If you live in or around any major city in the U.S. you’re are likely to have seen advertising for something called Shen Yun which appears to be some sort of Chinese dance troupe along the lines of Cirque du Soleil. The advertising, digital, outdoor and sometimes even radio and local television makes little reference to what you will see, only that it will be a spectacle in and of itself. I’ve never attended a show (shame on me since I am a self-proclaimed sort of Sinophile and yes I have plans to attend this year).
Having worked with a number of Chinese companies I’ve seen few that do any kind of consistent advertising – consumer advertising in particular in the U.S. Yet Shen Yun at times is omnipresent. Or so it seems to me. I found by checking out info on Wikipedia that the group is part of Falun Gong which if you do not know ‘On 20 July 1999, the Communist Party leadership initiated a nationwide crackdown and multifaceted propaganda campaign intended to eradicate the practice. It blocked Internet access to websites that mention Falun Gong, and in October 1999 it declared Falun Gong a “heretical organization” that threatened social stability’
Also from Wikipedia:
‘Shen Yun Performing Arts is a performing-arts and entertainment company formed in New York City. It performs classical Chinese dance, ethnic and folk dance, and story-based dance, with orchestral accompaniment and solo performers. The Shen Yun website translates the phrase shen yun as “the beauty of divine beings dancing”.
Shen Yun was founded in 2006 by practitioners of the Falun Gong spiritual discipline, with the mission of reviving “the essence of 5000 years of Chinese culture,” which it states to have been nearly destroyed by the Chinese Communist Party government. Performances around the world are hosted by local Falun Dafa Associations
The group is composed of three performing arts companies: The New York Company, The Touring Company, and the International Company, with of a total of over 200 performers. For seven months a year, Shen Yun Performing Arts tours to over 130 cities across Europe, North America, Oceania, and Asia. Shen Yun’s shows have been staged in several leading theaters, including New York City’s Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, London’s Royal Festival Hall, Washington, D.C.’s Kennedy Center, Paris’ Le Palais de Congrès. The company has performed extensively in Taiwan, but has yet to perform in Mainland China or Hong Kong. The show’s acts and production staff are trained at Shen Yun’s headquarters in Cuddebackville, in Orange County, New York.’
I find it highly interesting that an outlawed mainland Chinese troupe is able to survive across the United States and is doing a good job using advertising to drive awareness and sales. I continue to wonder why more PRC (mainland Chinese companies), don’t advertise like Shen Yun. After all, while driving domestic Chinese consumption is seen to be critical to the future of the Chinese economy, selling goods and services outside of China appears to be increasingly important than ever to Chinese companies
Shen Yun can give a few lessons there but I doubt that Chinese companies will pay much attention for both political and non-political reasons.