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10 Popular Chinese Advertisement Slogans

The right tagline or advertising slogan is crucial for a brand’s identity. Due to the nature of Chinese language, ad slogans in China are often multi-layered and effective marketing tools. What’s on Weibo gives an overview of ten clever and popular Chinese (translated) marketing slogans.

Manya Koetse

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The right tagline or advertising slogan is crucial for a brand’s identity. Due to the nature of Chinese language, ad slogans in China are often multi-layered and effective marketing tools. What’s on Weibo gives an overview of ten clever and popular Chinese (translated) marketing slogans.

According to the 1958 bookCreative Advertising” by Charles Whittier, “a slogan should be a statement of such merit about a product or service that is worthy of continuous repetitive advertising; is worthwhile for the public to remember; and is phrased in such a way that the public is likely to remember it”. The right slogan is vital for a brand, no matter in what language or culture.

In Chinese marketing slogans have a double layer due to the nature of Chinese language, where not only the right sound, but also the right character matters. It makes slogans and catchphrases extra effective marketing tools.

For international brands taking on the Chinese market, translating their English slogan into Chinese is not just a matter of translation – it is a whole different ballgame that calls for a good copywriter. When companies are not serious about multicultural copywriting, their slogans will end up lost in translation.

Pepsi and KFC previously made blunders in China when Pepsi’s “Come alive with the Pepsi generation” tagline was translated into “Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the grave”, and when KFC’s “Finger-lickin’ good” became “Eat your fingers off” (Business2community, Business News Daily). As marketing expert Rachel Chilson writes, the very nature of slogans makes them challenging to translate, especially because slogans are very creative, and often play on cultural idioms and puns.

Here is an overview of Chinese slogans, of both Chinese brands (the first 6) and international brands, that have done it right in China.

 

#1 “Reaching out from the heart
“沟通从心开始” Gōutōng cóng xīn kāishǐ (China Mobile)

China Mobile is China’s leading mobile service provider. Their Chinese slogan ‘沟通从心开始’ literally translates as ‘Connecting starts from the heart’, and is officially translated as ‘reaching out from the heart’, personalizing the brand. This brand message is similar to that of Nokia, that ‘connects people’.

nokia

 

#2 “Anytime, anywhere, share what’s happening around you
“随时随地分享身边的新鲜事儿” Suíshí suídì fēnxiǎng shēnbiān de xīnxiān shì er (Sina Weibo)

With 13 characters, Weibo’s tagline is not very short, but it is very clear and straightforward that literally tells people: “No matter what time, no matter what place, share the fresh things around you.” It emphasizes that China’s biggest social platform Sina Weibo is all about sharing new content and being mobile.

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#3 “Baidu it, then you know
“百度一下,你就知道” Bǎidù yīxià, nǐ jiù zhīdào (Baidu)

With this slogan, Baidu, China’s largest search engine and browser, puts itself next to its western counterpart Google by making ‘Baidu it’ (Bǎidù yīxià) almost like a verb, just as to Google something has become a verb.

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#4 “The whole world is watching
“世界都在看” Shìjiè dōu zài kàn (Youku)

There are quite some Chinese brands that have ‘China’s best…’ or ‘China’s first…’ in their slogans, but China’s leading video platform Youku takes it to the next level: it is not just that China is watching Youku, the whole world is!

youku

 

#5 “A man’s world
“男人的世界” Nánrén de shìjiè (Goldlion 金利来)

Chinese men’s wear brand Goldlion has used the same slogan ever since the company started in 1970s. It’s a simple and short tagline, that basically states that Goldline is all about what men need.

goldlion

 

#6 “Let the world connect
“让世界一起联想” Ràng shìjiè yīqǐ liánxiǎng (Lenovo 联想)

The Chinese multinational Lenovo is actually called ‘Liánxiǎng’ (联想) in Chinese, which means ‘to associate’ or ‘to connect in one’s mind’. The slogan “let the world connect” in Chinese has a double meaning, as it also says “let the world Lenovo”. In English, Lenovo has two well-known slogans, of which one is “For those who do” and the other one is “New World. New Thinking”.

lenovo-hq

 

#7 “I’m Loving It
“我就喜欢” Wǒ jiù xǐhuān (McDonald’s)

