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April 27, 2006

Pandas in Washington, DC, Pandas in China

April 27, 2006 | By | One Comment


DC Metro subway

farecard One of the most popular web cams in Your Nation’s Capital is not with the C-SPANing of lawmakers. Not Congress.

Nope. The other Zoo. The National Zoo.

With Panda-ring in both venues.

See the Panda Cam. Scroll down. Live shots of Tai Shan, the bear. National Zoo.

America, the world, has a thing for bears.

The Pandas are so popular that the Washington DC Metro System uses them as a branding image on the fare cards.


USA’s Smokey Bear

Your Business Blogger was not content with watching. I wanted to see a Panda Bear IRL. And I wanted to study China’s marketing equivalent of the USA’s Smokey Bear.

Tourism for China. Forest fire prevention for America. Marketing to make money. Marketing to prevent loss. Using approachable bear images.

I was crazy, Charmaine says. I went over the top…

…of the world, chugging to Chengdu. Home of the Chengdu Panda Breeding and Research Center.


My Bamboo eating Buddy So I ask if I could cuddle a big critter.

Not the big one, the Panda Keepers suggested, but a smaller version. In red. Looks like a raccoon.

Not in the traditional black and white.

So I play with a live panda. For 100 Yuan. Twelve and a half bucks.


Panda in Black & WhiteA marketing adventure.

But I am a bit disappointed. My expectations were not managed. I was expecting a bit more, I guess.

A little danger, perhaps. Exotic Orient Express adrenaline rush. I got safely Shanghaied instead.

The Panda feels like a rat with coarse hair. Loved by kids and congressmen.

Not my cup of chai.

Sometimes a branding experience should not be handled too near at hand. Distance makes consultants more valuable; makes Pandas more valuable.


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Thank you (foot)notes:

April is Panda Month.

Basil’s Blog has a Picnic.

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  1. Usually you can hug a giant panda for 400 yuan, and that can be bargained down to 300 or 200.

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