Thursday, 24 March 2011

Another Word for Luxury

Looking for a way into the elite circle

What's wrong with aspiring to have a luxurious lifestyle?
For the Beijing government, the mere promotion of glamour and wealth makes it shudder.
Many of the billboard advertisers in the Chinese capital are real estate developers, golf clubs, sports cars and high-end alcoholic drinks using a string of adjectives and descriptions to evoke images of being rich and having an elite status.
A lot of them also have Chinglish in their copywriting which undermines their lofty intentions, but now the Beijing Administration for Industry and Commerce wants the words "luxury", "royal", "supreme" and "high class" taken out of billboards by April 15 or face a 30,000 RMB fine.

It feels these kinds of billboards are ostentatious and a stark reminder of the growing gap between the rich and the poor. The administration added these advertisements created a politically "unhealthy" climate.

Last year the central government recorded the average income in the city is three times that of someone in the countryside.

What's also interesting is that the government body said the advertisements should not encourage Chinese to aspire to a "foreign" lifestyle, as many of the wealthy drive foreign brand-name cars, wear European designer labels and drink French wines, preferably Bordeaux first growths.

So what is a "Chinese" lifestyle then? After the Cultural Revolution, those who grew up in that tumultous period only want what they felt they were deprived of. And now that a privileged few have the means, of course they want to be seen having it all. And the easiest way to demonstrate that is to have a "foreign" lifestyle.

Until corrupt officials and the rich are seen spending their money on domestic products, no one is going to aim for a "Chinese lifestyle".
In the meantime billboard copywriters will surely find other ways to describe luxury -- just consult the thesaurus...

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