China’s promotional video on billboard-size screens in New York City’s Times Square grabbed the attention of passers-by. The 60-second video, and the electronic display with its vibrant red background aimed to promote better understanding of China.
Any national promotion is supposed to reflect the country’s culture, taste and special characters in a condensed form. The following three national campaigns aim to do just that.
The promotional video Experience China is an effort to exert “soft power” through culture and lifestyle.
Xinhua News Agency called it a “public diplomacy campaign”.
Massive images flashed on six screens on two sides of a building framed in China’s traditional red color.
The ad campaign features a wide range of Chinese people–including celebrities such as Jackie Chan, the martial-arts movie star, Yao Ming, the basketball player, astronaut Yang Liwei, pianist Lang Lang and lots of ordinary, smiling Chinese.
According to Xinhua, China is hoping the video will help raise its image as a prosperous, developing, democratic and progressive nation. But some foreign media and experts have noted that the display does not reflect all sides of Chinese society.
And for a country with 1.3 billion people, 56 ethnic groups, and a history which stretches back 5,000 years, it’s too difficult to express what China is in just 60 seconds.
Germany’s tongue-painting ad posters
Germany has long had issues with multiculturalism, immigration, and assimilation.
A few months ago German Chancellor Angela Merkel declared multiculturalism in Germany a “failure”, saying immigrants needed to do more to integrate.
An ad campaign was rolled out to encourage immigrants to learn German.
“Out with language, in with life” or “speak out, get into life” are the rough translations of the slogan.
However, the message sometimes becomes garbled.
Michael Paulwitz, a German Jewish writer, has claimed that sticking out your tongue represents malice and contempt in Jewish culture.
Australia’s “Where the bloody hell are you?” ad campaign
Tourism Australia has created an “in-your-face” challenge to come and sample the unique “down under” experience.
The campaign focuses on the question, “Where the bloody hell are you?”, using a classic piece of Australian slang in the hope of attracting foreigners.
In the video, the camera changes from place to place, including Sydney Harbor, featuring the Sydney Opera House, the beach and the aboriginal tribes. In each scene amateur actors greet the audience. The campaign attempts to harness the value of iconic Australian places by displaying them as compelling experiences.
And the irreverent phrase “Where the bloody hell are you?” communicates something of the boisterous nature of Australian culture.It also challenges viewers to visit down under. The only problem is that the phrase is said so quickly that many overseas viewers won’t even realize that they’ve been sworn at.