The worldwide English slogan of McDonald’s roughly translates to ‘I just like it’ (wǒ jiù xǐhuān) in Chinese. According to some critics, this is not a proper translation, as the ‘just’ (就) could be seen as having a negative sound, as if someone just accused you of eating garbage, and then responding: “But I just like it”, or: I like it no matter what you say!

imgres-2

 

#8 “Because You’re Worth It
“你值得拥有” Nǐ zhídé yǒngyǒu (L’Oréal)

The famous tagline of beauty brand L’Oréal ‘because you’re worth it’ literally translates as ‘you deserve to have it’ in Chinese. The slogan has become famous in China, where the sentence even has its own Baidu ‘wiki’ page.

dewy glow dps 120810

 

#9 “Maybe she’s born with it, Maybe it’s Maybelline
“美来自内心,美来自美宝莲” Měi láizì nèixīn, měi láizì Měibǎolián (Maybelline)

The American Maybelline cosmetics have a smart slogan translation in Chinese, where their tagline has multiple layers in meaning. Literally it translates as “Beauty comes from within, beauty comes from Maybelline”, but what makes it so appealing is that the word/character for ‘beauty’ (美) is repeated three times. The Chinese translation for ‘Maybelline’ is the three- character-word ‘美宝莲’ (Měi-bǎo-lián, ‘beauty’-‘treasure’-‘lotus’). In the tagline it thus says that “beauty comes from within, beauty comes from ‘beauty-treasure-lotus'”. What makes it extra smart is that the character for beauty is also that of the ‘United States’ (美国 Měiguó) – where the Maybelline brand comes from, and that it sounds similar to the ‘May’ of the English ‘Maybe’.

Maybelline

 

#10 “Have It Your Way
“我选我味” Wǒ xuǎn wǒ wèi (Burger King)

Wǒ xuǎn wǒ wèi brilliantly translates ‘have it your way’ as ‘I choose my taste’. The translation sounds good in Chinese for multiple reasons. Firstly, it has four characters, corresponding to the four words in the English. Second, the ‘wèi’ in ‘I choose my taste’ actually means ‘taste’, but in sound and pronunciation corresponds to ‘way’ in English. Lastly, it has a repetition of ‘I’ in the Chinese 味 (literally “I choose I taste”), that is playful and emphasises the idea that it’s all about what you want at Burger King.

BurgerKing


Translation of Chinese-to-English slogans are author’s own.

Want to add another slogan? Leave a comment or tweet it to @whatsonweibo.

– By Manya Koetse

©2016 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

Manya Koetse is the editor-in-chief of www.whatsonweibo.com. She is a writer and consultant (Sinologist, MPhil) on social trends in China, with a focus on social media and digital developments, popular culture, and gender issues. Contact at manya@whatsonweibo.com, or follow on Twitter.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Avatar

    Diandian GUO

    March 29, 2016 at 9:12 am

    I like the translated name of Midea: Mei Di (美的). It is so smart to use the polyphony here. ‘的’ when pronounced “di” correspond to /dea/. But when read in character, “的” is more commonly read as “de”, then the name means “beautiful”.
    Another slogan I used to like was one for Panpan security doors. They will have a small panda holding a key (or something the like), beside which is the slogan: Panpan comes home, a safe house and a smooth career. (盼盼到家,安居乐业)
    Translating iPhone as AiFeng (爱疯,unofficial)is simply scandalous…

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China Celebs

Chinese Comedian Li Dan under Fire for Promoting Lingerie Brand with Sexist Slogan

Underwear so good that it can “help women lie to win in the workplace”? Sexist and offensive, according to many Weibo users.

Manya Koetse

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Popular talk show host and comedian Li Dan (李诞) has sparked controversy on Chinese social media this week for a statement he made while promoting female underwear brand Ubras.

The statement was “让女性轻松躺赢职场”, which loosely translates to “make it easy for women to win in the workplace lying down” or “make women win over the workplace without doing anything,” a slogan with which Li Dan seemed to imply that women could use their body and sex to their advantage at work. According to the underwear brand, the idea allegedly was to convey how comfortable their bras are. (The full sentence being “一个让女性躺赢职场的装备”: “equipment that can help women lie to win in the workplace”).

