Posts Tagged 'media'

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.