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Americans say Disney is among the most patriotic brands, despite DeSantis feud

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When it comes to the brands that Americans feel are the most patriotic, Jeep still rules the road — but Disney isn’t far behind.

Jeep
STLA,
+0.52%
,
the vehicle manufacturer with an 80-plus year history and deep ties to the American military, ranked first in the annual Most Patriotic Brands in America Survey, which is conducted by research company Brand Keys. This marks the 22nd consecutive year that Jeep, which is owned by multinational company Stellantis, came out on top — in effect, going back to the first year that the survey was conducted.

But Disney
DIS,
+0.37%

claimed the second spot for the second year in a row — which could be seen as somewhat surprising in light of the public clashes it has had with Florida Gov. and Republican presidential hopeful Ron DeSantis over its political views. Disney has opposed the state’s “Don’t Say Gay” legislation, and DeSantis has responded with a number of oversight and other measures affecting Disney’s operations in Florida. This led Disney to sue DeSantis, claiming the prospective Republican presidential candidate waged a “relentless campaign to weaponize government power” against the company. And Disney has also scrapped plans on a roughly $1 billion investment in a new corporate campus in Florida that would have relocated more than 2,000 employees.

‘Values that are inherent within a brand’s DNA don’t just go away because some politician is yammering about them.’

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Both Jeep and Disney didn’t immediately respond to a MarketWatch request for comment about their rankings.

The other companies rounding out the top five include: Ford
F,
+1.20%
,
Coca-Cola
KO,
+0.33%

and Levi Strauss
LEVI,
-0.41%
.

The survey reflects the opinions of 6,150 consumers ages 18 to 65, the research firm said, and the mix of survey subjects was “balanced for gender and political affiliation.”

Robert Passikoff, president of Brand Keys, told MarketWatch that he wasn’t surprised by Disney’s high ranking, even given the recent political controversies that the “House of Mouse” has faced. Why? He pointed to the public’s long-held regard for Disney as an American entertainment and theme-park giant.

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“I would suggest that values that are inherent within a brand’s DNA don’t just go away because some politician is yammering about them,” Passikoff said.

This year’s top 50 list of brands that Americans call the most patriotic included some newcomers — most notably OpenAI, the artificial-intelligence company behind ChatGPT. Other brands making the list for the first time: Smith & Wesson
SWBI,
-1.21%
,
Shinola and Weber Grills.

Passikoff said that people’s perception of OpenAI as being “patriotic” likely stems from the company’s embrace of innovation, a value that consumers often see as distinctly American.

“I think it has to do with a sense of freedom, the ability to go where no man has gone before,” Passikoff said.

And some brands saw a significant boost in their rankings this year. Old Navy
GPS,
+1.25%

and MSNBC
CMCSA,
+0.19%

were the biggest gainers, each climbing seven spots from their previous year’s position in the Brand Keys survey.

Conversely, some brands that had previously landed in the top 50 failed to make the cut this year. Those included Pfizer
PFE,
+1.55%
,
Netflix
NFLX,
+2.86%
,
the New York Times
NYT,
-0.71%
,
the Washington Post, CVS
CVS,
+0.54%
,
Home Depot
HD,
+0.92%
,
Chick-fil-A, Google
GOOGL,
+0.50%

and Clorox
CLX,
+0.72%
.

Brand Keys also noted that patriotism remains a highly-prized brand attribute among consumers. In the research firm’s survey, 36% of consumers said patriotism was “extremely” important, and 35% said it was “very” important.

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“Brands consumers feel are patriotic always have a strategic advantage to win consumers’ hearts, minds and loyalty,” said Passikoff.



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