Landscapes of Global Capital
tv globe icon link to home Electronic markets' sign wars

In Sign Wars (1996), we looked at how companies compete when they become dependent on imagery. Competition becomes focused on images and signs when they are offering parity goods and services - from fast food to cars. Sign Wars -- or brand recognition contests -- are no longer confined to colas or hamburgers or long distance calling packages or cars or running shoes.

We think the television advertising of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and the NASDAQ Stock Market as a classic instance of sign wars competition. With the stock market boom of the latter 1990's, the institutional presence of these two major market exchanges became elevated to a branding process. The signifying focus of their competition has been to position themselves in terms of their centrality to Technology (which in these ads becomes a blanket term for the computerization of the world) along with their Global presence.

NASDAQ's current slogan or tagline is "Stock Market for the Digital World." NYSE's tagline is "The world puts its stock in us" (though its mantra of "Right Here, Right Now" is more conspicuous)

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Robert Goldman, Stephen Papson, Noah Kersey