Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don't know which half.
When the first television ads for automobiles starting appearing on China Central Television (CCTV) in the 1980s, a typical ad would consist of a picture of a car, superimposed on a blue background, and some white copy that would typically read: “We are now selling Toyota (or Volkswagen). If you are interested, please call this phone number.”
Until the late 1980s and early 1990s, billboards in Chinese cities were almost exclusively the domain of the Party and included slogans, news, and inspiration. Print was the exclusive domain of state-owned newspapers, journals, and proto-magazines with no physical or ideological room for advertising consumer products. Radio, like television, was state owned and also off limits to advertisers.
Today things could not be more different. Advertising-supported media of every kind have exploded and proliferated in every corner of China over the past 15 years. There are thousands of TV stations, tens of thousands of radio stations and programs, thousands of newspapers and magazines, brand-touting billboards on every corner, and, more recently, electronic displays of every shape and size everywhere, from taxis to elevators to the sides of buildings. This is to say nothing of the Internet and its tens of millions of points of contact with consumers.
According to Scott Markman, CEO of The Monogram Group, a Chicago/Shanghai ...