Apple to Disney, Coca-Cola to Nike, Oprah Winfrey to Martha Stewart, these are
people or things that are referred to as Icons –a representative symbol or
worthy of veneration.1 More specifically, they
are known to be American Icons, as how Douglas B. Holt describes them as
cultural icons that ‘dominates the world’.2 Cultural Icons are symbols
that people are able to identify strongly with as a representation of their
everyday lives and this can be seen prominently in Coca-Cola.
is one of the United States’ largest and most successful corporation that is
known internationally for their ‘Coke’ beverages. The ‘Coke’ formula was
founded by Dr John Pemberton in 1886, who created the iconic brand name and logo
‘Coca-Cola’, with his partner, Frank M. Robinson. Now, Coca-Cola has become one
of the world’s most recognised brands from the exploitations of advertising to
publicize the Coca-Cola franchise, by creating memorable advertising that seems
to transcend time.
has followed the United States throughout the American history, since the
beginning as a humble business, and presently a billion-dollar franchise. This
brand has established a sense of pride in the American culture which led it to
be known as the American Icon.3
spite of that, was Coca-Cola really known to everyone as an American Icon, or
that Coca-Cola was an American brand? A number of people were questioned about
the country-of-origin of ‘Coca-Cola’, to prove this claim. Most of them were
able to name America as the country where ‘Coca-Cola’ is from. Therefore, does Singapore
have an iconic brand as well?
also have brands like Tiger Beer, Osim, Razer, TWF, Banyan Tree, Raoul, Charles
and Keith, Akira, BreadTalk, and Pedro, that has gained international
recognition. However, when questioned about the brands’ origins, most are
unable to identify the correct country. Similar to Coca-Cola, these brands
should make us proud as Singaporeans, yet how are we supposed to have that
sense of pride when we might not even know that they are from Singapore?
it that we are able to recognise Coca-Cola which is an American brand and yet
we are unable to recognise Singapore’s? Is there a reason for the lack of ‘identity’
in Singapore Brands? Does Singapore Advertisement lack the emotional connection
to consumers? Do Singapore brands invoke national identity?
This essay aims to
study the role the Coca-Cola plays in relation to where it stands in the
American Society, and how this brand impacts the idea of Nationalism through nationalistic
theory, and an investigation of Coca-Cola Poster Advertisements. The concept of
Brand and Nationalism will then be applied into the context of Singapore,
through the establishment of the definition of Singapore National Identity and
the investigation of ‘successful brands’ Advertisements (Singapore Airlines and
Tiger Beer) to answer the discourse if Singapore Brands invoke a sense of
national pride and to identify what is meant by the Singapore Icon.
1 Douglas B. Holt, How Brands Becomes Icons: The Principles of Cultural Branding
(United States of America: Harvard Business School Publishing Corporation,
2 Holt, How Brands Becomes Icons. p.1.
3 Coca-Cola the Great American Symbol,
‘Does Coca-Cola Sell a Positive image?’ Coca-Cola
the Great American Symbol http://sites.google.com/site/cocacolathegreatamericansymbol/ 18 October 2017