NE-TIGER Designer Zhang Zhifeng, Supermodels Appear In “Experience China” Ad

NE-TIGER’s Zhang Zhifeng, Supermodels Featured In China’s “National Image” Advertisement

China's self-promotional advertisement "China Red" (Image: Xinhua).

China's self-promotional advertisement "China Red" (Image: Xinhua).

This week, a 60 second advertisement, entitled “Experience China,” made its debut in New York’s Times Square, where it will be shown 300 times daily through Valentine’s Day (February 14). The ad highlights a number of Chinese celebrities and business figures, as well as artists and design talent.

In addition to individuals more recognizable to an American audience, such as basketball player Yao Ming and director John Woo, Zhang Zhifeng of the Chinese luxury fashion brand NE-TIGER is featured along with supermodels like Ma Yanli, Zhang Zilin, and Pei Bei, who are shown wearing items from NE-TIGER‘s HUA FU (Chinese Formal Costume) collection.

Since its debut on January 17, the advertisement has been a hot-button topic in the China blogosphere.

From the WSJ: Pro China Ad Makes Broadway Debut

Some critics have panned the commercial for being out of touch with its American audience, presumed to be jittery over the China’s growing global influence. By flaunting all of China’s material accomplishments, says David Wolf, chief executive of marketing strategy firm Wolf Group Asia, the commercial was more scary than friendly. “With these ads, China probably hoped to open its arms to the American people,” he said. “Instead, without realizing as much, it gave them the finger.”

From ChinaGeeks: China’s Latest PR Fail?

Actually, on the face of it, I sort of like the principle I imagine they started with: China has some cool, and unique, people, and Americans don’t really know that because China is some faceless “othery” place to them. This is true. However, this approach to introducing Chinese people to the US is, well, dumb.

From the Peking Duck: China’s Massive Time’s Square video ad

The golden rule for this kind of messaging is to speak in the voice of your audience. I don’t think this ad does that. It calls out for localization, and I’m afraid it’s going to backfire, if it hasn’t already, raising cries about “Red China” and its creepy propaganda.

Baidu Beat supplies a list of the cast in the ad in Who’s Who in China’s new TV commercial?

From Xinhua: “Experience China” debuts at NYC’s Times Square

“The layout of the video is quite smart. I like it,” Charlotte Mcguckin, 18, a high school student in New York, told Xinhua, adding that “everyone (in the video) looks happy.”

“Look, that’s Yao Ming. I can recognize him, and also the female table tennis player standing beside him. She is very famous, ” she said, pointing to the giant screen. “I learned in class that U.S. and China started diplomatic ties from playing the [sic] table tennis,” she smiled.


Fashion, Market Analysis