「我們買美國」?

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1987 / 6月

文‧陳雅玲 圖‧鄭元慶


我國是美國的第三大貿易順差國,每年銷美的產品不計其數。在美國保護主義大張旗鼓、我國招來不少「白眼」之際,政府竟還在美國時代週刊上大做「廣告」!

 

不過這回推銷的,不是任何MIT的產品,而是中華民國的「形象」。


在今年四月廿七日出版的美國「時代週刊」上,赫然出現一則中華民國的廣告。標題是:We Buy American;畫面中央有一張面額為八十一億美元的台灣銀行支票,正塞入一個由星條旗刻成美國地圖形狀的撲滿中。

簡短的內文強調:中華民國把赴美採購視為一項政策,而不僅僅是友誼。過去八年在正常貿易之外,我們的採購團已購買了超過八十一億美元的美國產品。

這張「支票」果然觸動人心。

自廣告登出以來,新聞局駐紐約辦事處接到許多電話與信函。其中,一份國會議員常看的周報想拉廣告,幾家貿易公司希望知道台灣需要哪些美國產品,AT&T公司的市場調查員想索取一份我國歷年的採購清單,紐約與紐澤西州的州長更寫信表示對此行動的支持。

為商品做廣告司空見慣;國家也要做廣告嗎?

為什麼做廣告?

台灣奧美廣告公司創意總監賴彥安認為:「沒有問題的商品,不需要打廣告。」同理,沒有遭遇到「問題」的國家,也不需要做廣告。

過去我國面臨的問題是——別人不知道我們是誰。

先進國家沒有知名度的困擾,是因為國際新聞報導不斷;我們在新聞方面既然是被動的,又何不主動掌握另一種媒體的管道——廣告呢?

廣告的好處是:只要你有錢,就可以買時段、買版面;其次,它是一種大眾傳播,影響的人數比遊說、外交等「人對人」的方式來得多。此外,新聞是由別人的角度介紹;廣告則是由我們的立場發言,更能傳達我們所要強調的訊息。

好事不出門

因此,早在幾年前,負責國家宣傳的行政院新聞局就有心在國際性的雜誌上,刊登國家形象的廣告。籌劃工作一直在進行。

案子進行到去年初,美國保護主義的浪潮開始高漲,我國對美一年百億美元的鉅額順差,霎時成為貿易戰爭中最醒目的槍靶子。雖然在多次經貿談判忠國不斷開放市場、降低關稅,各種抱怨、報復的聲浪仍不斷襲來。

這些指責中,有的是事實,有的卻相當冤枉。例如今年四月「美國國會議員助理訪華團」前來拜訪我國紡織業外銷拓展會,一見面就責怪我國紡品進口關稅太高。事實上這一年多來,我們成衣關稅已由百分之六十降到百分之十五,現在比美國還低了。

此外,因提出「綜合貿易法案」蓋氏條款而聲望日隆的美國眾院議員蓋甫赫德,最近在美國對大眾媒體公佈了一份「不公平貿易黑名單」,也因為助理所蒐集的資料稍嫌過時,不知我國已第二度大幅降低關稅,而把我國列入其中。

我有話要說

「黑名單」打響了我國的知名度,卻仍透露出一個訊息——別人對我們的瞭解不夠,甚至因誤解而造成對彼此的傷害。蒙受了這許多「不白之冤」,要做國家形象廣告,就必須把火力集中在赴美採購、貿易平衡、開放市場、以及降低關稅等與中美貿易問題有關的四大主題上。

此外,由於一般美國民眾及工商對我國的印象,仍停留在「勞工密集、專門生產廉價民生用品的開發中國家」,新聞局便決定再針對「優良投資環境」、「高科技」二個主題做訴求。

「我們正努力建設一個現代中國」,於是成為廣告想傳遞的主要訊息。

此次義務為廣告作創意指導的廣告專家王念慈指出,其中想強調的是:中華民國是一個開發中國家,在努力成為一個「現代中國」的過程中,難免有缺失。目前我國的關稅或許還是偏高、市場也不夠開放,但我國正在努力改善。

策略擬定後,接下來就是廣告表現的問題了。如何表達才能不落俗套呢?

廣告是一門外來的學問。一般說來,我國廣告業還落後歐、美、日甚多。因此,大家理所當然都認為:要做那麼重要的國家形象廣告,當然要交給外國大廣告公司做。

然而廣告業有條鐵律:「要做出好廣告,必須先愛上你的產品。」那家外商公司會比自己人更愛這個「商品」——中華民國呢?

