Zeenat Rasheed
Ruminations on marketing, digital, social and 2.0.
Made (By Way Of) China? A Global Brand Campaign
Categories: Global Marketing

Let me talk to you today about a product. I don’t know anything about how much it costs or why it is better than its competitor, but I do know that it was made in Switzerland. Hm. You may think that I’m speaking of a high precision watch, or gourmet chocolates perhaps? Let’s say the product was made in Italy. Your mind probably went towards images of glossy leather shoes or designer fashions.

Now let’s say that the product was made in China. What do you think now? Yes. Exactly.

In the global economy, the label “Made in China” has come to represent a number of negative qualities: low-cost, low-quality, copycat goods that are produced in mass quantities. Many of us may not know the names of or have opinions about actual Chinese brands, but as a country of origin, China has gained a notorious reputation. We may buy products that have “Made in China” on the label, but might not expect the product to last very long, or might cynically expect to someday hear that the product contains hazardous ingredients has been recalled.

The Chinese are entirely aware of this, and to combat these very perceptions, China recently launched the country’s first global brand campaign through a 30-second commercial, which has been airing on CNN (reportedly on U.S., International, Asia and Headline News) since the end of November. The ad was commissioned by China’s Ministry of Commerce and a number of trade associations and was produced by the Chinese arm of international advertising agency, DDB.

The 30-second spot shows Western actors interacting with a number of products boasting a “Made in China” label, but with a postscript. Running shoes have a tag that says “Made in China with American sports technology”; an MP3 player is labeled with “Made in China with software from Silicon Valley”; a commercial airplane is stamped with “Made in China with engineers from all over the world”. The spot ends with the tagline, “Made in China, Made with the World.”

Let’s discuss what this commercial does right. The strategic concept does hold water: after all, in a networked global economy, most products reach the shelves after having been through a highly fragmented and complex supply chain. The ad reminds audiences that although the label says “Made in China”, many other companies and people were involved in the production process. In fact, more than 50% of Chinese exports are “processing exports”, i.e. China becomes involved only in the final assembly and shipping phase of the production process. The label says “Made in China” but it should really say “By Way of China”.

From an execution perspective, the warm and fuzzy message of global partnership does get conveyed through the soft visuals and mellow voice of the narrator. Also, the ad does succeed in portraying China as a little bit more modern than we’re used to; not being subjected to images of the Great Wall, Tiananmen Square, and Mao is a little refreshing.

But the plus points end there.

The strategy to show the involvement of other countries may have been well-intentioned, but what the commercial essentially conveys is that for any given “Made in China” product, there were actually many more reliable non-Chinese cooks in kitchen watching over the process. By saying, “sure we made it, but Silicon Valley actually thought it up”, they are creating an unavoidable comparison between themselves and a platinum brand; instead of elevating the Chinese by association, the parallel damages their credibility as innovators and relegates them to mere manufacturers.

Another thing: even though the commercial is intended for a global audience, it speaks with a very Chinese voice. The phrase “American Sports Technology” means nothing to an American. The ad would be far more effective if we saw a runner lacing up a shoe that read “Made in China, with Reebok technology”; after all, Reebok represents something to the average consumer. Using generic representations of other nations as ingredients in your own nation branding doesn’t really work.

From an execution perspective, the ad fails in making the “Made in China” brand relatable. Chinese-made products are bought by people from every ethnic and income background, but the actors are all middle to upper-class Caucasians, reflecting a non-diverse (perhaps stereotyped?) mindset of Westerners. Also, the taglines suggest partnership with “French designers” and “engineers from all over the world” — where are these people? If China would like to prove that other nations and people are involved in the production process, why not actually show them, instead of simply the end consumer?

One way to also enhance the image of Chinese brands would be to also include… some Chinese brands. Why not show a businessman using a Lenovo laptop? Or people using China Mobile phones? This way, the generic “Made in China” identity benefits from being associated with individual successful Chinese brands, they gain more Western exposure, and everyone goes home happy.

This new commercial was not really reviewed by the national media here in the U.S, and seemed to have slipped by the marketing press entirely. Perhaps the Chinese don’t want to make a splash about it, seeing as the ad is being run only on one news network and news of campaign was only given to English-language channels in China, not the more important and influential Chinese networks. Perhaps this is just a project that a handful of bureaucrats were assigned to complete. But it still remains an intriguing case study in global marketing and perceptions of global consumer culture. For all the reasons that China is mentioned in the mainstream media, it would be nice to see some coverage on issues like this as well.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • FriendFeed
  • Google Buzz
  • MySpace
  • Delicious
  • Reddit
  • Sphinn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Technorati Favorites
  • Tumblr
  • Digg
  • Share/Bookmark

This website uses IntenseDebate comments, but they are not currently loaded because either your browser doesn't support JavaScript, or they didn't load fast enough.

