Thursday, January 28, 2010

An ad for Haiti

What a simple and clear message.

Via Adverblog.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Austin ADDYs Show at Seaholm - February 12th

View it online.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Controversial non-profit ads

It seems like non-profit organizations have to be more shocking,which generates more attention, in their advertising as they don't have the big budgets that for-profit corporations do. One example are the DDB Brazil ads for WWF comparing the relatively few deaths of 9/11 with the extraordinary number of people who died in the 2005 Asian tsunami.

A recent Medicins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) ad.

Via The Agitator.

The Brazilian WWF ad.

Via Adfreak.

Monday, January 11, 2010

US Buick vs. China Buick

When I was in China, I noticed many upper-class people driving Buicks where in America they would probably be driving an European luxury car. In China, Buick occupies a cool, hip mindset while in America, the brand perception is different.

In China, General Motors has done a superb job of pitching Buick as a cool, even sexy, luxury car. It's not viewed as something your grandfather would drive. Instead, GM positioned Buick as an aspirational brand that fits in perfectly with China's national go-go race to modernity.

As a result, the Buick has become a symbol of the country's rising prosperity — a fun, four-wheeled, tactile embodiment of Deng Xiaoping's famous phrase, "To get rich is glorious."

Compare the two commercials below to see a brand that has already established a strong brand image so they can have more daring ads versus a struggling brand image that is trying very hard to portray hipness.

Chinese Buick ad

American Buick ad

Via Globalpost.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Top Ten Most Viewed Posts of 2009

While I realize it's already 2010, here are the top ten most visited posts of 2009 on The Ranch according to unique pageviews. Not all posts were published in 2009.

10. Texas Rangers advertising

9. Interview with Ignacio Oreamuno,founder of ihaveanidea.

8. Letter to college students from a mom.

7. Simple is the new black.

6. Maturity is overrated.

5. Advertising is evil. Is it really?

I drew attention to this post after reading the comments on GOOD magazine's post about banning billboards. Go to page 5 and 6 of the comments.

4. Interview with Ernie Schenck.

Ernie is currently working at Hill Holiday Advertising.

3. Top 40 Real Men of Genius commercials.

2. Interview with Peter Rosch.

Peter has become a director with Sandwick Films and freelance copywriter.

1. Interview with David Baldwin.

David has started a new agency called Baldwin&.

Top Ten Tips to Work in the Chinese Advertising Industry

This story was published by Ad Age China, a publication of the Ad Age Group. Thanks to Normandy Madden at Ad Age China for graciously allowing this online reprint.

Editor's note: below some of the tips I've added some personal insights and commentary. -David.

Want a Job in China?

by Bryce Whitwam

SHANGHAI ( -- Like many agency directors, I've recently been inundated with resumes from wannabe expatriates who are either unemployed back home or want to come out and experience the adventure. Looking for a job in China? Here are some useful tips to keep in mind.

1. Come with a specialty.

Regardless of your industry experience, you will have better chances of landing a job quickly if you're specialized in something. If you don't have a specialty, market yourself as being interested in one. According to several advertising industry search firms, the hot jobs are in digital marketing, CRM and shopper marketing.

2. Apply to as many agencies as possible.

Many China job hunters make the mistake of applying to the big networks that they know, and avoid smaller, less familiar international or independent ones.

Even local agencies may be looking for an expatriate who can help them service an international client. Remember that the whole point is getting your foot in the China door, and nothing is permanent.

If you eventually land a gig but it doesn't work out after a year, you can move to something else, but now you've got experience and you're better connected, too.

3. Connect directly with the decision makers.

Most agencies here do not use Human Resources managers to sift through prospects, so it's better to connect with the head of the agency or department. They don't mind connecting with someone with talent and passion.

4. Think Shanghai 上海, but don't forget Beijing 北京 or Guangzhou 广州.

Shanghai is the capital of the China advertising industry, but there are also many agencies spread out throughout the country, especially in Beijing and Guangzhou.

5. Don't ask for a flight over here.

Expect to come to China for a round of interviews on your own tab. If you're applying from outside China, you should pick a week for interviews two months before your arrival and start arranging interviews for that week. Nothing impresses an agency boss more than someone who has pro-actively arranged interviews prior to their arrival, and you'll need the interview to convince the agency to hire you over a local. The agency also will not have a budget for your airfare or lodging, unless you're coming out for a senior position.

One major aspect of the Chinese culture, and a major reason why the global recession hasn't affected China as much, is frugality. Chinese value being frugal i.e. less spending equals less debt. For more insight, watch this stunningly accurate Russell Peters stand up comedyclip.

6. Think of your job as an internship and expect a local salary.

Long gone are the days when there was a huge gap between local and expatriate salaries because of different skills. The industry now boasts a good army of talented and well-paid locals, many of whom still live rent free with their parents. Salaries are still lower in China for entry-level positions when compared to places like the U.S., and living as an expatriate can be expensive. If you frequent the expat hangouts, you'll soon discover your salary barely covers your expenses. It may be tough your first year, but you'll find your financial package grows quickly with experience.

One American's salary can equal four Chinese professionals salary. In China and Taiwan, the supply is far greater than demand because a Chinese person has to compete with the whole country. Think about that for a second. I know of one multinational agency in Shanghai where an American CD was let go so four CWs and ADs could be hired.

If you don't frequent the expat hangouts, food in China is dirt cheap compared to America. A meal of soup dumplings 小笼包 cost around $0.50 USD while a combo meal at KFC will set you back $4.50 USD (same as America).

7. Knowing Chinese helps, but it isn't everything.

Ethnic Chinese with Mandarin-speaking skills will definitely have an advantage over non-Chinese speakers, but it's a combination of China experience and language skills that will get you the desired job.

8. If you don't know Chinese, start learning now!

Get the basics down before you arrive because once you start working you won't have the time or energy to really dive into learning Mandarin. Don't fall into the trap of being one of the many foreigners who live here that never bothered to learn the language. Believe me, they all regret it.

9. Be passionate and hungry.

An agency lives and thrives on passion, and if you don't have it, you shouldn't be in the business. One of the pitfalls of Chinese employees is that many have become used to a booming, full employment economy, and have subsequently lost a bit of the hunger that fuels our industry. If you have it, it will certainly rub off on the other employees.

10. Prepare to work your ass off.

Within a few days of working at an agency, you'll suddenly find yourself in hyper mode performing a million different tasks – planner, creative, finance, etc, that you probably never did back home. Seven-day work weeks are the norm here, not the exception. It's just a price to pay for the China adventure.

I could not agree more. My parents have told me about and I have witnessed firsthand the Chinese work ethic. Starting in jr. high, students attend an after school program (補習班) to further learn English, sciences, and other subjects. So 14 year olds get home from school at 9pm. At every level of schooling (jr. high, high school, and college) a SAT-type entrance exam is required. The government places you according to score. You don't get to to choose your college; it's based on your National Higher Education Entrance Examination score (高考). Imagine having to compete with 1.3 billion people to attend your dream university. This strenuous training is carried on in professional life where parents work long hours and don't get home until after 8-10 pm.

Getting overseas experience is now key for career development, and there's probably no better place to get it than China. Spending a couple of years here will be both rewarding and challenging, and if you're like me, you might get so addicted to the buzz of the place that you may not want to leave.

A 17-year resident of Greater China, Bryce Whitwam is general manager of Wunderman, Shanghai.

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