加上這次預算不多、特性難掌握……等原因,最後這個「燙手山芋」落回國人手上。

求人不如求己

王念慈接下了這個「山芋」。

她認為,國際事務不只是外交部、新聞局的工作,而是每個國民都可以參與的。因此,當新聞局打聽到她是國內最有名的創意人,而找上王家大門時,她不但一口答應幫忙,而且不拿任何酬勞。

「我太『貴』了,你們付不起的」,月入十萬元的王念慈這樣開玩笑,而真正的原因是——這樣才能「大聲說話」,充分發揮顧問的功能。

針對四大主題,顧問群開始構思六張廣告稿的創意。

新聞局外籍顧問賴大衛的想法很單純,既是要表現赴美「採購」,就畫一張支票。檸檬黃設計公司蘇宗雄看了草圖靈機一動,又把美國地圖加上去。第二張要表現貿易「平衡」,賴大衛就畫了一輛協力車,開發科技顧問公司副總經理吳葆之,又想到可用中、美二國的錢幣當輪子。

第三張要表現「台灣是優良投資環境」,賴大衛與吳葆之不約而同想到一句英諺:Money doesn't grow on trees.(錢不會長在樹上,意為要勤奮工作才會有收獲)——如果把這句話倒過來,不正說明企業在台灣技資的高投資報酬率嗎?

就這樣,這些臭皮匠的意見,竟湊成了諸葛亮的創意。

為了讓以王念慈為首的顧問群充分發揮創意,主辦的人員儘量不干預,讓他們放手去做。

擺平專家才困難

「客戶」沒問題,倒是這些顧問自己吵得兇,原因之一是——誰都認為自己最懂廣告、最懂美國。

就拿廣告文案來說,有人認為句子應遵照平常慣用的文法,有人認為要用「廣告文法」才足以強調語氣;有些地方甚至連要用句點,還是逗點,都會吵翻天。

吵歸吵,看到成果一天比一天具體,大家心裡卻是欣慰的。

顧問吵完了還不夠,他們又把六張廣告稿各影印了十餘份,分送給在台灣的外國人看,並請他們填寫問卷。大部分的人都看好赴美採購那張,認為訊息非常清楚,但對其他的卻無動於衷。

於是,這批英雄好漢又悻悻然回家去想新點子。

就這麼千錘百鍊,這套系列稿終於決定了它統一的表現形式:標題簡短有力,畫面以美國人較易接受的幽默插畫配上以實體拍攝的照片,結合抽象與寫實。

接下去是製作,這會兒輪到檸檬黃公司蘇宗雄大吐苦水。

「他們真是嚕嗦呀!我光是錢幣就拍了八次,一會兒嫌光線不對,一會兒嫌紋路不立體」,蘇宗雄抱怨了半天,最後卻蹦出一句話:「可是為了國家的形象,沒辦法啦!」

只是一個開始

就是這句「為了國家的形象」,他為了把錢幣拍得精光髮亮,跑到中央銀行換了一百個銅板,回來細細挑選。

最後漂亮的打樣出來了,轉瞬間,就公開在時代週刊上亮了相。

雖然各方好評不斷,但此次為廣告案給予許多市場方面意見的吳葆之認為:替國家打廣告很重要,但是要改變形象不那麼簡單,因為一次廣告的印象很快就會過去,一定要持續地做。

不過,顯然這是個不錯的開始!

〔圖片說明〕

P.101

許多美國人士,對中華民國的形象廣告印象深刻。(張良綱攝)

P.102

除了商品,我們開始向美國推銷中華民國的「形象」。

P.103

用協力車來表現「平衡」,這個概念既簡單,又清楚。

P.104

為了拍一扇中國式的朱門,檸檬黃公司踏遍台北,最後在忠烈祠找到。

P.105

來台投資,你的企業將變成「搖錢樹」。

相關文章

近期文章

EN

"We Buy American"

Elaine Chen /photos courtesy of Arthur Jeng /tr. by Phil Newell


It's not surprising to see ads in the U.S. for products "Made in Taiwan." But now, amidst rising protectionism in the U.S. and problems of diplomatic isolation worldwide, the government of the ROC has decided to "sell" something new: the ROC's image.

