Priming Bush (vs. Obama) increases liking of American brands: The role of intersubjectively important values

Letty Y. Y. KWAN, Sun Yat-Sen University
Chi-Yue CHIU, Nanyang Technological University
Angela K.-Y. LEUNG, Singapore Management University


Past research has shown that exposure to cultural symbols can influence personal preferences. The present research extends this finding by showing that cultural symbols acquire their cultural significance in part through their associations with intersubjectively important values—values that are perceived to be prevalent in the culture. In addition, cultural symbols can influence personal preferences through the activation of perceived normative preferences. In Study 1, perceived liking of Bush among Americans was linked to the perceived popularity of intersubjectively important values in the USA. In Study 2, both priming Bush and personal endorsement of intersubjectively important values increased Americans' liking of iconic brands (brands that symbolize American culture). Furthermore, perceived normative preferences for iconic brands fully mediated this effect.