CCTV Consumer Gets Naomi Klein

Let me summarize Naomi Klein's major thesis about how consumers can beat back the big brands: The bigger the brand, the harder they fall.  If you want to read more from Naomi Klein, here is the first part from her book No Logo.  The relevant part here is Chapter 15: The Brand Boomerang.

It can take 100 years to build up a good brand and 30 days to knock it down - David D'Alessandro, president of John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance, January 6, 1999.

Branding, as we have seen, is a balloon economy: it inflates with astonishing rapidity but it is full of hot air.  It shouldn't be surprising that this formula has bred armies of pin-wielding critics, eager to pop the corporate balloon and watch the shreds fall to the ground.  The more ambitious a company has been in branding the cultural landscape, and the more careless it has been in abandoning workers, the more likely it is to have generated a silent battalion of critics waiting to pounce.  Moreover, the branding formula leaves corporations wide open to the most obvious tactic in the activist arsenal: bringing a brand's production secrets crashing into its marketing image.

The biggest media brand in China is CCTV, which garners a majority of advertising expenditure in China.  Naomi Klein's theory is that when someone is in that position, then they better do everything right.  Any mistake will have consequences that will be magnified much more than their smaller competitiors.  The following comes from a post at the ReporterHome forum to illustrate how a simple piece of sloppiness became a major faux pas.

Here is a screen capture of a document that appeared in the CCTV program Vertical Strike (垂直打击).

This netizen had been watching this program series.  Instead of showing up by appointment, the episodes were recorded for later viewing.  In episode nine at around 35:14 to 35:17, there were 3 seconds of remarkable moments in the history of television.

The story was about the 'decapitation action' that Chinese paratroopers were assigned for the training program.  The division leader accepted the mission and began to review the corresponding document.

This television spectator then began to read the <Strategic Objectives for the 'decapitation action' by the paratroopers> document through the recording by getting a screen capture, magnifiying the text and reading the whole thing word by word.

Here is the translation of the document.

The Chinese People's Liberation Army is the leading edge of the Chinese military.  They are responsible for important missions such as surveillance, sabotage and rescue behind enemy lines.

I want to do something for  you, I want to make you happier, I want you to remember my name.  When  you are not paying attention, I want to sow the seeds that will bear fruit eventually.  I think that she is really a woman who is suitable for you.  I'm not very gentle but I am understaning.  If I become just a good friend again, then you don't have to be in this embarrassing situation.  I love you a lot, and therefore I want you to be a lot happier ...

As for the rest of the words, you can read the lyrics in Liu Ruoying's song <I love you very much>.

This television viewer was supposedly upset that the typist was not rigorous because "I'm not gentle and understanding" was typed as "I'm not gentle but I am understanding."  But of course the true message is that the CCTV brand was less than trustworthy.

(Apple Daily)

In another episode of the show, a female paratrooper was found to be wearing a pair of very expensive Fornarina shoes (made in Italy).