China is on the verge of opening the Shanghai World Expo, with queues of visitors streaming through venues to test capacity and perfect the event for it launch; however, as the sites prep for an onslaught of traffic, the marketing team finds itself in growing battles over copyright complaints against the Expo’s two main promotional tools: the Shanghai Expo song “2010, Waiting for You” and the Shanghai Expo mascot Haibao.
In the past few weeks, Expo officials have pulled the promotional song “2010, Waiting for You,” which features Jackie Chan, Andy Lau and other famous Chinese movie and pop stars in its promotions. The reason it was pulled was because it has been compared to Japanese pop song Mayo Okamoto’s 1997 ballad, “Stay the Way You Are.” Some music professionals have described the tunes as 97% identical. It’s a shame that they couldn’t have discovered this earlier – I guess it pays not to procrastinate…
LESSON LEARNED: Don’t wait until the last moment to choose your flagship song if you are throwing a world expo in one of your cities.
Oh wait! The song was picked 6 years ago? I guess the panel of wise guys should have consulted the public who could have mentioned SOMETHING about the song being unoriginal-hack work then, saving a great deal of face and money.
Oh wait! When the song was picked in 2004, it was selected from entries and chosen based on popular selection by the people of China who cared to voice their opinion on such matters.
Which just goes to show: if you think those magazine and online polls don’t make any influence, you could do your country a great favor by spending 30 seconds and clicking a radio button and ‘submit’. Or with the proper marketing force you can sway the vote towards the obvious hack-work, if you were so inclined to be against something a innocent and good as the Shanghai World Expo. Again – I’m not saying YOU SHOULD; I’m just saying YOU COULD.
Then, as the Expo’s opening week rolled on in, we started to hear other cries of misdeeds concerning the mascot Haibao, because all of a sudden people seemed to think it looks like GUMBY: popular claymation stick figure, played by Eddie Murphy in the Saturday Night Live live-action recreations. Now – WHY might someone think Haibao looks like Gumby??? Well, because Haibao IS Blue Gumby: and though my Mandarin class is on hiatus at the moment, I’m sure my 老师, Serena, would confirm that I’m correct in my assumption.
I first went to Shanghai in August of last year, where I took a photo of Haibao and made the post titles HAIBAO IS BLUE GUMBY. No one was up in arms about that one? Nor was anyone all that upset when, after going to Singapore and taking a Snowman photo at the airport, I posted the blog entry Snowman and Blue Gumby.
What I’m saying, China, is that you should really keep someone like me on retainer so that you can run these ideas by someone with world experience, before you go and embarrass yourself.
Other Chinese Rip-Offs I could have alerted you to:
- The Fuwa mascots for 2008 Beijing Olympics are Mogwai‘s stolen from the movie GREMLINS.
- The whole thing about a large, nationalistic population, terrified of outside influnce and content to never leave the confines of their national boundaries is copied from USA
- The Shanghai Expo is a direct rip-off of the World’s Fair, or the more popular Stark Expo; which is itself a knock-off of Disney’s Epcot Future World
- The 2008 Beijing Olympics was an flagrant copy of the 2004 and 2000 summer games; however, 1996 was slightly different – as it had a bomb go off at the Olympic village
Listen to the video below with headphones: you can hear the Shanghai Expo song in one ear and the Japanese song in the other.
FYI – Haibao is not Towlie, contrary to what the photograph below might lead you to believe. That’s a bit of a stretch; however, if you go to the Shanghai Expo – don’t forget to bring a towel…