Nation Branding Lab


Tag: China

China’s Campaign Lacks Truthfulness

Back in January, I wrote about the nation branding campaign of China in Time Square of NYC. In the article I talked about the possible conflict between China’s current branding strategy and the government’s integrity.

China’s recent diplomacy contradicts its endeavor to re-brand itself with soft-power. It proves that their branding campaign lacks transparency and truthfulness. While China tries to appear to be open, inviting, and friendly on the global stage, its government continues to keep its odd criteria of censorship on the Internet and speech, human rights on its people, and foreign policy on its neighbors.  With these negative attributes, the new image China wants to promote is never attainable.

Below is the link to an article from Human Rights Watch. Australian Prime Minister Gillard expresses her concern over the serious human rights problems in China as she visits the country.

The ‘New’ China in Times Square

If you have been to Times Square in NYC, you must have noticed the the huge 6 LED screens, located at the corner of the building that is next to the building with the Coca-Cola, HSBC, Samsung advertisement. And if you have been to Time Square recently, you may have seen these 6 screens playing China’s self-promotional advertisement.

This video advertisement was unveiled on January 19th and will end on February 14th. The ad will run 300 times a day and the total of 8,400 times until the 14th.

The video itself is impressive. Chinese people in the video seem to be more sophisticated, talented, and powerful than ever before. The minimized number of appearance of color ‘red’ shows more consideration of the audience than did China’s previous promotional ads. The Chinese seem to be attractive people with liberal and Westernized ideas. The fact that China’s prowess in multiple areas it claims to have in the video is true made me even more impressed.

This video, however, is a double edged-sword for China’s image.

While the video reflects China’s effort to firmly establish its image as the ‘soft’ world power, many people know that it is currently not a country of soft power. Its recent enormous military development, human rights controversies, elusive relationship with North Korea, and abuse of power in international politics are still apparent in today’s newspapers.

The video only considers how China wants to be perceived by foreigners but does not address issues that people currently associate with China. Thus, it can potentially bring some adverse effect on China’s image and integrity.

Interestingly, the launch of the advertisement in Times Square coincided with the China’s paramount Leader, Hu Jintao’s visit to the U.S, which set another new positive start in ‘G2’ relationship. So the question that lies ahead is, will China perform the attitude that is compatible with the new brand it wishes to establish?

Hu’s State visit to the U.S  in January 2011

(Sources : Wall Street Journal, YouTube)

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