If you want to get people’s attention in China, bring up children.
GE China’s latest ad campaign, created by BBDO's Shanghai office, uses the cute-as-a-button offspring of the company’s executives in an effort to give consumers the warm fuzzies when they think of the global titan’s China operations.
Though using children in ad campaigns is hardly a new phenomenon, nor is it exclusive to China, it has a special resonance here that is worth considering as a micro example of a macro issue – how to market successfully to cultures other than your own.
In China, children are an emotional hot button in a way that they may not be in the US. The GE China campaign gets it right in three major ways.
First, the kids: thanks to an historical emphasis on children as retirement insurance for their parents and much-needed extensions to the family line to please one’s ancestors, and the one-child policy that created a generation of only children coddled by two sets of grandparents and mom and dad, children in China are highly prized, and BBDO Shanghai knows this.
Secondly, BBDO target people’s sense of family and filial responsibility by having the kids draw pictures of what they think their fathers do at work.
Third, the campaign focuses on GE’s dedication to energy conservation in China, a topic that, due to regular reports of man-made environmental disasters and China’s burgeoning role as a leader in innovative energy conservation technologies such as wind-power and photovoltaics evokes both a sense of relief that a major company is addressing these concerns and a sense of pride that China is pushing forward in its environmental efforts.
BBDO Shanghai has hit the nail on the head with this campaign. It would be worth it to watch for their future campaigns to see how to play to the Chinese market.
Translated synopsis of ad:
Girl 1: The trains that my father makes allows people to travel to far away places.
Girl 2: And help many people.
Writing on screen: ‘GE transportation’
Boy: For my father, his goal is to make our environment a better place.
Writing: ‘GE energy’
Girl 3: My father made an engine, which lets airplanes fly for longer.
Writing: ‘GE aviation’
Girl 4: I want to make a very very large hula-hoop, to help heal the sick patients.
Writing: ‘GE innovative idea for healthcare’
(Brandchannel contributor Laura Fitch is based in Beijing.)