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Taiwan promotional videos

The Taiwan Government Information Office has just released a new video to promote Taiwan's bid for entry to the UN. The Taipei Times reports:

The Government Information Office (GIO) yesterday unveiled ads for print and TV designed to promote the nation's latest application to join the UN.

The office's TV commercial shows a whale that is kept in a fish bowl, from which it is trying to escape.

The commercial communicates a message to the UN to "stop isolating Taiwan," Cabinet Spokesman Shieh Jhy-wey (謝志偉) said.

I find the image of a whale in a fish bowl a little strange and the ad unconvincing. An article at the GIO website quotes Minister Shieh as saying,  "the ad seeks to convey a message that an energetic whale like Taiwan should be cruising freely with its own kind rather than be shackled in a tiny fish bowl." While there is no doubt that Taiwan should be able join the United Nations and that the majority of Taiwanese favour this, I don't know how this ad is going to change the status quo.

Update: Michael Turton has another UN for Taiwan logo. This one is inspired by baseball. 

The GIO also recently produced three videos in cooperation with the National Geographic Channel. The videos are based on the theme "Taiwan Inspiring".  The three videos are titled "Inspiring Innovation," "Inspiring Lifestyles," and "Inspiring People". The GIO states the videos "focus on areas that make Taiwan stand out from the crowd: technology, modern living, and the humanitarian spirit and work of its people."

Taiwan Inspiring Innovation includes images of Taipei 101, the Beitou Library and the high speed rail. This is probably one area where Taiwan really does inspire, but I don't think it sufficiently emphasized that Taiwan is one of the world's key centres for manufacturing of computers and other hi-tech products. While the government may not want to be seen to favour any particular company, people identify with brands. Including a few of Taiwan's famous brands like Giant bicycles, Acer or Benq might have enhanced the connections in people's minds with Taiwan. 

Taiwan Inspiring Lifestyles features a number of scenes including Taipei 101 and the 101 Mall, the high speed railway, Kaohsiung's Love River and a 24 hour bookstore. I don't think this very accurately this depicts the average Taiwanese person's lifestyle. I think a motorbike, local market, a temple and perhaps a 7-11 might be more typical of Taiwan.  

Taiwan Inspiring People features ultra-marathon runner Kevin Lin (林義傑). There is no denying Kevin's wonderful achievements, but people are not instantly going to connect running across the Sahara Desert with Taiwan. 

You can also see the three National Geographic videos in English and Mandarin at the GIO website. They are being screened on the National Geographic Channel.

File next to:
UN membership for Taiwan
Taiwan travel videos on YouTube
Links 20 August 2007
Urban Nomad: a great cinematic experience
Xinzhuang temple parade video

Mandarin Chinese iPod phrasebook


Comment from Tim Maddog
Time August 18, 2007 at 10:38 pm

David, I think this is an awesome promotional video. The whale representing both the shape of Taiwan and its marine surroundings and the fishbowl representing the isolation are striking. Plus, it’s got great visual appeal, the sounds accompanying the whale’s three bumps into the glass, the music, and the whale’s wistful cry at the end could tell the story by themselves, and the words at the end tell the story more succinctly than a wordy person like myself ever could. ;-)

Tim Maddog

Pingback from David on Formosa » UN membership for Taiwan
Time October 17, 2007 at 10:04 am

[...] was earlier somewhat critical of the whale in the fishbowl video and the UN campaign. While I still don't think much of the video, I think the campaign has been [...]