It’s possible that you haven’t heard about China’s recent huge, ambitious, expensive, and sometimes bizarre push to expand its media influence abroad–then again, maybe not. Either way, Beijing is at it again, as Media reports that China is preparing to launch an international advertising campaign designed to repair the image of Chinese-made goods abroad:
According to insiders, the creative concept is still a work in progress, though the client has bought media space to commence in about six weeks. It is believed that international channels, such as CNN, will be central to the campaign.
The goal is to build the Chinese brand overseas to raise perceptions of the goods manufactured there and encourage a broader view of China than simply as a low-cost market. [Media]
One would think that this newest push is simply in reaction to last year’s tainted milk crisis, since consumers have avoided Chinese milk products ever since the incident.
However, the Ministry of Commerce is claiming that they have been planning the campaign since early last year, meaning that the campaign may have actually came about as a result of the lead paint-covered toys scandal.
Media is also reporting that other sources say the milk scandal actually put the project on hold.
While we can see how the scandal would mean that the project might have to take a different direction, we figured that another product liability problem would have actually just intensified their efforts, rather than bringing everything to a halt. The aftereffects of last year’s milk scandal still keep the Chinese milk industry from regaining its former market share. As Channel News Asia reports:
“Store manager Linda Leong said she has reduced her stock of China-made dairy products as consumers are still wary.
She said: ‘Customers have a phobia about all this. It might take them about one or two years to forget about the issue. If not, they don’t dare to buy any China-related products.’
Since the ban has been lifted, requests for China-made products still remain low.”
In the end, a well-placed ad campaign could be just the thing to repair China’s image abroad. As more and more consumers are beginning to opt for low-cost items rather than trusted brands, a small, soothing Chinese voice in the ears of foreign consumers might just do exactly what the central government wants it to do.