I read a great post on EastSouthWestNorth today:
A few days ago, I saw the most awesome television ad ever on Linfen TV.
Three women met in the middle of the street and the following conversation took place.
A (to B): “Didn’t you get a vaginal infection?”
B: “I was cured at Hospital XX.”
B (to C): “Didn’t you get a uterine pelvic infection?”
C: “I was cured at Hospital XX.”
C (to A): “Didn’t you get a chlamydial infection?
A: “I was cured at Hospital XX.”
A,B,C shout in unision: “We all got our sexually transmitted diseases cured at Hospital XX!””
And here’s a great piece about the beauty pageant industry in China from the same site.
I read an interesting article today in China Daily. The article entitled “Mooncakes acquire networking flavor” it tells how mooncakes have become a favourite way for businesses to keep in touch with business contacts and clients:
“We send presents to our clients during the Mid-Autumn Festival, rather than the Spring Festival,” said Elsa Wang, who works for a public relations firm in Beijing. The company started budgeting months earlier and has been delivering mooncakes as early as a month ago.
“It doesn’t matter how much a package costs…. Mooncakes are the best way to say: Let us keep in touch.”
Lin Jian, a guest writer on the Financial Times Chinese website, wrote that the consumption of mooncakes has one simple purpose – to maintain relationships.
I don’t know if mooncakes are the best way to keep in touch, but I know that I’ve received about RMB 1,000 worth (US$ 120) worth of mooncakes and mooncake certificates in the last two weeks (that I shared with my colleagues — our company followed tradition and gave employees mooncake certificates) so they certainly are popular.
According to this piece in Time magazine, Facebook is becoming a hot spot on the web for the 35+ set. I wrote a while back that the elitism of Facebook’s invitation-only registration service is a good thing for marketing in China because it separates the rich from the poor. I wonder if Facebook — or the appropriate Chinese equivalent social networking site — could also provide a space for older Chinese to meet online and therefore a new space for marketers to reach them.
I recently just finishd reading Paul French’s great biography of Carl Crow called Carl Crow: A Tough Old China Hand. It details Crow’s time in Shanghai from 1911 to 1937 and his adventures building China’s advertising industry. Carl’s Carl Crow Inc. was the China agent for Colgate and Pond’s facial creme. Using a network of outdoor billboards to reach the mostly illiterate farmers and working class population and newspaper ads to reach the upper classes. He was really successful by using images that explained how a product was used. The ads played very little to the glamour and modernism and more to practical aspects favoured by Chinese people — ads explained in images or copy how a product worked. There wasn’t really market segmentation then. I mean there was some products aimed at rich people but not that much.
But I wonder how Carl would handle today’s marketing situation particularly online marketing and social networking sites such as Facebook. Would he believe in the opinion of this piece which says that having a social marketing website that is aimed at the upper classes in China is a good thing (that would be Facebook where as MySpace is something for the lower classes) because it helps them to stand out from the crowd. And in terms of marketing, it gives a clear customer base to add luxury goods at.
Well I can’t speak for Carl, but I have a feeling that elitism of sites such as Facebook and Xiaonei (it’s Chinese
clone equivalent) will be short lived. Trends on the Internet have a tendency to absorb everyone eventually in an attempt to keep revenue coming in or becoming such a desirably thing to have or a place to be that their execlusivity eventually falls away and becomes just another thing for the masses to consume. Even though Internet penetration in China isn’t that deep when it comes to the country as a whole, access is pretty easy to find thanks to the pretty much ubiqitous Internet cafe. So I think even the claim that many of the regular users on social networking sites are people that can afford to have Internet access in their homes and therefore are probably a member of China’s rising middle class probably won’t hold up for long.