Seismic shift in Chinese dialect and Internet addresses?

Two recent “Asian” stories that appeared in two top general market dailies are challenging long-cherished Asian traditions—one about the supposedly dominant Chinese dialect, Mandarin; another about the possible approval of Web addresses expressed in characters other than those of the Roman alphabet.

The New York Times piece, “Mandarin Eclipses Cantonese, Changing the Sound of Chinatown,” October 21, reports: “Cantonese, a dialect from southern China that has dominated the Chinatowns of North America for decades, is being rapidly swept aside by Mandarin, the national language of China and the lingua franca of most of the latest Chinese immigrants.

“The change can be heard in the neighborhood’s lively restaurants and solemn church services, in parks, street markets and language schools. It has been accelerated by Chinese-American parents, including many who speak Cantonese at home, as they press their children to learn Mandarin for the advantages it could bring as China’s influence grows in the world.”

Read more here:

The Wall Street Journal report datelined Seoul, “Web Addresses to Adopt New Alphabets,” October 28, reads: “Leaders of the private body that oversees the basic design of the Internet are expected to decide here Friday to let Web addresses be expressed in characters other than those of the Roman alphabet — an issue for the majority of Internet users who use other alphabets in their native language. Already, portions of a Web address can be written in other languages. But the suffix, such as the “com” after the dot, must be typed in Roman letters.

“The change will allow the suffix — known as a top-level domain — to be expressed in about 16 other alphabets. They include traditional and simplified Chinese characters, Russian Cyrillic, Korean Hangul and Hebrew. Dozens of other alphabets are likely to be added in coming years.

“That means computer users will be able to type or input a full Web address without the need for Roman letters.” as referred to us by colleague, Ruth.

Now let’s see which story ends up with a nod of approval or a howl of protest. From our end, it could make Asian American advertising more interesting.—dennis clemente


Misrepresented Chinese image, letters appear in Metro News

Metro New York published what appears to be a misrepresented image in its story,  “Chinese letters reform explodes” on Oct. 21, quoting from another news source, RelaxNews.

“From the angle of the photograph, it appears that the Chinese letters were taken from a window, ” observed colleague Kaipo Leung.  For  that reason, the Chinese letters are inverted and incorrect.

The story delves on Chinese language reform, about simplifying a few dozen ideograms, without giving a point of reference for the word.  Merriam Webster defines ideogram as a picture or symbol used in a system of writing to represent a thing or an idea but not a particular word or phrase for it.

In the second paragraph of the story, there are proposals to change 44 characters by “the government.” However, it did not point out which government it is referring to, leaving that hanging and for us to answer for ourselves, according to creative director Tuan-pu Wang.

Metro New York has not yet returned our phone call or responded to our email letter.

To view the image and read the story, click here:

Philippines is Love Capital

Last April, I stumbled on data nobody seems to have noticed or even reported as a story. The data came from Google’s Insights for Search. The amazing data came from my random search for “love,” “in love,” “out of love” and “broken heart” in the Google tool. No need for any Freudian readings into it, just one word that is as popular as the other four-letter word these days: free. The results amazed me. It all pointed to one country: The Philippines.

I monitored the findings for three months before finalizing the story, even if the parameters point to the findings dating back to 2004. Then I pitched it for one whole month to the presses. Even to the New York Times Mag’s “Phenomenon” section, confident as I was because a growing trend in Japan was featured in a recent article. No responses. Time passed. I sent it to my former employer-pub. They kept it on hold over a month before publishing it this month, less 1/4 of it for space considerations. The figures changed. For the exact word, “love,” the Philippines went down a notch. Otherwise, the entire searches for love’s other various permutations were still correct.

I listed the time frame of my findings in the piece, but this was edited out. For space considerations. Still, I consider the story and the idea behind Google’s search tool a happy accident. I have been using Google’s Insights for Search more often now, as a tool even writers can use when thinking of a story to write about.

Here’s the link to the story, “Believe it or not, RP is Love Central.”–dennis clemente

Admerasia donates to flood victims in the Philippines

Admerasia, the leading Asian American advertising agency, recently extended help to flood victims of typhoon Ketsana (Philippine name, Ondoy) in the Philippines thru the Philippine Consulate in New York which will then send the donated money to the Philippine National Red Cross.

