Chinglish ploy does not offend

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 17 March, 1993, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 17 March, 1993, 12:00am

A MELBOURNE real estate agent, who used Charlie Chan-style ''Chinglish'' to advertise a Chinese restaurant in the hope of attracting a Chinese buyer, said the ploy has worked without offending anyone.

Mr Barry Thompson, who is selling the Garden City Chinese restaurant in the eastern suburb of Boronia, said: ''We did consider that it might be offensive, so we bounced it off a number of Asians and they thought it would be taken in good spirit.'' The restaurant is owned by an Australian but leased to a Chinese restaurateur until 2003.

The single column advertisement proclaims: ''Confucius say, 'Man who buy Garden City Chinese Restaurant at 703 Boronia Road, Boronia, get more than empty fortune cookie; he get about 12 per cent return, solid investment with 15-year lease, excellent investment and good chance of table for Sunday yum cha'. '' It was devised by Mr Thompson's marketing consultant.

He said its warning that: ''Chop! Chop! Investment like this go quicker than you can say egg foo yung'', has been taken to heart by potential investors. The advertisement brought 15 inquiries in two days.

''We said that Charlie Chan characters laughed at their own culture, so perhaps we could take a line like that,'' Mr Thompson said.

''A couple of people thought it was a little corny but others thought it was attention-grabbing.

''We could have spent the same money on a standard advertisement and received 25 per cent of the response so I guess it worked and that's the aim of advertising, isn't it?'' The vendor was asking for $A750,000 (HK$4.1 million) and Mr Thompson said he was negotiating with three serious buyers and would get close to that.

''We had a bit of fun with it and were hoping to attract an Asian buyer, or at least to attract potential investors' attention and it has done that.''