As reported over the last week, China’s Ministry of Commerce and ad giant DDB have released their previously delayed public relations campaign touting products made in China. The ad, which you can watch here, shows a bunch of consumer goods with the tag line “Made in China with [insert expertise from the rest of the world here].” Paraphrased.
As Malcolm Moore of the Telegraph points out, it’s strange that the ad heads in the direction of China being the world’s manufacturing center rather than the burgeoning creative and innovative hub Beijing would rather promote:
Does it make you feel better about Chinese quality? Not really. The idea behind it seems to be that while things are made in China, they are designed elsewhere (a fact that Apple makes very clear on the back of its iPods).
So you shouldn’t worry about your shoes, fridges and clothes. Just because they are made in China doesn’t mean they are Chinese – they are still reassuringly foreign.
Couple that with the whole reason the ad campaign, which was originally supposed to air in 2008, was delayed in the first place: The melamine scandal, which sickened thousands of babies and also instigated a worldwide scare when the poison began to show up everywhere. For some reason, the higher-ups felt that telling everybody that everything they owned was made in China at that point seemed untimely.
But even though the food scare’s behind us (and heads are rolling for it), what are the chances that a commercial like this would boost consumer confidence overseas? Wouldn’t it have been better if they had touted the millions of things being devised and made in China? Like… say, solar panels, or electric cars, or even the beginnings of their home-grown fashion industry? With all the actual success stories coming out of this country, why would DDB decide to highlight products attached to sweatshops, suicidal factory workers, and problems with counterfeiting?