Dick Smith and American pie: the great divide?

Susie Khamis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In 1999, 22 of the world’s most valuable brands were of United States origin. These included Coca-Cola, McDonalds, Marlboro, Heinz and Kelloggs. The spectacular success of such brands around the world, coupled with their ostensible American-ness, has often been construed as imperialistic. More often than not, their marketing has acknowledged and incorporated the ideals and aspirations of the ‘American way of life’, such as leisure, youth, and freedom. As increasingly global brands, recognised and consumed the world over, they lend credence to the notion that cultures are indeed becoming more homogeneous. When the famous Australian entrepreneur Dick Smith launched his brand Dick Smith Foods in late 1999, his line of Australian-made, Australian-owned products became a prism through which deep-seated fears and anxieties could be understood. With a seemingly disproportionate share of the Australian economy in multinational control, Smith effectively helped resurrect the fears, assumptions and expectations once advanced under the rubric of ‘cultural imperialism’. At the same time, though, the rather curious ambiguity of the term ‘Americanisation’ also surfaced.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18-37
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - 2003


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