Brand New China
Many people think of China has the factory of the world. In the west, many think China only produces cheap knockoffs and that everything is a copy of a better Western product. This is easy and comfortable for many people to believe because it makes them feel safe, but it is far from the truth. With books like The End of Copycat China: The Rise of Creativity, Innovation, and Individualism in Asia (AL); for those of us that live in China, we know that China is poised to introduce a flood of quality, innovative, and competitive products into international markets around the world.
The only thing holding back these products is brand awareness. But two Dutch guys are looking to change that with an innovative marketing campaign. After living in China for many years, they are leaving their daily life behind for a remarkable reason. Showing the world a different image of China, one that is innovative and ambitious. As proof, they will drive from China to Holland using only Chinese products: A Chinese car, smartphone, laptop, tent and even Chinese underwear.
At the end of last month (July), Maren Striker and Rogier Bikker depart by car from Shanghai, to undertake a 3-month journey covering 20,000 kilometers and 11 countries along the former Silk Road, to Rotterdam. The journey coincides with the celebration of the 35 years sister city relationship between Shanghai and Rotterdam.
Rogier Bikker is a advertising man and he moved to China in 2009 to setup the Shanghai office of creative marketing agency Energize. He has been responsible for the strategy and creativity of marketing campaigns for global brands including Heineken, KLM Airlines and Dr. Oetker in China. In 2014 he quit his job to fulfill his dream: driving from China to Holland using only Chinese brands.
Maren Striker has 6 years of experience in urban planning, urban redevelopment and water management being based primarily in China. He has worked in Shanghai for three years as Urban Planner at RTKL on large-scale master planning projects, strategic urban thinking and developing sustainable and livable cities.
They are traveling to 11 countries along the former Silk Road from China to Europe. Their journey will take them through some of the oldest cities in the world and provide them with the opportunity to meet remarkable people along the way. Their goal is to introduce Chinese brands to the local people they meet and share pictures online everyday. They will also be producing a new video each week to discuss their journey and talk about the products they are using. Below is the first video posted about their new car sponsored by BYD.
They have received many sponsors and Chinese brands have enthusiastically backed the project to collaboratively increase their brand awareness and emphasize their drive for innovation. According to Millward Brown in 2013, “Only 2-7 percent of U.S. and European consumers could recall major Chinese brands. Yet more than 70 companies from China are featured on the Global Fortune 500, a list of the largest global companies by revenue.”
The Brand New China mission is showing an interesting shift in the way China is seen and is hoping to be seen. More and more Chinese brands are looking to enter the global markets and become household names. We have seen more and more product placements from Chinese brands and continue to see companies positioning themselves for international expansion. So, be sure to watch these two Dutch guys over the next 3 months has they catch the first wave of this growing trend. Welcome to a Brand New China.