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Copyright Date: 2008
Published by: Harvard University Press
Pages: 432
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Book Description:

    One part riveting account of fieldwork and one part rigorous academic study, Brand New China offers a unique perspective on the advertising and marketing culture of China. Wang's experiences in the disparate worlds of Beijing advertising agencies and the U.S. academy allow her to share a unique perspective on China during its accelerated reintegration into the global market system.

    eISBN: 978-0-674-04482-1
    Subjects: Marketing & Advertising, Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-xvi)
  4. Introduction: Framing Chinese Advertising
    (pp. 1-35)

    Commercial advertising returned to the People’s Republic of China in 1979. What was once a young, unstable sector has taken big strides since then, turning into an industry with total billings of $18 billion by 2005, up 12 percent from the previous year, making up 0.78 percent of China’s gross domestic product (GDP), and accounting for an impressive 1.92 percent of the country’s tertiary sector (Guang 2006, 38–39).¹ The sheer size and scale of the Middle Kingdom lie behind its growth miracle. As of 2005, there were 84,272 ad agencies and approximately 9,650 advertising media. The total number of...

  5. CHAPTER 1 Local Content
    (pp. 36-67)

    Both Mary Teresa Rainey of Young & Rubicam, a transnational ad agency, and Roderick White, at London-based Conquest Consultancy, describe TNAAs’ retreat from globalism as a fait accompli. The job of a successful transnational advertising company, in their view, is to stay on top of the cultural values specific to the target market.

    These two epigraphs sum up the general trend of industry opinion regarding global marketing and advertising. By 2005, the anti-globalization perspective sounded far more acceptable than in the late 1990s, when Marieke de Mooij first broached her thesis about “national cultural value systems” (de Mooij 1998, 2003).¹ In...

  6. CHAPTER 2 Positioning the New Modern Girl
    (pp. 68-107)

    “Positioning,” the basic tenet of contemporary American advertising, is the practice of segmentation in a cluttered marketplace. As a primary tool of communication, it helps a brand become what it is, as opposed to something it’s not. The brand positioning of a product can be as imaginative as the Qoo profile in the epigraph above, or as literal as Haier’s “sincerely forever” or Volvo’s “safety.” To segment means “to limit.” Thus a shampoo brand targeting “people with hair” is a marketing joke, risking total irrelevance in today’s highly differentiated market. Not all consumers are equal (Stockdale 1999). The concept of...

  7. CHAPTER 3 The Synergy Buzz and JV Brands
    (pp. 108-143)

    In the first eighteen months after China’s accession to the World Trade Organization, the sentiments of Chinese corporate and advertising sectors changed in visible ways. Emerging confidence in the competitiveness of Chinese brands could be seen, while forward-looking entrepreneurs grew to appreciate globalization in its role as a facilitator of a positive cross-fertilization of global canons with local norms. The new buzz word was, and is, “synergy.” The simple, ideological view declared in the short-lived 4C manifestos pitting the “Chinese” against the foreign global competitor—a sure sign of cultural defeatism—has receded.

    This chapter’s three epigraphs, all taken from...

  8. CHAPTER 4 Storytelling and Corporate Branding
    (pp. 144-179)

    Reciprocal flows, by definition, do not flow only in one direction. Not only is traffic initiated from the West, but increasingly Chinese superbrands are traveling the opposite way. The Chinese excitement about the westbound voyage is real. But brands strong enough to migrate overseas must first be superbrands at home. Thus a new kind of “brand nationalism” has taken hold and triggered questions like “Why don’twehaveour ownSamsung or Sony?” After the PC maker Lenovo’s acquisition of IBM’s ThinkPad and the bid of Haier, a domestic appliance giant, for Maytag, national hopes for the global reach of...

  9. CHAPTER 5 Bourgeois Bohemians in China?
    (pp. 180-210)

    If the American economist Thorstein Veblen lived in urban China today, he would be impressed. Nowhere else would he find such a large population so eager to practice his theory of “pecuniary emulation” (Veblen 1994), what writer Timothy Sexton has called a kind of “keeping up with the Joneses.” The phenomenon begins with those sitting at the top of the social pyramid, whose consumption standards become emulated by those in lower tiers of society.¹ You are what you consume. That is, consumption is built on a tiered logic: for those situated lower on the hierarchy, there is no faster way...

  10. CHAPTER 6 Hello Moto: Youth Culture and Music Marketing
    (pp. 211-246)

    The “neo-neo-tribe” social segment comprises only part of the single-child generation, which numbered approximately 111.9 to 142 million as of 2005.¹ Each of those “little emperors and empresses,” as they are called, is said to have a total of six parents (their grandparents on their mother’s and father’s sides plus their own parents), who spend an average of 50–70 percent of the household’s income on them for their needs or desires, which range from education to designer brands (Lu Taihong 2005, 381). Utterly spoiled and with an overblown view of themselves, this epicurean generation worships high-end brands and enjoys...

  11. CHAPTER 7 CCTV and the Advertising Media
    (pp. 247-287)

    Branding culminates in placing the product in various forms of media, including ads on television, billboards, the Internet, and so on. Planning and buying media in China share some commonalities with the West. In television, for example, advertisers’ decisions about where to place a commercial depend increasingly on Western standards of cost efficiency. But the television media in China is different in one crucial characteristic: it is state owned and state controlled. CCTV (China Central Television) has bested other media outlets in garnering advertising revenues precisely because it is both the government’s mouthpiece and a powerful conglomerate.

    We can gain...

  12. Conclusion: Countdown to the Olympics
    (pp. 288-312)

    Today old paradigms like positioning are under attack. A new generation of marketers in the United States claim that consumers have tuned out commercial messages and now desire only one-on-one interactions with a brand through personally meaningful, gratifying, and memorable experiences. The emphasis of this new school is placed on seeing the consumer as a self-empowering agent, fully engaged in authentic, interactive dialogues with the brand, with or without the mediation of marketers. Experiential marketing has burst onto the scene.¹ And the rise of the “prosumers”—techno-enthusiasts or do-it-yourself amateurs who take an active role in producing goods and services...

  13. Notes
    (pp. 315-356)
  14. References
    (pp. 357-392)
  15. Acknowledgments
    (pp. 393-398)
  16. Index
    (pp. 399-411)