cover image Billions: Selling to the New Chinese Consumer

Billions: Selling to the New Chinese Consumer

Tom Doctoroff, . . Palgrave Macmillan, $27.95 (225pp) ISBN 978-1-4039-7169-2

Narrower than the title suggests, this book covers only the branding of consumer items through print and television campaigns. There's no discussion of marketing, pricing, distribution or product design, nor media other than print and television, nor niche or wholesale sales. Doctoroff, who worked in China for 11 years with JWT, one of the region's largest advertising firms, believes that "quantitative research... is incapable of unearthing... an epiphany that elucidates buying behavior" and that "data are coldly empirical" while "insights... are alive." Most of his book, therefore, consists of "insights": qualitative impressions of mass campaigns, mostly by multinational companies selling consumer goods. Doctoroff's analysis of these ad campaigns focuses not on their immediate sales benefit but on their contribution to a valuable brand image. Along the way, he dispenses anecdotes and advice on such topics as how to choose a name that works well in China and how to deal with government censors. This unfocused approach reduces the book's value as a how-to manual, but it does make it easy to read. This is a painless way to pick up the benefit of the author's long experience, along with many stimulating facts. (Jan.)