Modern advertising in China still feels like it's in a primordial stage. It's ubiquitous, uncreative, homogeneous, and features a kind of language that promotes quality and price in exactly the same way as a competitor. (Literally: 最便宜的北京烤鸭-68元一只, or "The cheapest Beijing roast duck, 68RMB a bird" on a giant neon sign.) This sense of sameness continues with traditional ad methods which use characters with strong meanings like 红 (red), 龙 (dragon),鑫 ("three bars of gold"), 宫 (palace, temple), 王 (king), 老 (old, honorable), 家 (home, family) or 新 (new) for everything. It doesn't create a product image in any way. Also, if anything is successful there will be four copies of it nearby, whether it's a restaurant, brand of clothing, soft drink or anything else. This, in turn, makes everything appear exactly the same.

America, which I'm guessing is the reigning king of advertising, abandoned this "our knives are slightly sharper than these other guys and are of a slightly fairer price" kind of product endorsement in the 19th century in favor of selling the "idea." In China, this means rainbows, sunsets, cute animals, stolen images of celebrities, pretty girls, Western businessmen and labels from other brands are used without a shred of sarcasm to advertise a dentist's office. That or maybe a heavy flash picture of an unsmiling nurse and another heavy flash picture of bloody gums. This kind of advertising is understandable when you are selling to a very conservative population.

Jet Li "supporting" the Seven Brand line of suits, which is exactly the same the the 12 suit stores on the same block.

Actually, a rather great ad.

1 comment:

Dadkle said...

'Beijing Shaolin'-
Kind of looks like Robert Longo is returning to his roots in Beijing...

Do you see any Chinese fine art that pulls from local advertising?