Advertising in China and Hong Kong:“The Governor is Delicious!”
A retired Chinese advertising executive, formerly based at a State-owned ad agency in China’s northeast, told me about his first business trip out of the mainland proper, to Hong Kong. This was the early 1980s, when overseas business travel was rare for Chinese executives.
He was full of curiosity and enthusiasm. Hong Kong was then a British Colony.
Arriving in Hong Kong’s old Kai Tak airport, he was met by local colleagues.
On the drive from the airport, he was shocked at what seemed to be a rude display of public disrespect for Hong Kong’s then British colonial governor.
He saw a huge sign painted on the side of a building next to the road, which proclaimed in large Chinese characters “The Governor is Delicious.”
How could people here write such insulting things about their top leader and then post them so boldly on a wall ? he wondered aloud.
His local colleagues explained that what he’d seen was the slogan on a billboard ad for Viceroy cigarettes.
The English version of the slogan was : “Viceroy tastes good, like a cigarette should.”
In Chinese, the word “cigarette” was omitted. It simply said the equivalent of “The Viceroy is delicious.” The word for viceroy and governor is the same.
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