The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

Chinese Youth Are Not Robots …
July 5, 2012, 6:10 am
Filed under: Comment

As I’ve written previously, one thing I hate is how many agencies present Chinese society as one, all encompassing group.

Where they all think the same.

Where they all look the same.

Where they all want the same.

Frankly I don’t know whether this is because of laziness or convenience, but it’s wrong on almost every level.

Are there commonalities of opinion and needs across generations and geographies?


That’s the case anywhere – however just like Mum’s love their kids all over the World, how they express that and what they respond to can differ dramatically thanks to cultural, economic and societal conditioning.

However one thing that really bugs me is how people tend to judge Chinese society in relation to the West.

It seems to be either “… they’re strongly influenced by Western culture” or “… they don’t like Western culture”.

They treat is as if it’s that cut and dry and that utterly, utterly wrong.

Sure, there are things that influence culture.

Sure some of those have come from the West … as have some things that have been influenced by China, both old and new.

However in both cases, the initial influence is – contrary to popular belief, especially contrary to popular media belief – rarely executed literally, it is nurtured, mangled, evolved, shoved, shifted, pushed in a whole myriad of ways so that what comes out the other side, might be born from one place, but developed in another.

It’s not a clash of culture … it’s the birth of culture.

A new culture.

Being able to look beyond the surface is the key and yet I am amazed how many agencies fail to do this, preferring instead to say that it’s all about duplication or interpretation rather than appreciating the unique elements that are being created and executed … unique elements that can give great insight into what really is going on in people’s hearts and minds if only they are prepared to look for it.

A perfect example is this:

Sure, you could make some hypothesis based on what he’s saying and how he is saying it – but the really interesting stuff is when you take into account where he comes from – which is a Tier 3 city – a place that many people regard as nothing more than poor, isolated and lacking any sophistication.

Obviously this guy has money behind him – that video is something professionally and expensively pulled together – but even looking past the fact he is a ‘signed’ recording artist [albeit, an underground artist] … if you look at his background, his upbringing, his environment and then his current behaviour [admittedly via a video designed to ‘entertain’], you can start seeing that a lot of what is currently being presented by adland is one dimensional, bland and lacking any understanding of how external factors [ie: China’s unprecedented period of growth] are fundamentally changing what people feel is possible.

Whether that’s a good feeling or – as our BoomTown Stories experiment showed – a stressful feeling, is not the key issue, it’s the fact it’s influencing changes of behaviour, attitude and ambition and there is no standard, one-size-fits all response.

The state of societies mindset is all around us, but if we go about it with the attitude that we know it all or that ‘convenient answers’ are the right answers, then we’re not just going to make communication that is even less effective than it currently is, we’re going to fuck up what’s left of our industries relevance forever.

33 Comments so far
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Well this is interesting because this is actually the wrong blog post. I don’t mean ‘wrong’ in the sense I had another post I had in mind for today, I mean this is literally a wrong version of the post I had written.

Basically it was all supposed to stop before the music video because I felt the first half and second half of the post – while connected – talked about different things … however I see I had a momentary ‘Andy technology breakdown’ moment and put the first draft up instead so for anyone wondering why I might of had a weird transition of personality about half way through this post, now you know.


Mind you, given no one actually reads this post, I am sure no one will know what the hell I am talking about in this comment. Or this blog, come to mention it.

Comment by Rob

fuck you, you fucking bastard. im an it genius.

Comment by andy@cynic

Good point about culture creation. You could say it’s culture evolution but I get your point, especially that agencies express societal groups as bland, homogenous groups. By the way, that video is ridiculous, though it explains your point especially in relation to tier 3 and beyond cities.

Comment by Pete

stop talking planner porn wank. i dont like it, understand it or want it. youre all a bunch of fucking sicko pervert wankers and should be reported to the daily fucking mail.

Comment by andy@cynic

I used to see that sort of shit in the multi story carpark of Spar in Luton every Saturday night.

