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China Marketing

February 22nd, 2010

wineYou don’t need a background in marketing to know that there is something a little weird about this campaign to tie together Australian red wine and cranberry juice (see pic). The packaging may say something about how unsophisticated the market in China really is. So many things are new to the Chinese, and so there is always the opportunity to introduce new concepts and pitch them as “accepted” in the West. On the other hand, this boxed up set may say something about those who market goods in China. If you’re working in an environment where you think consumers can be talked into just about anything, then you really can “play by your rules.”

I took this picture in South China 7-Eleven shop. For those who don’t know, it is not uncommon for Chinese to mix red wine with carbonated beverages like Sprite. You can probably imagine why they would want do so — soda adds sparkle. On this other mixture, though, I can’t guess why someone would want to combine wine with concentrated fruit juice, unless the point is only to dilute the alcoholic beverage. If it’s about sweetening the wine, perhaps wine makers could come up with a variety that is different for the Chinese market. If it’s about the magic of cranberries, then perhaps they could try fermenting that fruit instead.

There are probably some China marketing gurus who will say, “this is another example of a company that is localizing their product for the China market.” In the end, it was probably not a marketing decision, but a project that came about for business reasons. This campaign might merely be an example of what happens when finance directors play at marketing.

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