Beer ad debate fizzes as Stone blocks out Chinese

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 07 March, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 07 March, 2000, 12:00am
 

TV stations are screening a multimillion-dollar series of beer adverts made for Hong Kong consumers by US director Oliver Stone that barely features a Chinese face.


The second of the three-advert series, filmed in California to boost Heineken's share of the Hong Kong market, went out last night.


But while San Miguel uses Chinese celebrities to sell its brand here, there was only one Chinese face visible among a sea of Western faces in Stone's advertisement.


The 30-second advert, shot in Los Angeles, features two women gossiping in a crowded pub with the attempt of two men to eavesdrop disturbed by the bartender's noisy blender machine.


A Chinese-looking woman appears for only half a second.


In the opening segment, a group of Asians is seen for a split second before the camera pans across the predominantly Western bar.


Miranda Cheung Po-wan, assistant marketing manager of Heineken Hong Kong, which commissioned the project, said: 'We are targeting young, trendy Chinese, between 18 and 39.


'Having foreigners on the commercial won't stop them from drinking Heineken. In fact, it could enhance our international image.


'Besides, if it shows local people, it could reflect too localised an image.' Heineken is refusing to disclose how much Stone - director of Platoon and Natural Born Killers - was paid for directing his first commercials. 'We paid a reasonable rate for a commercial director,' Ms Cheung said.


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