4,942 Comments to “Made (By Way Of) China? A Global Brand Campaign”

  1. C’est la vie la plus grande richesse de possibilités. onnent la détermination, est douloureuse, mais doit être changé, n’ont pas été en reste le succès n’est pas aussi simple que cela doit prêcher, si vous le processus peut être ingérable, mise à l’épreuve de la volonté, du moment que vous pouvez résisté, on YuTianJi planer, votre seconde vie. Dipl. ne pas de cette difficile et apparemment banal je

  2. Même si le monde entier non credevi tu vous, ignorer que vous vous insistez pour eux-mêmes. — dans une pincée de succès l’échec. Nous devons réduire ces sentiments négatifs comment. Dans HunHunEE est à tout au long de leur vie, en blanc au sol. Comment adapter leur mentalité. Tout d’abord, il doit mettre tout en. ; Comme vous le froid sexuelle, craignant froid givre … Toutefois, vous et elle n’a jamais été limit

  3. Peu de temps après, est aussi un an plus tard, je Me Changeais en vous aujourd’hui, où vous dipl. , Si plus de travailleurs licenciés, que le revenu des agriculteurs, avec nos frères de personnalités de pointe, les mentalités que sur plainte, a affaibli naturelles. De s’abstenir de l’enfermement, une affaire a conduit de moins que pour de nombreux. Chérir. Pendant plus de 40 ans par la doit être une décision importante et difficile,

  4. Childish dreams, yesterday’s glory,chanel paris sunglasses for sale, even if the past is calm, quiet,chanel sunglasses denim, because these are carved with wonderful memories, will accompany and enrich the life. From then on, I will never talk about love. Like such a life, to a state of mind such as water, no root no wandering, like a dandelion in the wind, flying, uninhibited, no purpose, just to enjoy the wind to fly free; Lust after such a gesture of holding a zen-like ink flower, see mountai

  5. And knowledge, no timeless melody, singing “in the world of energy spectrum, the love is not the end of time, waiting for the refreshment of the star and the month, only the ordinary, to deduce the eternal company, is comfortable, quiet river flowing scenery. Is so silly you hold in your arms, you finally say the words in my ear made me blush, let me think, these four years, the value. If you can send this moment static, I would like to abandon in buckish, shake off dust, the legacy of mottled,

  6. De la gamme,louis vuitton verhoogt prijzen van tassen, telles que l’analyse de la situation, le jugement Corée test a tiré 300 mm roquettes à longue portée,uggs rotterdam shoe club, peut être considérée comme étant d’étendre la gamme d’améliorer les tests de performance. Home Office britannique sac celine cabas gusset récemment sur. Ces organisations demandent également au sac celine trapeze pas cher gouvernement britannique de cesser d

  7. Bound together in life, laugh tears interweave, don’t too proud value, lost time will not be too disappointed, nothing is forever, like our youth, rolling rings that we grew old, also let us learn to the life and gained valuable experience and experience. so funny, again and again,chanel bag keychain, to now, it is by our departure time. Look for you, and the world of mortals on the safety, a total of sound to know each other mutually, poison sing so far; Dream you, in that light bead curtain in

  8. Is not quiet,can you buy chanel sunglasses online, quiet is tactics sit up watching the clouds in the atmosphere, is sleeping in the ink blue smile of poetic flavour, is a deep affection to the two know each other. An irresistible law of nature, when the time passed quickly, don’t treat me, I want to learn to learn knowledge, to do what I want to do, let your life to the limit, make life sweet, let a smile more bright. Few end red carp swimming, reclusion in blade joint, occasionally out, a few

  9. Hillary is one of the next U.S. Victoria Police said they were still searching for the name under which detainees.. Uttar Pradesh, India, two girls were gang-raped and hanged cases continue to simmer, relatives of the victims to lose confidence in the state government, refused to receive compensation, asked the Indian Central Bureau of Investigation took over the investigation of the case and publicly hanged murderer.. Galu. China and many other Asian countries are not in favor of this behavior.

  10. Sorry, I not speak good english.Attractive section of content. I just stumbled upon your web site and in accession capital to assert that I acquire actually enjoyed account your blog posts. Any way I’ll be subscribing to your augment and even I achievement you access consistently rapidly.

