It’s business as usual when advertisers use children models to sell products to their parents. But a series of advertisements made by the Chinese state-run media organisation China Daily appears to have inverted that concept by starring children in their videos to sell the idea of the country’s One Belt One Road (OBOR) project. President Xi Jinping’s big plan is billed as the world’s largest intitative to build connectivity across the Eurasian super-continent.
In one of the videos, children from the countries participating in the economic initiative come together to sing a playful, foot-tapping number. But under the guise of a cutesy song, the lyrics hard-sell the idea of the OBOR. The message in the lyrics divorces the project from its economic goals and instead suggests an emotional connect: “We’re breaking barriers, we’re making history, the world we’re dreaming of starts with you and me.”
Another video in the series plugs the story of the OBOR as a bedtime tale, with an American father recounting the story to his daughter, and discussing the “hope” that globalisation brings each night. The father even talks about the all-important impending forum (which was held on Sunday, where 29 words leaders met in Beijing to launch the project, from which India was conspicuously absent).
China will start work on the OBOR project in June, with stakeholders from Eurasia and beyond. While the United States was initially hesitant, it has agreed to participate. The Indian government is not entirely on board and has cited concerns, but West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has shown keen interest.