What is being called a “Chinese manufacturing image advertisement,” as well as China’s first global ad campaign, aired Nov. 23 on CNN Asia. The ad seeks to promote the global reputation of products manufactured in China after years of scrutiny regarding safety and quality.
The advertisement, produced by DDB, one of the world’s largest advertising companies with a clientele including McDonald’s and Volkswagen, was funded by the China’s Ministry of Commerce along with 4 subordinate organizations including the China Advertising Association.
In an interview with the CBN on Nov. 30, a Ministry of Commerce official revealed that the ministry was indeed behind the creation of the campaign.
The ad, 30 seconds in length, features western actors and actresses utilizing a variety of products tagged “Made in China” but with the design or technology from various western countries. A voiceover in American English states at the end of the ad: “When it says made in china, it really means: made in China, made with the world”
The final frames of the advertisement read “made in China” only to replace the ‘in’ with ‘with’, reading “Made with China”. The original slogan in Chinese—not featured in the ad—was “Made in China, the World’s Cooperation”.
Chinese journalist Song Lei describes the advertisement in an article at Sina.com:
Song goes on to analyze the advertisement:
The Los Angeles Times’ David Pierson reported that critics of the advertisement said China should focus more on improving the quality of their products:
Some critics say China's ad campaign is misdirected and that the Ministry of Commerce and the trade groups would do better to focus their efforts on improving manufacturing practices in China rather than spending time trying to sway opinion overseas.
In the Chinese blog “Greeness” a blogger states that the ad campaign is an effective way to combat the recent wave of economic protectionism and cultivate China’s newfound soft power:
Journalist Shi Jingtao sees the advertisement as a natural progression of China’s soft power. Shi gives his opinion of the ad campaign in a China Youth Daily article:
While opinions of the advertisement vary among Chinese blogs, some blogger are critical of the “extroverted” method of image molding and believe the reputation of Chinese manufacturing can be solved domestically.
Corporate blogger Lou Xiangpeng writes that the most important thing for Chinese manufacturing is the healthy cultivation of Chinese brand products:
Lou sees China as having little control of export-oriented manufacturing. He says international corporations contract to the lowest bidder yet place the blame on China when products are defective, thus contributing to China's bad reputation.
Chinese blogger Nuoteam writes that image alone will not save the Chinese manufacturing industry.
Many articles on this ad campaign report that the Ministry of Commerce has purchased a six week advertisement spot on the CNN Web site, although this has yet to be confirmed.