Marketing the 'Made in USA' label

Marketing the 'Made in USA' label

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In its latest commercial, Apple shows attractive people smiling and laughing while carelessly tapping iPads and iPhones. Words on the screen read: "Designed in California." And a soothing voice says: "This is our signature. And it means everything."

It may mean everything, but it doesn't say everything. Yes, Apple designs its products in America, but it builds the majority of them in China.

At least one marketing expert thinks that could soon change.

"American consumers take a lot of pride in their country's ability to design, engineer and manufacture good, quality products," Oatworks CEO David Peters said.

In just the last couple of years, Peters said he has witnessed a shift in consumer spending habits: Now, even if they love it, if it's made overseas, more Americans seem willing to leave it.

"If they're undecided between two products which have very similar qualities, then I think it can tip the balance in favor the U.S.-manufactured product," Peters said.

And advertisers seem to have noticed.

Apple's looking to capitalize on the buy-American wave, Motorola's declaring independence from foreign manufacturing, and Chrysler continues to tout its red, white and blue-collar history.

Even New York -- with its gift shops packed with replicas of American icons all made overseas -- wants to reward the few, the proud, our nation's manufacturers.

"When you make things in America you make it in America," Rep. Steve Israel said at news conference in Long Island Wednesday. A new bill touted by the congressman would require national parks sell only merchandise made in the United States.

"[It's] a very simple and common-sense solution to creating jobs and regaining our manufacturing supremacy in the world," Israel said.

But -- as any founding father would point out -- declaring independence and earning one's freedom are two different things. Barbie dolls, Levi's jeans, Huffy bicycles, Converse All-Stars, Radio Flyer wagons, even our nation's Olympic uniforms all come from overseas factories. We've even outsourced our national pastime: Every one of the more than 100,000 Rawlings baseballs used annually in the major leagues is manufactured in Costa Rica.

Representative Israel would like to break up that monopoly and bring some of those products back home.

But Monopoly the board game? Dice and tokens made in China.

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