The ROC campaign began with the placing of an ad in this year's April 27th issue of Time magazine. The design of the ad showed a check from the Bank of Taiwan for the amount of US$8.1 billion being deposited into a piggy bank in the shape of the U.S. The point is to make clear that the ROC's special purchasing missions to the U.S. have been spending and spending big. The ad also stresses that it is the firm policy of the ROC, and not just an expression of friendship, to actively "Buy American."

After the ad first appeared, the New York office of the Government Information Office was inundated by phone calls and letters. Among the many were ones from a magazine boasting a large Congressional readership which wanted to run the ad, another from a trading company wanting to know what things the ROC was in the market for, and one from an AT&T market researcher who wanted a detailed list of purchases from years past. Also received were letters from the Governors of New York and New Jersey.

Why advertise? Because, like any product on the market which suffers from lack of name recognition and is therefore neglected, the ROC needed to put both its name and its policies in the public eye.

While other, big countries are the subject of endless news reporting, Taiwan is forced to seek access to the media in some other way--so why not advertising? At least in advertising, unlike news reporting, one can get out the information that he wants to get out. Besides, it reaches a much larger audience than the usual "person to person" diplomacy, and all you need to participate is money.

All this is important because, since the beginning of last year, protectionism has been on the rise in the U.S., and the ROC's US$10-billion-a-year trade surplus makes a convenient target for retaliation. For example, Taiwan has already appeared on a so-called "unfair traders blacklist," widely disseminated in the U.S. by Representative Gephardt, who is making protectionist trade legislation the centerpiece of a presidential bid.

In fact, the ROC has continually agreed in bilateral negotiations to further open its markets and reduce tariffs. Yet misunderstanding persists. A delegation of U.S. Congressional legislative aides accused Taiwan of maintaining unfairly high tariffs on textile products, when in fact tariffs on ready-made clothes have fallen from sixty to fifteen percent in the last year--a figure lower than the U.S.

After deciding to use advertising to help improve the ROC's image, it was next necessary to settle on a theme for the campaign. Several important points about Taiwan's efforts to increase U.S. imports, lower tariffs, open markets, and improve the investment climate were considered. The overriding central theme was to be: Regardless of current problems, the ROC is committed to improving the Sino-American trading relationship.

Taiwan's most creative advertising specialist, Nancy Wang, was called in to head the project. She felt that special emphasis had to be placed on the fact that the ROC is a developing country, and that in the process of building a modern China, there are bound to be some shortcomings.

It is perhaps strange that, in view of the greater experience of foreign advertising firms, the ROC should have given the project to domestic experts. But it was important that the advertising team be committed to and believe in the project.

The project drew on the talents of many. Nancy Wang agreed to lend her talents without compensation, and was the creative leader. David Lightle, a foreign adviser to the Government Information Office, Su Tsung-hung of the Lemon Yellow Design Company of Taipei, and Pochi Wu, executive vice president of China Venture Management Inc. all made important contributions, too.

There were also naturally some disputes over questions of style and form. After much deliberation, the team finally narrowed down the number of acceptable drafts to six. These were then copied and circulated among Taiwan's foreign community. The ad featuring the ROC's buying missions to the U.S. got the most enthusiastic response.

After reworking the basic concepts over and over, it was decided to make the ads brief and direct, but vivid enough to try to bring to life and express in concrete terms the otherwise abstract policies set by the ROC to improve bilateral trade. The work was often exasperating. But as Su Tsung-hung mused, "For the sake of the country's image, there is no other way ."

And then, suddenly, there was the finished product in Time for all to see.

Although the ad got good reviews, improving a country's image takes a lot more than just attractive advertising. As Pochi Wu correctly pointed out, the impact of only a single ad in the U.S. is fleeting. To have a lasting impact on American opinion, it is necessary to persist in the campaign. Nevertheless, from the positive feedback generated from this first ad, it seems that the campaign is off to a good start. And in making an image for oneself, it's often the first impression that makes the difference between failure and success.

[Picture Caption]

The ROC advertisements have left many Americans impressed. (photo by Vincent Chang)

There's now something new being promoted in the U.S.: The image of the R .O.C.

This ad expresses the ROC's commitment to a mutually beneficial trade relationship.

The Lemon Yellow Company looked all over Taipei to find just the right Chinese-style door, and finally found it at the Martyrs' Shrine.

Invest in Taiwan and you may find that money really can grow on trees!

 

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