Chengdu promotes China to the world
Updated: 2011-06-09 14:35
Chengdu this month won praise as a model for how to best promote China's rich history and culture to the world.
International communications expert Christo Kaftandjiev of Bulgaria discussed Chengdu's successful international marketing campaigns in a speech to 3rd China Chengdu International Intangible Cultural Heritage Festival.
Kaftandjiev is a member of the global judging panel of the International Advertising Festival in New York, one of the world's top three advertising industry festivals. Founded in 1957, the International Advertising Festival in New York regularly appraises marketing programs around the world.
In Chengdu, Kaftandjiev told Chengdu Daily that the city was smart to adopt a giant panda theme for its external marketing campaigns. He spoke to the newspaper following his address at the forum, entitled "Chinese Cultural Heritage and Its Impact on Modern Western Marketing Communication".
"Before I came to the city, the organizing committee told me they expected me to offer advice on China's intangible cultural heritage protection campaigns. When I arrived in Chengdu, I made field observations of many intangible cultural heritage projects here. I am very fond of Sichuan embroidery, which looks so beautiful. I realize I had come more to learn than to give advice," Kaftandjiev said.
"China has joined the front ranks in intangible cultural heritage protection," he said. "China's intangible cultural heritage projects do not belong to China only. It is a miracle by itself to preserve an art or skill intact over thousands of years. China has preserved this rich history for mankind."
Kaftandjiev praised this year's conference. "Thanks to vivid exhibits and live shows, audiences become knowledgeable at a glance about what intangible cultural heritage is, and why it is so valuable. Audiences might be indifferent at first, but they will be touched by the live shows, want to know more, and even become fans intangible cultural heritage," he said.
"This is exactly why we hold intangible cultural heritage festivals. In terms of marketing communication, the intangible cultural heritage festival is a big advertisement by itself. The general public can come to intimately know the history and culture of a country.
A fan of Sichuan province
Kaftandjiev said he was delighted to be experience the rich cultural heritage of Chengdu and Sichuan province. "The culture is truly rich and colorful, with many elements to promote," he said. In addition to being a fan of Sichuan embroidery, he also praised a Sichuan opera performance during his first visit to Chengdu. "That is a fantastic performance, indeed," he said.
"The city has beautiful scenery and charming people. It has a profound cultural atmosphere. Above all, the food is delicious here," Kaftandjiev said. "With this trip to Chengdu, I've really widened my knowledge of what are the best dishes of China."
Even the spiciest foods were delicious, he said, citing one day's visit to a restaurant for a bowl of traditional Sichuan noodles with a hot pepper sauce. "I had several big bowls of the noodles that day," he said.
Kaftandjiev said he first began paying close attention to China six years ago, and that he has since learned about the profound impact that traditional Chinese culture is having on the modern world.
"Nowadays, Chinese elements have penetrated into every corner of the world. Take the example of Kung Fu Panda 2, which is showing in movie theaters now. I have not seen the film yet. But I know it incorporates Chinese elements. No one can neglect the impact of Chinese traditional culture on the world," he said.
Kaftandjiev said Chengdu's use of a giant panda logo for its external marketing campaigns is a strong example of how to incorporate symbols of a country's history and culture in advertising and promotional projects.
"I think it is an ingenious move to choose a giant panda to promote Chengdu to the outside world. I recently saw a TV documentary on giant pandas. It mentioned Chengdu, and also included scenes on the unique face-changing masks used in Sichuan opera and the city's specialty hot pot dining experiences. I was attracted by the episodes, as if personally experiencing them with the anchor on the scene. I believe Western viewers will have a keen interest in Chengdu when they see the documentary. They might take a trip to Chengdu to hug giant pandas," he said.
"The film says Chengdu is the capital city of the kingdom of giant pandas. I am impressed with it. It is simply marvelous to position Chengdu as the ‘capital city of kingdom of giant pandas.' It helps people to remember the name of the city in an instant. As shown in my studies of China, I think Chengdu, knowing the psychology of Western audiences well, is at the forefront of efforts to cultivate a Chinese city's image for foreign audiences."
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