Comment by DH

luton? what the fuck were you in the city equivalent of a 42 year old man wearing fucking birkenstocks for?

have some respect for you dave. didnt know you were a victim of child abuse.

Comment by andy@cynic

What Andy said. WTF?

Comment by Rob

Divorced parents really fuck you up.

Comment by DH

I can tell the state of your mindset just visiting this blog. Do I win a prize?

Comment by DH

Rob has a mind? That’s the biggest thing I’ve learnt this year.

Comment by Billy Whizz


Comment by andy@cynic


Comment by andy@cynic


Comment by andy@cynic

oh i know, misfuckinguided.

Comment by andy@cynic


Comment by Rob

I don’t know what a tier 3 is. All I know is he’s a kid acting like a twat. Deal with it Rob.

Comment by Billy Whizz

Your best comment ever.

Comment by DH

Tier 3 is out pf your league.

Comment by John

Your best comment ever..

Comment by DH

I forgot John was Brad Pitt’s identical twin brother.

Comment by Billy Whizz

nice fucking work billy. campbells getting all hot and bothered over some random twat that every neighbourhood has. back in my day we used to smack them, not fucking put them on a fucking pedestal.

Comment by andy@cynic

You know what Billy, I sort-of agree with you. Who would have guessed that would ever happen?

Without doubt it would be easy to misread things – even more so when this is one person in a country of well over a billion – but the interesting thing [at least for me] is the contextual contrast between how he is behaving [albeit in a video designed to entertain], where he is from and what his upbringing would likely have been.

But you’re not reading any of this are you, so I’ll just shut up and get on with things.

Comment by Rob

it might be more fucking credible if it was coming from a bloke(?) who likes queen, wears birkenstocks and comes from fucking nottingham.

Comment by andy@cynic

your post is the wrong way round campbell. big agencies put out a fuckload of “research” saying how they get the shitload of stuff real people are thinking but then they only make ads showing men as fuckwits and women as great fucking mums.

maybe youre right for china because that place scares the fuck out of marketing twats so they want to make it easier so they will spend fuckloads of cash there, but its not like that in the fucking usa, because its boringly fucking normal and they need to make it sound interesting and complex.

fucking b-grade manipulators.

Comment by andy@cynic

That’s the best explanation about the underlying rule for agencies describing a particular markets audience complexity I’ve seen in a long time. So what you are saying is that with Rob wishing to show the diversity of behaviour and attitudes that exists within Chinese society, he’s breaking the system. That would not be the first time.

Comment by George

Yes, it is good. Nothing new, but still well explained which is why this is one of the scariest things I’ve ever read on this blog.

Comment by Rob

Seems to me that all too often popular culture is confused with real cultural values that are derived from cross generational bel;iefs. The former is hip, transient and easily accessible, the latter is old-fashioned, stable but harder to disccern.

How thaqt plays out in China, I’ve no idea yet. I’m only half way through the book.

Comment by John

Good point John …

That doesn’t mean ‘popular culture’ can’t play a more significant role in the fundamentals of how people think/feel & behave – but quite often, it’s not nearly as significant as we like to present, even though adland is – sadly – not a longterm focused machine so popular culture is, for all intents and purposes, the only culture they really care about.

Comment by Rob

How anyone could look at China and say “Well, they are clearly all the same” is totally beyond me. You only have to spend a small amount of time there to realise it’s a hugely diverse place in many respects.

John’s point about popular culture and real cultural values is interesting. I guess in many ways that’s typical of the model of focusing too much on the short term and not enough in the long term. Copy the result and not the meaning that got you there.

As for the music… a lot of signed artists in America produce things that are just as generic and churned out with no real understanding or link to the culture they target too.

Comment by Rob Mortimer (Not a fake Andy)

because theyre fucking moron twats.

Comment by andy@cynic

On the other hand, social media gurus are most definately all the same
Not to mention research ‘experts’ who are the same in the way they pretend people are different.

Comment by northern

are you on the fucking meths again?

Comment by andy@cynic

Sleep deprivation

Comment by northern

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