What Chinese Want by Tom Doctoroff

Reading Time: < 1 minute

What Chinese Want author Doctoroff is advertising agency J Walter Thompson (JWT)’s man in China. He has been there since the mid-1990s and so has had the time and access to agency resources to try and make sense of Chinese society, culture and how it pertains to consumer behaviour.

Doctoroff provides a good introduction to Chinese the impact of communism on culture and consumer behaviour. As a marketer who has worked in China, the book’s content largely rang true to me. By focusing on culture, Doctoroff doesn’t fall into some of the pitfalls of a society under constant change. Technology may change interactions but

I found some of the campaigns Doctoroff references really interesting. He illustrates each of the points that he makes with case studies and isn’t shy of pointing out where mistakes were made and how approaches were tweaked. This critical honesty from an advertising agency is refreshing. Advertising agencies are used to providing shiny successful case studies  to win new clients or industry award entries.

I read some of the reviews on Amazon and thought them a bit harsh. The reviewers don’t seem to have on the ground experience in China. Having been in the trenches, I would recommend What Chinese Want as a good informative read. More China related content here.