Jet Li, an internationally acclaimed actor and martial artist, recently disclosed the secrets behind his Kungfu mastery: milk.
An ad on a subway billboard in Beijing reads:
“I love milk! Milk – the secrets of my Kungfu!”
Such images are now sweeping through China’s major cities. In the ads, Jet Li holds a carton of Tetra Pak milk with a reverent gesture – one that Buddhists make to pay homage to the Buddha. What a marriage between the cruel milk industry and the compassionate Buddhist Kungfu master.
The mass advertising campaign “I Love Milk” is sponsored by Tetra Pak and the China Health Promotion Foundation. Tetra Pak, known as “Li Le” (literally meaning “good for happiness”) in China, is a multinational food processing and packaging company of Swedish origin. It entered China in 1972 and has been dominating the country’s liquid food packaging industry ever since. In 2008, it partnered with Jet Li’s One Foundation and donated milk worth of RMB 20 million (approx. USD 2.94 million) to people in earthquake-stricken Sichuan.
The advertising campaign was launched in August, 2009. Chinese media outlets describe it as an ambitious act to revive the plunging milk industry since the melamine-in-milk scandal in 2008. The company is credited for being concerned about the health of Chinese customers. Besides the Jet Li ad, Tetra Pak has also released a series of ads targeting different populations:
“I Love Milk!”
“Mom tells me to drink milk as often…often…often… as possible!”
“I Love Milk!”
“Milk supplements calcium and a happy mood!”
Such ads are broadcasted on over 80% of China’s TV channels and appear in newspapers and on the internet, as well as on billboard, subway and bus stop ads.
Complementary to the advertising campaign, Tetra Pak has also launched a mass promotional event in over 300 supermarkets across China. Customers who purchase a case of milk (usually contains 12-24 cartons) will get a coupon worth of 2 yuan (approximately 40 cents; the price of a carton of milk in China) that can be used towards the next purchase. The promotion is well-received among Chinese consumers and is described as a “big surprise”.
Celebrities (and on top of that Buddhist celebrities) and public health institutions alike have jumped on China’s milk industry bandwagon. But no one seems to be asking just where that wagon goes…
Photo Courtesy of Damien Farrell