China is a very complex media market, as Motive’s international
group director James Greet discovered during stints for Saatchi &
Saatchi and Zenith Media.
’My first experience of China was dealing with an angry American from
Proctor & Gamble, who had a problem with airtime we had bought in
My first question once I’d put down the phone was ’where’s Tianjin?’
’China is huge and in 1994 it had one of the most disorganised media
systems in the world. There were national TV channels as well as
separate channels for each province and city. We had no ratings data so
no way of knowing if our spots were actually broadcast.
’There was also the combination of a demanding client (P&G), lots of
graduates and a lack of trained media practitioners.
’One TV station was showing Baywatch so we bought three months of
airtime. Unfortunately, they decided to show it twice a night for three
’At the time, the most desired airtime was on CCTV1, the main national
channel. To buy the airtime you had to turn up at its office with a bag
of money and queue. Once we even queued overnight. Sometimes the Chinese
media brokers would bring their heavies along to ensure they got on
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