Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Chinese Consumer Market: Babies to American Advertising Efforts

Product placement in the movies continues to emerge as a form of unconventional advertising, aiming to subtly target consumers in a less intrusive manner (attempting to seem more natural). It was defined by Balasubramanian in 1994 as “the tecnique of product placement is comprised of the “planned entries of products into movies or television shows that may influence viewers’ product beliefs and/or behaviors favorably.”

In comparison to more expensive, less effective advertising techniques, product placement acts as an appealing alternative-form of marketing. Product placement in movies has developed into a very cost-effective promotional tool, as a result of their increasing popularity in Hollywood films-such films that acquire a massive global audience.

A study conducted to report attitudes of Chinese consumers’ towards product placement, compared these attitudes with those of American consumers in order to gain insight into the similarities and differences among the two groups in the way they perceive, and approve of, product placement in movies. College students from an American university and a university in Beijing were tested for the study, being asked to watch segments of Hollywood blockbusters and afterwards, asked to evaluate product placement in the movies. The Chinese consumers were less accepting of the product placements compared to American consumers. Also, individual differences among consumers had little impact on the results of the study considering the significant difference in cultural values between the US and People’s Republic of China (PRC). US participants were more attentive of social functions brands played in the movies, while the Chinese participants were less likely to consider the product placements as paid advertisements. The Chinese also were more bothered with ethics of product placement and more in favor of strict government regulation on product placement. Noticeable differences in perception exist between foreign and domestic consumers in reference to product placement, demonstrating a possible need for specifically tailored advertising strategies within international advertising campaign.

American companies, capable of internationally expansion, know and value the stability of China’s economy as well as the size of its consumer market (with the population of the People’s Republic of China equaling 1/5 the world’s population). China represents roughly the eighth largest advertising market in the world and with reference to it as “the last big consumer market,” more US companies will choose to expand their domestic businesses overseas, seeking to market their brands in China’s booming market.

Successful integration within global consumer markets requires a thorough study of foreign economies as well as a carefully devised and executed advertising campaign, culturally-tailored for specific target audiences in different markets. Standardized international ad campaigns neglect to acknowledge the influence culture has upon marketing communications and the media-not the mention the reciprocated impact of the media’s influence on cultural values and beliefs. Cultural differences can be embraced rather than ignored. Culturally-adapted advertising strategies, designed for individual national markets, expose consumers to more relevant and personal affiliations with a brand or product, leading to greater involvement and favorable purchase behavior.

The US consumers were more accepting of the product placement than the Chinese consumers while the Chinese were more concerned with the ethics of brand product placement than the Americans. Americans, more familiar and exposed to advertising, marketing, and promotional techniques and strategies, would logically be more accepting of product placement, familiarized with the more advanced advertising industry of the US. China consumers were also more likely to support strict government restrictions on product placement, keeping in congruence with their ethical objections to product placement as well as their higher resistance to recognize brand product placement as paid advertisements. These attitudes regarding ethical issues and acceptability of product placement are strongly rooted in cultural history of participants, greatly varying from one country to another. To account for the variance in cultural views, an international ad campaign would seek to culturally-adapt advertising efforts specific to foreign market.

[McKechnie, Sally A, and Jia Zhou. "Product Placement in Movies: A Comparison of Chinese and American consumers' attitudes." International Journal of Advertising 22.3 (2003): 349-374. Business Source Premier. EBSCO. Ithaca Coll. Lib., Ithaca, NY. 27 Feb. 2008 .]

Monday, February 18, 2008

Last post is titled "International Markets provide security for Companies Withstanding Technological Decline"

Sources for last post included:

[Lohr, Steve. "I.B.M. to Push 'Cloud Computing,' Using Data from Afar." The New York Times 15 Nov. 2007. 18 Feb. 2008 15blue.html?_r=1&oref=slogin.

"Tech's Best Shot For Growth Is Abroad." The Week 8 Feb. 2008: 35. ]
Spending on technology is expected to grow only 3-4% this year, which is only half of the growth experienced in 2007. Companies that work internationally are more capable of handling this drop in internet progression compared with companies that solely operate in the US market. Branching out from behind US borders provides a great opportunity for companies to expand their business, as well as endure limitations upon the marketing environment, such as a large decline in technological growth.