The Philippines suffered the worst flooding in recent memory, as it submerged 80% of Manila, killing over 260 people and displacing nearly half a million Filipinos in its major city and nearby areas last weekend. To make matters worse, another even stronger typhoon is expected to hit the country this Saturday.

Consul General Cecila Rebong was in attendance at the Philippine Consulate when Admerasia paid her a courtesy call.

The Philippine Consulate also invites everyone to join the 2009 Lakad Tulong on Oct. 11, 2009 to be able to extend more help to the flood victims and encourage Filipinos to participate in the upcoming 2010 Census.

If you wish to donate in kind (clothing, shoes, canned goods, etc), you can drop this off on Saturday, October 3 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Nodutdol for the Korean Community Development, 53-22 Roosevelt Avenue, 2nd floor, Woodside, Queens (between 53rd and 54th streets). After October 3, materials can be dropped off at the DAMAYAN Office, 406 West 40th Street, New York, NY, 10018. Contact Leah Obias, Chevy Evangelista at 212.564.6057.

If you would still like to donate money, visit the Philippine National Red Cross at –dennis clemente

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Admerasia-initiated online advertising with YouTube targets Asians in the U.S. effectively
September 25th, 2009

Admerasia, the pioneer and leader of full-service Asian American advertising since 1993, recently set a media milestone when it initiated the development of a new online advertising system for targeting Asians in the U.S. through YouTube.

“We take pride in being the first Asian American advertising agency to have taken this initiative,” says Doris Huang, media director of Admerasia.

The initiative was borne from Admerasia’s idea of targeting the high percentage of online activity by Asians in the U.S. After several weeks in development, YouTube eventually provided the solution that will now allow any company to target language-dependent Asians in the U.S., a fast-growing minority totaling more than 13 million.

This system is based on language and location settings of U.S.-based Asian users. For its current campaign targeting the Chinese and Koreans, the settings had to be precise. Domains were set to Hong Kong, South Korea and Taiwan with IP addresses in the U.S.

China is not included in the domain setting, because of Internet restrictions there.

With all these in place, Admerasia was able to go full steam ahead with its new campaign for McDonald’s on the midnight of September 10 on YouTube.

In choosing the media channel, Admerasia based its strategy on Asians’ behavior online as well as its current campaign.

YouTube has the reach and ability to be culturally relevant, and addresses demographic (18-49 years old) and psychographic targets (online entertainment/TV activity is huge among Asians). It can also make the most impact for Admerasia’s current campaign in only a short period of time (three months up to December 2009).

Tommy Ng, general manager of Admerasia, says this latest move of Admerasia will create more opportunities for Admerasia to cultivate new, strategic partnerships, especially its recent one with Double Click.

Sidney Yee, EVP and the agency executive in charge of the McDonald’s business, agrees, “Selecting the right strategic partnerships will help our client’s brand engage Asians in the U.S. and remain the industry category leader.”

Admerasia has always been at the forefront of innovative marketing to the Asian-American market, whether this is traditional or digital advertising. With the latter, Admerasia has always been an early adopter. In the late 90s, it will be recalled that Admerasia was instrumental in guiding E*TRADE to the digital path with the ground-breaking “Chinese localization” of E*TRADE’s English-language website.

Figures from the Phoenix Multicultural and Interviewing Service of America study of Asian Americans released this year substantiate the path Admerasia is taking in the digital world is right on track.

For instance, Asian Americans are close to matching Caucasians in the U.S. in terms of Internet access at home at 82% and 84%, respectively. Better yet, Asian Americans rule by a wide margin in the consumption of in-language/in-cultural programs or online entertainment programming (movies, TV, sports): 55% against 37% for Caucasians.

Today, Admerasia helps other general market brands such as Lowe’s and Foxwoods succeed in the Asian American market by seamlessly integrating new technologies with its traditional full-service advertising.

For more information, please call Tommy Ng, Admerasia general manager, at 212-653-9177. Visit Admerasia at or at its offices at 159 W 25th St. 6/F, New York, NY 10001.–dennis clemente