Tropes in the Media – The Union Jack

The union jack is the national flag for Great Britain or the United Kingdom, which consists of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.  However, no law has ever been made to officially make the Union Jack the official flag of Great Britain, it has become the symbol of the United Kingdom through precedent alone.

This image of the Union Jack is from the tail lights of a special edition of a vehicle called the Mini Cooper.  You can see half of the Union Jack in this image as the other half would be on the other tail light.  This image comes from a advertisement from BMW, the parent company to Mini.  This special edition of the vehicle celebrates sixty years of Mini Coopers.  Mini Coopers are often depicted in media with Union Jacks on the roof or mirrors of the vehicle, so it isn’t uncommon to see the Union Jack on a vehicle of this type.  Also, while BMW is a German company, Mini is still based in the United Kingdom.  Essentially however, this advertisement is meant to evoke a little bit of national pride within those residing in the United Kingdom.  When creating this vehicle with the Union Jack on it, they wanted to get that national pride out of people to have them consider buying the vehicle or even just the tail lights themselves, as you can do that for your Mini.  Mini Coopers are still very popular today and many people have seen them depicted with Union Jacks in the media, therefore it isn’t far fetched to say this advertisement is trying to appeal to our national pride and/or past memories of the vehicle.  For someone like me, I only see my past experience of seeing Mini Coopers depicted with Union Jacks as a reason for me liking the vehicle.

This is a poster that depicts the Union Jack flag.  The poster literally reads “It’s our flag” and to “Fight for it” and “Work for it”.  While I have no national pride for the United Kingdom, I think this is exactly what this poster is getting at.  It bears a huge resemblance in my opinion to the posters used in the United States during wars, like Uncle Sam’s “I want you” and Rosie Riveter’s “We can do it!”. Those posters were meant to evoke national pride within people to get them motivated to join the army or the workforce.  This poster is quite literally saying to fight and work for their country, just like the other posters mentioned.  Posters like this motivate you to do something for your country and the Union Jack is the centerpiece and symbolic of the United Kingdom.

This picture depicts the Union Jack superhero from Marvel comics that goes by the same name as the flag.  We only see the actual Union Jack at the top of the page, but on closer inspection, the Union Jack can be seen on the superhero’s suit.  This is the cover of a comic book, so it would’ve been the first thing you saw when browsing a comic book store back in the day.  It is essentially an advertisement, it is meant to make you want to buy the comic book.  For me, seeing the stars and stripes on Captain America would have made me want to buy the comic book.  It interested me to see the iconic symbols.  For someone living in the United Kingdom, it probably went about the same way.  The iconic Union Jack over top this superhero’s suit would have interested them and made them want to buy the comic book.