Exploring the effectiveness of JDB Group’s “We Are Sorry” Online Campaign
To list the top five remarkable Chinese public relations cases in 2013, it must include the “We are Sorry” tweet on Sina Weibo from JDB Company. JDB Beverage Co., Ltd, is a Chinese herb tea company producing and selling canned drinks in China. JDB’s competitor Wanglaoji is a company producing tea drink made with mints and herbs, which dates back in 1800s. Herb tea is a kind of tea drinks conducive to good health, which is a Chinese traditional cultural heritage. JDB was originally a company belongs to Wanglaoji Company and it is reported that the Wanglaoji Group and JDB have been disputing for the trademark for more than ten years. During the May 2012, JDB Group has finally lost the case and must pay a total of 10.81 million CNY to Wanglaoji Company and stop using their slogans. (China Daily, 2012)
However, between two firms, Jiaduobao’s red canned version has been more popular than the Wanglaoji’s green paper box version. Indubitably, Jiaduobao, the company which lost the case has been owned a larger market share. It is been reported that Jiaduobao was the top seller of canned drinks in China for the fifth year in a row, ahead of Coca Cola, and held 73% of the China’s herbal tea industry and their competitor, the WangLaoJi Group held only 9% among the market.(Kuo,2014)
In spite of losing the case, JDB Group has obtained the exclusive naming rights for famous TV show“The Voice of China”with 200 million CNY (China Beverage News, 2012) and spent 86 million yuan for the first unit of 10-second ad space at the prime time on CCTV to build up its brand reputation and consolidate its brand image all around China. Without being outdone, Wanglaoji Company also has taken a set of public relations campaigns to seize the market. This competition has been regarded as China’s version of Coca-cola vs. Pepsi in 2012 to 2013.
The competition turned to be white hot due to the JDB Group has posted four 'We Are Sorry' tweets with strong ironic tones and eye-catching pictures on Weibo. According to the Zhou’s report on Successful media marketing in China, each picture has a crying baby with a sentence telling its 'fault', while implies their advantages contrast their competitor implicitly as well. Data ( Zhou,2014) shows that the series of images has successfully gained netizens’ sympathy and was reposted by more than 100,000 times in a short time period. However, the ‘We Are Sorry’ was controversial and aroused heated discussion. On one hand, it was regarded as an intentional hype operated by the JDB’s PR agency, which was assumed as a virulent competition. On the other hand, some Weibo users considered ‘We Are Sorry’ as a smart tactic to gain public’s attention. Personally, the topic JDB’s online public relations communication is considered to be a controversial campaign, which worth to do further study. Because content analysis is a scientific method which is“systematic, objective, and quantitative” (Kerlinger, 2000), and it is a popular technique in mass media research(Wimmer and Dominick, 1983), content analysis is considered to be an appropriate technique, which can help to verify my hypothesis about JDB’s “We are sorry” case. Besides, as Wimmer stated in Mass Media Research; ‘Content can be searched quickly and efficiently by using search engines and electronic archives’ (Wimmer and Dominick 1983) Therefore, to conduct research about online campaign, content analysis is indispensable.
Do the JDB’s ‘We Are Sorry’ on Weibo is an effective online campaign? -What is the attitude of Chinese media organizations towards the campaign? -What are readers’ attitudes toward the report?
-What is the online report type and theme about JDB’s ‘We Are Sorry’? -Did the websites do the tracking reports?
-What is the proportion of positive versus negative report about the campaign? -Which key word on articles attracts readers the most?
-What is the rank of the word ‘JDB’ and ‘We Are Sorry’ in the searching engines on Chinese website? Hypothesis
JDB’s ‘We Are Sorry’ is a successful online campaign, which has gained a large media coverage and positive comments in 2013.
Unit of Analysis
This research will focus on online newspaper articles, which includes reader’s comments. There are two reasons about choosing online newspaper. For one reason, at present, Chinese newspaper organizations are operating online official websites and report news online. Online newspaper industry as a new journalism platform, is consider to be more efficient and flexible, which adapts to the electronic world and cater to the public’s new life style. Usually online newspapers are faster than any other traditional media platforms to report breaking news. Besides, online newspaper is interactive for readers to comment so that I can observe the public attitude towards the campaign. For the second reason, JDB’s ‘We Are Sorry’ is an online campaign which conducted on Weibo. Many journalists use Weibo so that they can write articles in real time and report objectively and deeply.
Where-Five online representative China daily newspaper, including South China Morning Post, China Daily, Xinhua Net, Southern Metropolitan Dailyand People’s Daily. When-Reports and articles post during 4th February to 4th March in 2013.
Among the five newspapers, three of them (China Daily, Xinhua Net and People’s Daily) are the most influential newspapers in China, which are published by official organizations. Besides, the South China Morning Post and Southern Metropolitan Daily are produced by media organizations from the south part of China. Because the brand JDB and Wanglaoji are also from south China, these two media organizations will be more familiar to companies’ background and the current situation that can bring accurate and objective reports to the public. In addition, the observation time is going to be one month, which will begin at the same time of the ‘We A re Sorry’ weibo has been posted.
