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Mexico GSD&M Media

Americans view the Mexico 'brand' in an unfavorable light, according to study


By Minda Smiley, Reporter

June 30, 2016 | 3 min read

Many Americans associate Mexico with drugs, corruption and poverty, all of which contribute to Mexico’s tarnished "brand," according to a recent study.



For the report, Austin-based agency GSD&M and strategic consultancy Vianovo interviewed 1,000 adults in the US via market research firm YouGov. According to findings, only 22 per cent of Americans view Mexico in a favorable light while 75 per cent view Canada positively. The research also found that 54 per cent of Americans see Mexico more as source of problems than as a good neighbor and partner for the US.

When asked what three words come to mind when they think about Mexico, a third of respondents stated "drugs" as one of their choices, according to the research.

The below word cloud, based off of respondent answers, provides "a dramatic illustration of how the drug war continues to affect Americans' attitudes toward Mexico," the study said.

Word Cloud

Duff Stewart, chief executive of GSD&M, said that the findings paint "a very bleak picture of Mexico as a neighbor and a business partner."

“I don’t think Mexico has done much to build their brand beyond anything more than a tourism destination,” he said. “The reality is that stuff goes on, lots of people travel to Mexico for business and trade, and that doesn’t come through,” he added, noting that the media tends to focus on the country’s drug cartel issues.

The research was released shortly before the ‘Three Amigos’ summit in Canada earlier this week, a meeting between President Obama, Canadian Prime Minster Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto.

During the summit, the leaders discussed global trade, particularly in the wake of Donald Trump's comments earlier this week where he stated that he would force Mexico and Canada to renegotiate the terms of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) if he were elected president in an effort to restore American jobs. Trump has threatened to slap tariffs on Mexican imports if he were to become president.

The Republican presidential candidate has been criticized for his comments about Mexico since he announced his candidacy last year. When he first announced that he would be running for president, he expressed his views on Mexican immigration by stating that "they're bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime, they’re rapists."

According to the research, 63 per cent of Americans believe that a Trump presidency would leave to worse relations with Mexico, compared to only 23 per cent who said the same about Hillary Clinton.

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