Branding Taipei: The Represented and Unrepresented in Undiscovered Taipei Advertisements

Conference: The Asian Conference on Media, Communication & Film (MediAsia2021)
Title: Branding Taipei: The Represented and Unrepresented in Undiscovered Taipei Advertisements
Stream: Advertising, Marketing, & Public Relations
Presentation Type: Live-Stream Presentation
Chi-Kwan Lee, New York University, United States


This paper investigates how the tourism advertisements by Taipei City Government in Taiwan are produced as a means of nation branding. While nation branding projects are prevalent around the globe, the case of Taipei is unique and complicated by Taiwan’s indeterminate national identity in the international arena and its intricate colonial history.
This paper analyzes the advertisements produced under the brand slogan “Undiscovered Taipei,” a branding campaign launched by the Department of Information and Tourism of Taipei in 2018. Unlike previous branding projects, this campaign is deliberately branded as a brand and created with a clear agenda to form a particular narrative that could be applied to all advertisements. By adapting semiotic and media environment approaches, this paper seeks to answer the following research questions: What kind of national identity do Taipei’s tourism advertisements intend to promote? Demographically speaking, which populations are underrepresented or overrepresented in these advertisements? What are the branding techniques and strategies deployed in this project?
To tackle with the above questions, this paper examines the advertisements’ cultural production process by interviewing Taipei’s government officials and by analyzing the market structure of tourism in global competition. In addition, given Taiwan’s unique history and political status, this paper aims to explore alternative branding strategies that are sustainable and suitable for Taipei.

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