Advertising Age’s Creativity spotlighted an Ogilvy & Mather Beijing campaign that invites Chinese tourists to visit the UK via a promotion asking them to rename famous British places using their native language. Hopefully, the British places will not include the country’s adland. Otherwise, the tourists will have to figure out how to say “exclusively White shithole” in Mandarin.
To Lure Chinese Tourists, U.K. Invites Them to Rename Famous Places in Mandarin
Interactive Contest Is Aimed at Curious Visitors
Chinese tourists are a huge income source for the U.K., so tourism body VisitBritain called on the skills of a Beijing agency to find a way to entice more of them. Ogilvy & Mather Beijing came up with an online contest that asks prospective Chinese visitors to rename famous places in Great Britain.
The winners will have to come up with the most fitting, amusing, and memorable Chinese names from a pre-defined list of British places, events and things. These 101 points of interest range from well-known tourist sites like Kensington Palace to lesser-known attractions such as Bristol’s hot-air balloon festival. As this promotional video reveals, some imaginative names have already been suggested. The idea is that the winners will come to Britain and post photos of themselves at the place they renamed on WeChat and Weibo. VisitBritain hopes this will help people develop a “deeper understanding of Britain.”
China to Name the Loch Ness Monster
A British Campaign Asks People to Pick Chinese Names for Tourism Icons and Landmarks
By Angela Doland
Some British tourist attractions already have a widely accepted name in Chinese. Stonehenge is Ju Shi Zhen, the Giant Stone Arrangement. Then there’s Da Ben Zhong, the Big Ben Clock, sometimes translated as the Big Silly Clock. (“Ben” in Chinese can sound like the word for stupid or silly.)
Yet there are plenty of British attractions that don’t yet have names in Chinese, so national tourism agency VisitBritain, along with the Home Office, is launching a contest for people in China to pick some.
The list of locations and icons to be named includes the Loch Ness Monster, Sherwood Forest, Kensington Palace, the Beefeaters who guard the Tower of London, and the Temple Church that features in “The Da Vinci Code.” The country is also seeking a translation for kilt, as well as the Welsh town of Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch (that’s not a typo).
Ogilvy & Mather Beijing developed the campaign, Great Names for Great Britain, which is being promoted through online videos and is centered around social media sharing, a microsite and prizes. The campaign runs through April 2015.
Countries globally are trying to figure out how to lure China’s exploding class of world travelers. This year, 116 million Chinese tourists are projected to travel outside their country, spending $155 billion, a 20% increase from last year, according to the China Tourism Academy. Chinese travelers are the No. 1 spenders in international tourism, with their consumption increasing about 10 times since 2000, according to the U.N.’s World Tourism Organization.
Britain has an opportunity to rise in the ranks as a destination for Chinese tourists — in 2013 it drew fewer of them than countries such as the U.S., France, Italy and Russia, according to the China National Tourism Administration.
In China, Britain is seen as a great place for well-off families to educate their children abroad. Some of its brand and cultural exports are quite popular here, from Burberry to Benedict Cumberbatch. “Sherlock” is a hit on online video services in China, where Mr. Cumberbatch’s character and Dr. Watson have been affectionately dubbed Curly Fu and Peanut. (Fu is part of the Chinese name for Sherlock Holmes, and Watson sounds vaguely like the Chinese word for peanut.) Chinese consumers have also already come up with a nickname for British traditional specialties including haggis and stargazy pie, which is embedded with fish heads. They call it “gloomy cuisine.”