Monday, December 15, 2008

Past Their Prime?...Not in China!

When was the last time you heard the "ding-dong" of "Avon Jenny?" (Yes, growing up, that was the name of our Avon Lady...right, Dawn?) While I'm sure you don't remember the last time you bought a bottle of Skin So Soft (probably because that bottle was so big it's still in the back of your linen closet), that may not be the case around here.

Same is true of those ol' American institutions that seem to have lost their hold on American attention. While KFC (formerly known as Kentucky Fried Chicken...or Kentucky Fried Children, as the kids like to say) is the absolute closest "restaurant" to our house in Silver Spring, I can probably count on one hand the number of times we've stepped into the place.

Yet places like KFC, Pizza Hut, and McDonald's seem to have had a re-birth in the Far East. Although these may serve "fast food" for a fairly low price in the States to a declining number of consumers, they are all the rage...and quite expensive. For example, in our neighborhood of Yan Bei Yuan, it is rare to spend more than around 70 kuai ($10 US) for a meal that leaves us bursting. Yet a medium pizza, a Pepsi or two, and maybe a tiny order of garlic bread costs over 150 kuai! Very "Western"...therefore, very expensive, relatively speaking.

Add to the list companies like Amway and Mary Kay, whose billboards can be found on even the most posh malls and shopping streets. These businesses obviously have marketing geniuses working for them. With a potential clientèle of, say, 1.4 billion people, they know exactly what they're doing.

~Desi

PS: For the record, a very attractive young Chinese woman gave me her Mary Kay business card in McDonald's the other day...really!

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