CCTV stumps up $500,000 for ad

Job passed to Singapore agency 10AM Communications

SINGAPORE — Pubcaster China Central Television is going for the ultimate in Western commercialism — a $500,000 ad campaign to raise awareness of its CCTV2 channel.

It has given the job to Singapore agency 10AM Communications, the first time it has used an agency outside mainland China and the first time it has paid for the publicity.

For Lim Sau Hoong, co-founder, CEO and chief creative talent at 10AM Communications, the opportunity was huge.

“In the past, most of the multinational agencies have worked for CCTV for free — it’s not every day your ads reach a potential 1.1 billion viewers,” he says. “Being a small startup, we couldn’t afford to do this for nothing, so (we) were really pleased when the client was willing to pay.”

So, with 1.1 billion viewers, why the need to advertise?

It’s partly due to increased competition from cable, says Wang Wen Bin, deputy director of advertising and economic information at China Central Television. But also put it down to channel identity.

“CCTV2 does not have a clear proposition or clearly defined image,” Wang says. “This commercial will help to change that, creating a clearer position for CCTV2 as a brand. It reflects what the channel believes in.”

The television commercial, dubbed “Dance”, was shot in the north, Shanghai and Beijing’s Forbidden City. It shows a country girl twirling to a selection of traditional folk tunes, classical music and Count Basie’s Big Band, her vivid red jacket contrasting with the brilliant blue sky, simple wooden village and snow-covered ground. In another scene she is dancing in the arms of man in a tuxedo, atop a Shanghai skyscraper. “Everyone has a stage in their heart,” says the Mandarin onscreen text. “How big is your stage?”

It’s East meets West, old meets new, and represents China’s optimism after becoming part of the World Trade Organization, says Wang: “The future is bright, and everyone can sense that. We at CCTV2 want to capture this optimism and take it even further, which is why the commercial doesn’t simply say everyone has the ability to dream — but that dreams are limitless, so everyone, regardless of who they are, should have big dreams and make them come true.”

“We really like the look and feel of the whole thing, especially the girl. She’s young and lively, possessing the hopeful innocence and vibrance that we feel truly reflects our channel’s personality.”