The global financial downturn has reached China and its consumers, with recent research from Millward Brown ACSR indicating that 78 percent of Chinese consumers have felt some impact from the crisis. So far, however, most advertisers’ response has predictably been focused on promotions—with ads touting deeper-than-usual discounts and longer-than-usual price promotions. It’s worth noting a Coke ad celebrating Chinese New Year that smartly leveraged a celebrity’s anxiety to encourage the whole nation at this moment of hardship.
The spot featured Chinese track hero Liu Xiang, the 110-meter-hurdle Olympic champion who had to abruptly withdraw from the Summer Games due to an injury. Amid a CNY setting with celebrating neighbors and flaring fireworks, we see that Liu hasn’t gotten past the bitter memory of the Olympics. His father comes into his room and passes him a bottle of Coke. “Do you know how many hurdles you have leaped over in the past?” he asks. Silence from Liu. “100,006 hurdles,” his father continues. “This is just another hurdle in your life.” The spot ends with a revived Liu knocking at his father’s door and giving him a bottle of Coke.