Ad barrage by China coincides with Hu visit

I must have missed it when the China ad account went up for a review. The pluses: an enormous client that's on its way to dominating its category. The minuses: the client has historically been quite demanding. China's State Council Information Office tapped Shanghai Lintas to buff up its image. Lintas is taking a pretty old-fashioned approach in an ad campaign that coincides with Premier Hu Jintao's visit to Washington to meet with President Obama: It hired a famous director (Beijing Olympics opening ceremonies coordinator Gao Xiaolong), got a bunch of celebs and bought out a bunch of Times Square ad space. Chinese celebrities including Yao Ming and Baidu founder Robin Li (along with regular citizens) are featured in a video that trumpets China's increasing mark in everything from the arts, sports, fashion, design and even bravery. (No, dissident and Nobel Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo didn't get the call.) The video ends with the faces of many regular Chinese under the banner of "Chinese Friendship." The Wall Street Journal reports that the ad will run 300 times a day on six screens in Times Square for the next month. It's too bad China didn't go bigger and buy out big commercial blocks during the Super Bowl. That would really get the message across that this century is fated to be dominated by the Chinese.