Have a yoke [of foreign domination] and a smile!
Chinese brands do have it tough, trying to win hearts and minds in a McDonald’s- and Coke-fueled world. It’s an uphill battle, what with Obama cajoling Chinese to the side of democracy with delicious fried chicken (it seems to have worked, btw), or Michael Jordan tempting lower-tier cities into capitalism with his awesome vertical jump and affordably priced track suits. While it’s difficult for the homely virtues of Chinese socialism to compare, Beijing did its best this week to defend China’s poor and vulnerable from these avaricious capitalists – starting with those closest to its heart. Government officials will now be forcibly removed from Audis everywhere and put in cars with Chinese characteristics, in an effort to boost the domestic car industry. (What next, no Maotai? Will small Chinese children even aspire to be government officials anymore?) Chinese netizens also stepped forward to do their part in defending the motherland: Ever watchful for distractions from their mind-numbing day jobs, netizens uncovered a dastardly plot by Pizza Marzano to enslave Shanghai. (If opium could do it, why not delicious pepperonis?) But laowais and the Chinese who love them shouldn’t start weeping into their Wang Lao Jis quite yet – China won’t be entirely walled off from foreign pleasures. At least we will all be able to drive our Geelys to the nearest McDonalds to enjoy that most American of pursuits, feeding your face in your car.
The Proview vision
Picture an open field, filled with contented cows, plump chickens, and fresh vegetables growing in a garden. No one is around for miles, save one humble man. Who is it? If you guessed Ted Kaczynski, you were wrong. It is Ronald McDonald, Chief Happiness Officer (CHO) at his eponymous company. The stereotype of McDonald’s serving children artery-clogging Happy Meals and then chucking a Teenie Beanie at them for good measure is so 10 years ago. The new Mickey D’s is all about coffee, salads, shiny laptops and shiny people (but a non-grease-related shine). Which is why the company is set to roll out a new ad campaign in China positioning itself as the “highest quality” restaurant around, according to its China CEO. Needless to say, the honors of “highest quality” and “dollar menu” don’t usually go to the same company. But McDonald’s are not the only ones accused of borderline public deception. Proview’s epic battle with Apple over the iPad name spilled onto US shores late last week, and an appeals court in Guangdong purportedly serenaded the two with the Beatles’ “We Can Work It Out” in lieu of a formal hearing on Wednesday. Proview coulda been a contender once, but has since legally “passed on.” Now deep-pocketed creditors keep the firm’s litigious dreams alive. Job well done to the Proview CHO.