Li Dan immediately triggered anger among Chinese netizens after the controversial content was posted on his Weibo page on February 24. Not only did many people feel that it was inappropriate for a male celebrity to promote female underwear, they also took offense at the statement. What do lingerie and workplace success have to do with each other at all, many people wondered. Others also thought the wording was ambiguous on purpose, and was still meant in a sexist way.

Various state media outlets covered the incident, including the English-language Global Times.

By now, the Ubras underwear brand has issued an apology on Weibo for the “inappropriate wording” in their promotion campaign, and all related content has been removed.

The brand still suggested that the slogan was not meant in a sexist way, writing: “Ubras is a women’s team-oriented brand. We’ve always stressed ‘comfort and wearability as the essence of [our] lingerie, and we’re committed to providing women with close-fitting clothing solutions that are unrestrained and more comfortable so that more women can deal with fatigue in their life and work with a more relaxed state of mind and body.”

Li Dan also wrote an apology on Weibo on February 25, saying his statement was inappropriate. Li Dan has over 9 million followers on his Weibo account.

The objectification of women by brands and media has been getting more attention on Chinese social media lately. Earlier this month, the Spring Festival Gala was criticized for including jokes and sketches that were deemed insensitive to women. Last month, an ad by Purcotton also sparked controversy for showing a woman wiping away her makeup to scare off a male stalker, with many finding the ad sexist and hurtful to women.

 
By Manya Koetse
with contributions by Miranda Barnes

Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us. First-time commenters, please be patient – we will have to manually approve your comment before it appears.

©2021 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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China Marketing & Advertising

Hard Measures for Durex in China after “Vulgar” Ads

One Durex sex toy ad gave off the wrong vibrations to Chinese regulators.

Manya Koetse

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As if it wasn’t already bad enough that fewer people are having sex during COVID19 lockdowns, leading to a decline in condom sales, condoms & sex toys brand Durex is now also (again) punished for the “vulgar” contents of its advertisements in China.

News of Durex facing penalties in China became top trending on Thursday, with one Weibo hashtag page about the matter receiving over 1,2 billion views.

Durex has over three million fans on its official Weibo account (@杜蕾斯官方微博), which is known for its creative and sometimes bold posts, including spicy word jokes. Durex opened its official Weibo account in 2010.

A post by Durex published on Wednesday about the release of Apple’s super speedy new 5G iPhone, for example, just said: “5G is very fast, but you can take it slow,” adding: “Some things just can’t be quick.” The post received over 900,000 likes.

Other ads have also received much praise from Chinese netizens. One ad’s slogan just shows a condom package, saying “Becoming a father or [image of condom] – it’s all a sign of taking responsibility.”

According to various Chinese news outlets, Durex has been penalized with a 810,000 yuan ($120,400) fine for failing to adhere to China’s official advertisement guidelines, although it is not entirely clear to us at this point which fine was given for which advertisement, since the company received multiple fines for different ads over the past few years.

One fine was given to Durex Manufacturer RB & Manon Business (Shanghai) for content that was posted on e-commerce site Tmall, Global Times reports.

According to the state media outlet, “the ad used erotic words to describe in detail multiple ways to use a Durex vibrator.” The fine was already given out in July of this year, but did not make headlines until now.

(Image for reference only, not the ad in question).

In another 2019 case, the condom brand did a joint social media campaign cooperation with Chinese milk tea brand HeyTea, using the tagline “Tonight, not a drop left,” suggesting a connection between HeyTea’s creamy topping and semen.

According to China’s Advertisement Examination System (广告审查制度), there are quite some no-goes when it comes to advertising in China. Among many other things, ads are not allowed to be deceptive in any way, they cannot use superlatives, nor display any obscene, scary, violent or superstitious content.

Chinese regulators are serious about these rules. In 2015, P&G’s Crest was fined $963,000 for “false advertising”, at it promised that Crest would make your teeth whiter in “just one day.”

However, advertisement censorship can be a grey area. Any ads that “disturb public order” or “violate good customs,” for example, are also not allowed. For companies, it is not always clear when they are actually crossing a line.

On Weibo, there are also contrasting opinions on this matter. Many people, however, support Durex and enjoy their exciting ads and slogans. With the case dominating the top trending charts and discussions on social media the entire day, the latest penalty may very well be one of Durex’s most successful marketing campaigns in China thus far.

By Manya Koetse

Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us. First-time commenters, please be patient – we will have to manually approve your comment before it appears.

©2020 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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