Units of Measurement
To analyze a campaign’s degree of effectiveness, the media report time is worth to be study. To observe the report time, researchers can infer the degree of news value of that campaign. If a campaign is newsworthy, it might be reported in no time after the campaign or even in real time reporting. Publication
According to the data analysis, these five newspaper organizations are the most popular newspapers which all listed on the ten top China's most widely circulated newspaper. (Soubaoad.com, 2014) As it has been mentioned above, the China Daily, Xinhua Net and People’s Daily these three newspapers are operated by government or other official organizations, which is the most representative media. Thus, the media attitude towards the campaign can be analyzed by selecting samples from them. Type of news
There are several types of news. Different types of report target different public, which affect the spread of the message. Also, it is meaningful to understanding the agenda setting of the media by analyzing the news type. The JDB’s campaign is considered to be more effective if reported as national news than local news because national news usually achieves more attention. Tone
The tone of the article shows the attitude of the journalist about the brand and the campaign. It is one of a crucial element to judge whether the JDB’s behavior is been supported or criticized. For example, some positive words in articles are inferred to be praising, such as ‘good’, ‘leading PR’, ‘top social media communication’, ‘successful case’ etc. However, negative words like ‘hype’, ‘vicious competition’ and ‘gain sympathy’ shows the disagreement. More importantly, the writer’s attitude about JDB’s campaign will influence social attitude to a great extent. By analyzing this, the research question about media attitude towards the campaign can be concluded. Therefore, the tone of the article is vital to analyze. Source and figure
The source and figure shows the degree of validity an article. A reliable news is consider to be more objective in reporting the campaign by referencing strong evidences, which is more significant to study. To minimize the bias, it is necessary to pick up reliable and valid news to study. Amount of reports
A newsworthy campaign is worth to do tracking reports. Figure says the fact. Therefore, to observe the amount of report of the newspaper about JDB’s ‘We Are Sorry’ during the observation time is necessary. Word length
As it has been mentioned above, figure says the fact. The word length of the JDB news on website shows its importance compare to other news in the same day. Image
Image is more powerful than text to impress the public to a certain degree. In addition, different images attract different group of readers. If the article attached the four crying babies (JDB’s online campaign image), then it is considered to catch people who curious about JDB’s campaign. Thus, to analysis different attached image with articles would help to study which group of readers the newspaper has covered.
Still, as a quantitative research method, content analysis has its limitations. One potential limitation is a lack of messages relevant to the research. (Wimmer and Dominick 1983) To conduct content analysis online, many irrelative reports may found, researchers need to pay attention to find out significant relevant content. In addition, to deeply study the public opinion towards JDB’s campaign, more in-depth researches need to be conducted, such as in-depth interview and focus group.
China Beverage News. 2012. WangLaoJi and JiaDuobao start ad war on CCTV. [online] Available at: http://chinabevnews.wordpress.com/2012/11/20/wanglaoji-and-jiaduobao-start-ad-war-on-cctv/ [Accessed: 19 Mar 2014].
Chinadaily.com.cn. 2012. [online] Available at: http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/bizchina/2013-12/21/content_17188811.htm [Accessed: 18 Mar 2014].
English.sina.com. 2014.Wanglaoji and Jiaduobao embroiled in a legal feud - Business News - SINA English. [online] Available at: http://english.sina.com/business/2012/1224/541328.html [Accessed: 18 Mar 2014].
Ipr.chinadaily.com.cn. 2014. Arbitration ends long tempest in a tea can. [online] Available at: http://ipr.chinadaily.com.cn/2012-05/23/content_15370390.htm?_ga=1.153243000.1349095253.1395076866 [Accessed: 18 Mar 2014].
Kerlinger,F.N.(2000).Foundations of behavioral research.(4th ed.) New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.
Kuo, L. 2014. China’s cola wars are escalating, except the cola in this case is herbal tea. [online] Available at: http://qz.com/76446/chinas-cola-wars-are-escalating-except-the-cola-in-this-case-is-herbal-tea/ [Accessed: 17 Mar 2014].
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Wimmer, R. D. and Dominick, J. R. 1983.Mass media research. Belmont, Calif.: Wadsworth Pub. Co.
Zhang, Y. 2014. JDB's "Sorry" VS. Wanglaoji's "It doesn't matter" | The World of Chinese. [online] Available at: http://www.theworldofchinese.com/2013/03/tea-warz-chinas-tea-trademark-in-tussles/ [Accessed: 19 Mar 2014].
Zhou, H. 2014. Successful social media marketing in China – 3 case studies. [online] Available at: http://syengage.com/top-3-social-marketing-cases-in-china/#.Uyd2Bfl0Pde [Accessed: 17 Mar 2014]. Coding Sheet
JDB Group-‘We Are Sorry’
Unit of Analysis = Online Newspaper Articles
Sample (Where) = Five online representative China daily newspaper Sample (When) = Reports post period during 4th Feb. to 4th Mar. 2013
South China Morning Post
Southern Metropolitan Daily
Review and comment
Yes ☐ No ☐
Amount of Report (Observed period)_____________
0-150 ☐151-300 ☐
301-500 ☐501-700 ☐
Tone of Report
Amount of Comment____________
‘We Are Sorry’ tweet pictures from JDB’s official Weibo ☐
Both JDB and Wanglaoji’s logo
Publication-based original illustrate