It is hard to determine just how detrimental this slower movement of technological advancement will be. Countries with prosperous economies, like China for example, seem to experience heavy growing consumptions of mobile technology and internet. With technological usage increasing, advertising options grow as well, heightening marketing opportunities, possibly compensating for the lessened degree of innovation in technology itself.

Even with damage possibly caused by the technological decline, expanding overseas allows companies to weather present economic instabilities on the US Homefront, while prospering in outside markets that have healthier economies. Such expanion proved valuable to companies such as IBM, who more than successfully integrated into global advertising, considering that only 39% of the corporation’s revenue is coming from the United States. Thriving in the global market is possible, despite technology difficulties, providing more security to a company
that can reap the benefits of international advertising and marketing.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Companies take advantage of China's Consumer Market during Olympic Games

China Mobile, McDonalds, and Coca-Cola are top the list of the three brands spending the most on advertising during the Beijing Olympic Games, coming about this summer. The heaviest-advertised items during the Games usually include toiletries, food, and beverages (McDonald’s and Coca-Cola demonstrating this fact). These items have massively increased their advertising efforts compared to spending on the Games last year. Several companies even made a point to spend less throughout the year in order to reserve a set amount of the budget for the Olympic Games.

Hosting the Games in China has many companies optimistic, excited to reach the powerful, thriving consumer market located within China. With the Olympics located in the world’s third largest advertising market, companies all across the board are developing campaigns that will grant them huge exposure and access into this prosperous market that continues to grow. Especially with the state of the United States’ economy at present, such an international advertising opportunity is ideal.

Not only are the Olympic games beneficial to the advertisers but to China as well, contributing to the country’s huge market explosion. The expansion of the advertising industry, through the emergence of internet advertising and the new-found popularity of innovative outdoor advertising, perpetuates the growth of the consumer market.
With promising predictions that sizeable campaign efforts will pay-off, corporate sponsors are pleased with China’s hosting of the Summer Games. Companies are smart to allocate generous amounts of their budget towards the Olympic Games, especially at a time when international business is essential. With the current instability of the US economy, attempts to build brand awareness and acess abroad is becoming increasingly important. The fact that the Olympic Games are being held in China, one of the world leaders, sets up an ultimate campaigning prospect. Companies that can afford it are wise to be innovative with their methods of advertising as well as their message.

[Ye, Juliet. "Olympics Fuel Ad-Spending Surge in China." The Wall Street Journal 31 Jan. 2008, sec. B8: B8. Dow Jones & Company. 17 Feb. 2008 . ]

[Stamler, Bernard. "McDonald's pushes to get its money's worth on Olympics tie-ins." The New York Times 5 Sept. 2000. 17 Feb. 2008 . ]

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Outdoor Advertising expands within Industry Internationally

Outdoor advertising, usually capturing less of an audience in comparison with other advertising methods, seems to be the fastest growing in the industry-aside from the Internet. Some International advertisers are making good use of outdoor advertising through their investments in the advertisements of Heathrow international airport. Heathrow airport, in the opening of their new Terminal Five, plans to include massive amounts of advertisements that will be specifically positioned so that international passengers will be unable to avoid them. This airport expansion includes 333 billboards and posters, along side 206 flat-screen tv sets (compare that to Los Angeles international’s 34 tv sets and John F. Kennedy international’s 40).

Advertising has taken a new path with this project underway, and advertisers anticipate major profits, resulting from this venture. Because they are locally or state government-owned, airports are beginning to place more emphasis on advertising in an effort to make money. The general public can’t seem to escape the advertisements which flood in from all angles of life, now reaching airport terminals. With the ceaseless attempts of advertisers to incorporate ads into every possible thread of life, one may wonder when the public is saturated, or if we have become desensitized to the ads themselves. Certainly some must wonder why we can’t seem to become immune to them altogether.

The truth is that advertisers are simple remarkable at what they do-finding new ways to solicit their audience in unexpected, yet subtle, ways. This will even at times leave the public unaware that they are exposed to the ads, although somehow still influenced.

A typical airport visitor is expected to see somewhere between 50-120 ads while passing through Terminal Five, depending on their method of arrival (taxi or train), and means of departure (domestic or international). One thing is certain, regardless or arrival and departure, there is no escaping advertisement exposure.

