Case 13-1 “Advertising, Public Relations and the 2008 Beijing Olympics”

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Assignment #4:  Case 13-1 “Advertising, Public Relations and the 2008 Beijing Olympics” International Marketing

Analyze the reasons why the Chinese government hired a Western public relations firm to work on the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Over the past three decades or so, the body of knowledge of public relations has grown significantly and public relations continue to evolve as a strong discipline (Sriramesh and Vercic, 2001). It is important to note that public relations are not marketing but good relations with the public are essential to marketing success. In one sense, public relations can be considered in a similar vein as the marketing of a product. Products can only enjoy continued success if its performance is satisfactory, as the image of the product cannot be maintained if product performance is inconsistent. Similarly public relations cannot be more effective than the corporate behavior behind it. Public relations involves more than corporate communications, it requires appropriate corporate behavior.

China had experienced bad publicity ahead of the Olympics where; Beijing's image was seriously battered by widely publicized protests especially in London, Paris and San Francisco, disrupting the Beijing Olympic torch relay. Also, Chinese embassies and consulates in several cities were also damaged because of protests by pro-Tibet groups and others capitalizing on the publicity of summer Games. Therefore, China decided that it would be a better idea to hire foreign Public Relation firms to handle the publicity issues of the games. “Several British and US agencies were invited to interviews with Chinese officials to discuss a contract, which includes pre-games PR strategies, media training and market research on western perceptions of China” (AFP, 2008). Finally China decided to hire US Weber Shandwick and British Bell Pottinger as the major PR firms of the 2008 Beijing games. The Chinese government hired these world’s best PR firms to advise...
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