Tuesday, August 19, 2008

PR Gaff

The story about the mens and womens Spanish basketball team stretching their eyes to simulate Chinese facial features has been doing the rounds in mainstream and social media recently.

The newspaper ad, for a Spanish courier company called Seur, was approved by the Spanish sporting authorities. This is yet another faux pas by the Spanish (used generally as a stereotype), who have not had the best track record in the fight against racism. People still remember Luis Aragones and his comments towards Thierry Henry and the horrible gorilla chants to the English black football players. This does not put the Spanish in a very good light at all.

I wasn't going to touch on this subject as I thought it wasn't worth while discussing, we all know what the Spanish are like - right? Well, after much consideration, I personally wouldn't go as far as to say the Spanish (again in general) are racist. I've been to Spain many times and met some very friendly people. I think this is more a case of naivety and misunderstanding of what does and what doesn't cause offence rather than an outright attack at a race of people.
All in all though, Spain could really do with fewer negative stories about its racial standpoint.

Thanks for reminding me I have 'slitty eyes' though, as Prince Phillip (1986) would put it!!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Cultural Differences

I liked this post on China Rises, by Tim Johnson a Beijing Buereau news chief, about cultural differences between Western and Eastern cultures (using Germans and Chinese as examples in this case).

The examples are very true. I find it amusing that many dual nationality citizens like myself (Born in Hong Kong, raised in UK) find ourselves balancing these cultural nuances on a daily bases without even realising it. By osmosis we learn the differences in the cultures and seem to be able to switch depending on the company we are with - the question is, which culture do we prefer?!

Here are some of the examples, depicted by Liu Yang (German in Blue / China in Red)

Status of the boss:

Attitudes towards children:

A party:

Noise levels in a restaurant:

Problem solving:

Preferences towards transport:

Mood towards weather:

Time keeping:


Queing mentality:


High streets at the weekend:


Dealing with a complaint:

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Power to the people

I saw news this week that chocolate giant Cadbury is bringing back the 'Wispa' bar, BBC news reports about it here.

According to the BBC, Cadbury's has "…bowed to public pressure after a popular campaign on the Facebook and MySpace websites."It seems the British public has decided to pressure Cadbury's to bring back a product that has not been seen on shelves since about 2003 due to public disinterest.

But it seems that this was no spontaneous movement by the general public to genuinely bring back something that was forgotten. According to Will Sturgeon's blog, this is the work of Borkowski PR.

Needless to say the campaign has been shortlisted in the PR Week Awards - good luck to them.