  11. Rêve chanson Lei et propre persistante, en particulier le genre de mains remplissage et la sensation flexible, toujours apparu dans son rêve.。Laosong,prix doudoune moncler homme, comment voyez-vous cette chose.”。”OK, il a donc été donnée le” feu vert Xiao Ping a déclaré: “Vous avez raison, je suis la personne à faire tous les paiements d’assurance trois ferme il,moncler soldes 2012, après avoir travaillé dans la ferme et d’aller tra

  12. Quotidien, l’aube des tranchées sont sac celine au printemps le moment le plus cruel,goedkope blauwe mini uggs, le sommeil court est le meilleur moyen d’échapper à la guerre, mais le premier rayon de soleil ce dernier point devra casser un luxe,moncler jassen look a like, afin que tous les acheter sac celine phantom peuples tremblent,ray ban briller pa nett, et même dépression nerveuse. Le porte-parole militaire américain a déclaré de tels incidents ne son

  13. President Barack Obama at a news conference in Brussels that if Moscow does not change its policy towards Ukraine, the Group of Seven (G7) may implement a new round of sanctions against Russia after one month.. .. Hollande on the first commemoration of the many activities that began with the war that day, 24 hours later, with blood, tears, pain and joy of the end of the battle to change the world,hobahoba x nipmuc jeans cycling pants, so that people will always remember the Normandy.. National B


  15. Le président ukrainien Pietro sac facon celine Porochenko 20 a annoncé des plans de règlement pacifique de la jacky \u0026amp; celine sac partie orientale celine sac moins cher du problème, mais a décidé un cessez-le feu de semaine dans l’est. trisé le gouvernement allemand,sac chanel dore, il ne serait certainement pas avoir ce genre de réflexion et de nostalgie comme Remak de guerre pour la paix, mais militariste tra. Le président russe Vladimir Pou

  16. Pour les immigrants, la langue est acheter sac celine luggage un obstacle majeur. Les fusées coréennes originaux à long terme avec une gamme de 150-160 kilomètres, mais le lancement 26 une portée de 190 km, de la longueur d’origine de 30 km. Ce mois-ci, le 20, le sac a main celine 2014 Président les sacs celine de l’Ukraine,portefeuille lancel bb, le tissu Baltique prévu une solution pacifique à la partie prix sac celine galerie lafayette orientale du prob

  17. Hi my friend! I wish to say that this article is awesome, great written and come

    with almost all significant infos. I’d like to peer extra posts like this


    Visit my blog post: brave frontier hack – https://www.facebook.com/,

  18. Indiqué que le d’autres organisations de défense Privacy International et publiera un rapport sur le 17, le projet de rapport de synthèse décrit la position ci-dessus britannique. Il a ajouté: “. Qui est un ami de la Russie,louis vuitton sjaal outlet, que les pays et avec la Russie sac a main style celine hostile. Ces organisations demandent également au gouvernement britannique de cesser de. Exercices à proximité des eaux contestées de la mer de Chin

  19. Pendant la trêve, Ukraine, Union européenne, Russie imitation sac cabas celine Groupe de liaison tripartite sur le règlement pacifique de sac celine phantom rouge la partie orientale du problème en ce qui concerne civil armé avec de nombreux cycles de négociations et parvenir à un accord de cessez-le feu. Obligations générales différentes, les détenteurs d’obligations islamiques jouissent de la propriété des actifs concernés,s

  20. White jordan 7 gs ntrl gry Store House Where To Pre Order OG black women varsity red 18s 2014 correspondents along for the ride reported from the scene with a harbor full of Buy 2014 jordan 9 bentley ellis kids moored yachts bobbing in Buy aj flint grey 9 Online the background. Ron Dellarose had two three jordan 4 retro GS pink foil run homers for Brownsville and teammate Paul Bennett added a two run shot. Others used a clever line to elicit laughter or applause Air Jordan 28 Russell Westbrook f

  21. I guessing that if they lose this fight then all blame will be placed at the feet of (blue dogs not included, of course) and this will serve as the 2010 rallying cry around the democrats; Jordans Son Of Mars for sale not all will be lost jordan 8 phoenix suns For Cheap politically. I can’t air jordan 4 retro cavs On Feet wait to start school tomorrow and accept the challenge When Do infrared 6 Release to do my best!”President Obama delivered his first back to school speech to students across the

  22. ghost says:

    Howdy! This article could not be wrtten much better! Looking through this

    article reminds me of my previous roommate! He always kept preaching about this.

    I am going to send this article to him. Fairl

    certain he will have a great read.Many thanks for sharing!

    Heere is myy web blog … ghost

  23. Scarpe Futsal Brisbane Adidas Copa Mundial 2014 Samba SG Coppa del Mondo Verde NeroVoetbalschoen Quick Nike Mercurial Vapor 9 FG Stealth 2013 nero bianco InfarossoScarpe da calcio Uk 2014 Adidas Adipure 11Pro 2 SL Samba TRX FG Nero GialloScarpe da calcio Nike Junior Significato Magista Onda Cr7 2014 IC Futsal GialloBotas De Futbol 11 Venta on-line Nike Elastico Finale 3 Mens 2014 Giallo NeroPredator LZ Carnaval TRX FG-Terreni Compatti-Scarpe Da Calcio-Blu-SlimeDavid Beckham Paris Saint Germain a

  24. I sorry for my English.great points altogether, you simply received a logo new reader. What would you suggest about your post that you just made some days in the past? Any certain?

Leave a Reply