Olay PK Ad

I think this is going to be one of Shanghai’s shortest springs ever; we’re practically going straight from winter to summer. And advertisers know it; I saw this ad for skin whitening cream on the Metro the other day:

Olay Whitening

What struck me about this ad was not the amount of English, but rather the diversity of its usage in the ad:

  1. Olay: a famous brand name, untranslated. (This is kind of a ballsy move in China, but some companies do it.)

  2. White Radiance: the product’s English name. This is probably mostly for aesthetic effect and symmetry of design.

  3. 小S: a name. Yes, her Chinese name is S. It might not be her real name, but it’s her name.

  4. VS: a term used pretty often in Chinese, appreciated for its simplicity and compact nature. (In Chinese, you spell it out: V-S.)

  5. PK: a Chinese verb (derived from “player kill”) popular among the young internet-savvy folk, referring to some type of elimination competition.

The less interesting part is the actual content of the ad. It’s trying to get people to go to a website and vote for the star they think is whiter. Ugh.

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