they split Republicans for Subway, Dems for Wendy’s. With electronics, Republicans want Sharp whereas Democrats want Sony. And cars? Republicans are most attracted to BMWs whereas for Democrats it’s Jeep.
Basically, Republicans love buying cheap shit but looking great. Who can’t relate to that?
But ABC suggests there is a more nuanced psychological profile behind the brand affinities. Explaining the preference for Allstate over Progressive, ABC notes Allstate’s motto is “Mayhem is everywhere,” and continues, “The Republican Party uses a similar fear-based tactic, telling voters that four more years of President Obama would be a disaster for the country. Republicans may be attracted to Allstate because both the party and the product build off of a similar emotion.”
Apparently Subway’s allure is that you get to choose the ingredients yourself, reflecting the free-market individualism of Republicans. As for TV? Republicans are huge on the History Chanel.
You see the psychological profile coming together? Basically we have self-reliant individualists who think the world is out to get them, who learn from history, and who also want to look damn good when they drive down the street.
When it comes to profiling Democrats, however, it turns into a bit of a mess: Buyology’s CEO explained the attraction to Wendy’s by saying “[Wendy's] seen as more democratic because they offer pre-fixed solutions to your hunger. It’s as if Wendy’s is saying, ‘We’ve got these answers and you pick which is best for you.’” I’m not sure how not being able to think for yourself when you’re hungry is “more democratic.”
And Democrats’ favorite TV channel? Animal Planet. Draw your own conclusions on that one.