Heathrow attracts many international business travelers, which make up a defined segment of the market that advertisers are desperately trying to target. Brands such as Visa and Crowne Plaza (owned by InterContinental Hotel Group) plan to benefit from this airport advertisement endeavor.

High earnings are expected, and marker researchers have done their homework. Advertising continues to be an industry that can’t seem to lose its grasp on the public. Many novel opportunities still exist for advertisers to reach their targets, and international airports may be the start of a new form of expanding outdoor advertisements.

[Patrick, Aaron O. "Mass of Messages Lands at Heathrow." The Wall Street Journal [London] 14 Feb. 2008, sec. B3: B3. 16 Feb. 2008 . ]

Friday, February 15, 2008

Beijing Olympics Pose Moral Question for Advertising Sponsors

Political activist intheir attempts to terminate Sudan's attack in Darfur, are making progress with their efforts to pressure companies and markets to pull back their sponsorship of the Olympic Games in Beijing (, because of China's ties to the Sudan government. In agreement with their contentions, Steven Spielberg recently withdrew from the Games, with many marketers wondering if such a prominant pull-back compel more to follow.
Speilberg's removal from the Games places sizeable pressure on other corporate sponsors, calling for some form of response indicating their political stance. Branding specialists expects that if enough athletes and activists join together and convince the advertisers and sponsors of their views, marketers may have to change their duty to the Beijing Olympics.
General Motors has reported that they intend to supervise the Darfur situation and react if things reach a pivotal point. However, forecasts about the Darfur issue do not appear to be calming and marketers will have to react one way or another. Beijing Organizing Committee of the Olympic Games(Bocog) 0denounces combining poiltics with the Olympics, poses an important question to advertisers: Is advertising during the Olympic Games, creating the opportunity of reaching the Chinese market, more valuable than abiding by moral convictions, which condemn China's relations to Sudan's government?
In the months leading up to the Olympics, companies will be forced to decide whether they can place their moral principles before business, and if they can afford to withdrawal from such a profitable event. Companies are being ascked, even pressured, by political activists to determine whether they are capable of separating politics from their business in order to uphold crucial values. Time will certainly tell.

[Fowler, Geoffrey A., and Suzanne Vranica. "Darfur Issue May Entangle Beijing Olympic Sponsors." The Wall Street Journal 14 Feb. 2008, sec. B: B1. 15 Feb. 2008. Dow Jones & Company. 15 Feb. 2008 .]

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Expansion of the Tap Project may lead to further Charitable Campaigns Developed by Ad Agencies

A project which begain last year by a small advertising boutique in efforts to gain public awareness and support for a charitable cause, has now evolved into a national campaign with hopes of global expansion in following years.
Drago5-the innovative advertising boutique-teamed up with thirteen additional agencies to kick-off what is labeled the Tap Project.
The Tap Project ( benefits efforts by Unicef( to provide clean drinking water to children in third world countries. The project requests that customers in participating restaurants (within particiapting cities) donate one dollar fur every glass of tap water, not bottled, they order, during the week of March 16th.
The campaign's success won Drago5 an award at the International Advertising Festival (, for their creative innovation, as well as helped inspire the United Nations( designation of World Water Day ( on March 22nd.
Such a national effort has certainly caught on, expanding rapidly. With a pro-bono campaign such as the Tap Project earning such buzz and popularity for Drago5, this advertising boutique sets an example for other Advertising Agencies for discovering novel ways of promoting charitable causes.
Global expansion of this campaign-intended 2009-further demonstrates the powerful ability of advertising to impressively spread messages fast. Once such a campaign expands internationally, a cause such as this is likely to unify people across borders who can connect to a common cause, which they may feel otherwise disconnected to because of this relevance to those of another country-the children of third world countries.
Advertising agencies possess enormous power in promoting cause-related operations. Their support and advertising efforts helps them appeal to the public that employs them while embracing socially responsible actions. International advertising helps bridge the gap of ideas between one country to another-the gap existing between the awareness and perception of ideas, and more importantly, the resulting behaviors of those exposed. The Tap Project will soon profit from such international advertising capabilities, hopefully inspiring the development of more cause campaigns that can reap similar benefits.

[Elliot, Stuart. "Creative Juices Flow for Pro Bono Effort to Aid Global Water Projects." The New York Times 13 Feb. 2008. 13 Feb. 2008. 13 Feb. 2008 . ]