Media and Advertising
Posted by Joel Martinsen on Wednesday, March 8, 2006 at 4:18 AM
Exhibit A: Advertisements saturating the country since before the Spring Festival featuring five Super Girl runners-up pushing Liuyanghe brand baijiu. At center is He Jie, the fourth-place finisher; with her from left to right are Chen Xibei, Huang Yali, Ji Minjia, and Ye Yiqian, all in the top ten. Zhang Liangying, who actually sang the song "Liuyanghe" during the competition, was apparently off stumping for some other brand (or else involved in a scandalous love affair).
Their Spring Festival ads for Liuyanghe ran with the slogan, "If you want to sing, sing! If you want to drink, drink!" The first half of this slogan was taken directly from the Super Girls competition; when the endorsement deal was announced last October, there was not a small amount of disgust at the fact that a liquor company was granted the imprimatur of a show whose audience included vast numbers of young people. It was a continuation, however, of Liuyanghe's use of youthful champions as spokespersons for its products - you may have seen the fresh face of Olympic gold-medalist Liu Xuan peering out at you from the side of a bus.
Exhibit B: China's new drinking law, which went into effect on 1 January, prohibiting the sale of alcohol to minors. There's a three month grace period, so crackdowns shouldn't start until 1 April (if at all).
Interestingly, Liuyanghe managed to recruit both the oldest and the youngest contestants who made the finals. Ji Minjia, born on 30 June 1982, is 23. Huang Yali was born on 15 February, 1989, but it was recently revealed that this is actually her lunar birthdate, making her not yet 17. One hopes that the distillery keeps her in good supply of the 52% "Eternal Radiance" baijiu she's enthusiastically endorsing, since she won't be able to buy any herself.
A somewhat abbreviated version of this post previously appeared in That's Beijing magazine.
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The Eurasian Face : Blacksmith Books, a publishing house in Hong Kong, is behind The Eurasian Face, a collection of photographs by Kirsteen Zimmern. Below is an excerpt from the series:
Big in China: An adapted excerpt from Big In China: My Unlikely Adventures Raising A Family, Playing The Blues and Becoming A Star in China, just published this month. Author Alan Paul tells the story of arriving in Beijing as a trailing spouse, starting a blues band, raising kids and trying to make sense of China.
Pallavi Aiyar's Chinese Whiskers: Pallavi Aiyar's first novel, Chinese Whiskers, a modern fable set in contemporary Beijing, will be published in January 2011. Aiyar currently lives in Brussels where she writes about Europe for the Business Standard. Below she gives permissions for an excerpt.
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+ Religion and government in an uneasy mix (2008.03): Phoenix Weekly (凤凰周刊) article from October, 2007, on government influence on religious practice in Tibet.
+ David Moser on Mao impersonators (2004.10): I first became aware of this phenomenon in 1992 when I turned on a Beijing TV variety show and was jolted by the sight of "Mao Zedong" and "Zhou Enlai" playing a game of ping pong. They both gave short, rousing speeches, and then were reverently interviewed by the emcee, who thanked them profusely for taking time off from their governmental duties to appear on the show.