Shanghai hopes to inspire with new video ad

Updated: 2011-12-12 07:49

By Shi Yingying (China Daily)

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SHANGHAI - This city announced plans to shoot a new promotional ad two days after a short film promoting Suzhou began to screen in New York's Times Square in early December.

The move adds Shanghai to the list of major Chinese cities such as Beijing and Chengdu that advertise their attractions abroad, follow-ups to the national public diplomacy campaign that coincided with President Hu Jintao's visit to the United States in January.

Tian Fei, who works in the information office of the Shanghai government, is in charge of the new project. She said that channels for distributing the new video have not been confirmed yet as the office has not yet received the budget from the local government.

"Where we distribute the video has a direct relationship with officials' itineraries when they visit foreign countries. That's to say, we'll only screen (the video) in Times Square if the mayor plans to visit New York next year," she said.

Without offering further budget details, Tian said her department expected to receive the money in March.

According to The New York Times, signs in top-drawer locations in Times Square can rent for as much as $300,000 to $400,000 a month.

The new five-minute video, which started shooting on Friday, will replace Shanghai Concerto as the city's promotion video, and it will focus on changes in the city after the World Expo last year.

"Shanghai Concerto featured celebrity athletes speaking for the city. For example, Liu Xiang represented Shanghai's speed and Yao Ming symbolized the city's height.

"As for the new video, we expect to do something new rather than showing star spokespeople," said Meng Jian, director of the International Public Relations Research Center of Fudan University, who participated in brainstorming sessions for the video.

"This time, Shanghai will speak for itself," said Australian television and film director Franco Marinelli, who was chosen as the director of the new video by a joint production team formed by the local government and domestic production company Crystal CG.

Marinelli said the name of the new video would be Shanghai, a City of Inspiration as "it is truly a city of inspiration".

With 25 years of experience in making television commercials for clients such as the United Arab Emirates Department of Tourism, Commerce and Marketing, Marinelli said it was natural for local governments to spend millions of dollars on promoting.

"I do believe it can have a very good effect because here in Europe, people only link China with business - when China appears in the news, it's always business-related," said 26-year-old Davina de Smet from Belgium, who spent two years working in Shanghai.

According to information provided by film crew members who asked to remain anonymous, the new video is expected to finish shooting within two weeks.