What If a Brand Could Lead America?

Advertising Week panel mulls hypothetical question

If you could pick a brand to lead the country, which one would it be?

This hypothetical question was part of an online poll about politics that a unit of McCann Erickson recently conducted among 1,000 U.S. residents. Top responses included Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Apple and Walmart.

Daryl Lee, McCann’s global chief strategy officer, revealed the pecking order today toward the end of an Advertising Week panel discussion. But first he asked his panelists, which brand came out on top and why?

John Avlon, a senior columnist for Newsweek and The Daily Beast, guessed Apple because “there’s a feeling of quality, individualism and aspiration.”

MSNBC’s Chris Hayes, in turn, picked Walmart because well, “people love them some Walmart.”

Google was the choice of The New York Times’ Jeremy Peters, who explained: “There is something transparent about Google, there is something empowering about Google and who doesn’t use Google?”

Well, Peters and Hayes were wrong and Avlon was right. Apple garnered more than 16 percent of the votes, followed by Microsoft, at just under 12 percent; Google, at about 11 percent; and Amazon, at less than 11 percent.

Walmart came in fifth, at slightly more than 10 percent. So much for the power of the world’s largest retailer.