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Imagined Communities Essay

1461 words - 6 pages

Canada has a population of just over 34.5 billion people; the likeliness that most of these people will even meet in their lifetime is slim to none, and yet Canadians choose to connect themselves to Benedict Anderson’s notion of an imagined community. This connection, although arbitrarily, speaks volumes about the socially constructed understanding of the community they live in. As a response, the building of Canadian communities have been both created and resisted for centuries. This paper will explore how Canada has been branded and how that branding has consumed the ideals of the country, in addition to the national image of the North and of Canadian immigration policies to understand the building of Canadianness.
“You’re Home”, the slogan found in the entrances of Tim Hortons restaurants, serves as a consumer branded business being increasingly marketed as a “cultural site for the articulation of Canadian values” (Cormack and Cosgrove 62). Its establishment in 1964, with a small shop in Hamilton, Ontario has since become a nationwide staple, with more than 3,000 stores. Tim Hortons has been seen as a Canadian icon and social institution although the process of its rise lacks analysis. The brand has been built upon “a decades-long [standing] marketing campaign that touches on the most celebrated of Canadian values” (Cormack and Cosgrove 68). The appeal of Tim Hortons encompasses far more than just the selling of coffee, doughnuts and other various goods, it fosters the building and development of community through the sponsoring of sports, predominantly hockey, at the grassroots and amateur levels, as well as supporting the professional league (Cormack and Cosgrove 80). They also capitalize on TV ads that link immigration, family and hockey to their restaurant brand. The ads reflect hockey being at the center of Canadian life, as apart of national imagery, culture and society. They have used hockey as a staple connection to build their brand under the umbrella of a Canadian symbols, their ads and support representing a collectivist approach to business and Canadian ideals.
“I AM CANADIAN”, used by Molson Canadian Beer in the late 1990s as a campaign slogan, is another example of something that quickly became one of the most recognizable catchphrases in recent Canadian history. The slogan reflects a cultural shift towards a more consumer-oriented brand of nationalism similar to Roots’ clothing company. The commercial’s “was ‘insidious’ because it defined nationalism as ‘benign, entertaining, innocent, and seamless” (Cormack and Cosgrove 64). Like Molson, Roots has made it possible for Canadians to purchase a particular Canadian identity. Roots was founded in 1973 by two Americans who spent their summers in Ontario camps as children. The desire to be branded, with such products like Roots, came at a time when there was a significant political divide in the 1980s and 1990s, this period made a Canadians sense of nationalism next to impossible to...

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