Make it a Bud

Having an infant brings a fringe benefit along with the sleepless nights: late-night Chinese TV. Fewer things are more bizarre than regular Chinese programming, but the late-night shows certainly take the prize.

One interesting difference of cultural note, however: commercials and advertising strategy. For instance, they sell Budweiser beer here, probably brewed in a local plant on this side of the ocean. Beer gets plenty of ad space on TV, as well as hard liquor, both being standard fare at any Chinese celebration. It’s a little weird to see happy family gatherings on TV with everyone downing shots.

But watching the Bud beer commercial: gone are the sleek, seductive women, the burly weatherworn cowboys, the pickup trucks and ice chests. Instead, enter a parade of ants(!), large black ants, towing bottle upon bottle of Bud beer in perfect formation across national landmarks (including the Great Wall of course), and then showering them upon grateful citizens who are celebrating together, each bottle carefully wrapped in a red felt bag to hearken the coming Spring Festival gifts. Here the advertising currency trades on feelings of patriotism, group celebration, and gift exchange, absolute cornerstones of Chinese culture. They know what makes a sale, and push it for all it’s worth.

But the ants?? Here’s the element of the bizarre that permeates much of Chinese media and culture. With a country developing at rocket speed, the connections holding all the pieces together can seem rickety at times. But in a postmodern age, who’s to be the judge?

So grab your bud and celebrate as a national duty, and don’t forget your little crawly friends.


1 Response to “Make it a Bud”

  1. 1 Drew February 2, 2010 at 3:41 pm

    Liz and family

    Your experiences in some ways mirrors my own in the desert back in the Persian Gulf War.
    I remember seeing their brand and Style of TV over there in
    Saudi and it was similiar to viewing another planets version of American TV. Also going out shopping was similiar to a twlight zone
    espisode here. The traditional outfit worn by the men is ghutra an iqal on their heads.
    Women and girls in Saudi Arabia wear a long dress with long sleeves. It is called a jallabia (or sometimes a thawh). It comes in different colors: black, green, purple, blue…and a lot more colors. The dress is long so that it can cover every part of the body because our religion does not allow us to show any parts of our body. We have to cover everything. Women in Saudi Arabia don’t wear these dresses every day now. They only wear them on special days or when they feel like wearing them, but the Bedouins, people who live in the desert in Saudi Arabia, still wear jallabias every single day. What a difference a continent or two away from the homeland can make in daily norms for tv and attire. What american foods, restaurants, movie stars, cars, and clothing are you seeing the chinese people embrace or enjoy over there ? And have you developed a liking towards any Chinese popular culture phenomenon (foods, clothing, movie stars, cars, et. al. etc?
    Miss you guys! Again congrats on the new addition!! Drew

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