Dick van Motman might be described as a classic “internationalist.” Not only does he have a remarkable multicultural backgroun —Dutch/Indonesian and Portuguese/Jewish, but he has traveled a fair portion of the globe. Raised and educated in The Netherlands, he has been in advertising 20 years and for much of that time associated with the Philips account. He started at Ogilvy & Mather in Amsterdam, and then moved to D’Arcy there (DMB&B in those years). Dick took his first overseas job at D’Arcy in Korea as head of international, followed by assignments in Indonesia, Hong Kong, South China and Singapore for D’Arcy and later for Leo Burnett.
Yet, despite an amazing life of criss-crossing cultures and borders, Dick became enticed by China. Over the last several years, he has made an extraordinary mark on China … or perhaps it is China that has made a mark on him. In fact, Dick’s career success may correspond to a favorite saying of his by the late Deng Xiao Ping: “I don’t care what color the cat is as long as it catches mice.” His focus on the end goal, rather than on the means to arrive, has guided
Dick has now been in China for five years and has built DDB Group from a small office with just a couple of clients to one of the strongest and most integrated agencies in the country. DDB China Group grew six-fold in the past five years and now consists of three offices, in three cities, offering three disciplines (DDB, Tribal
DDB and RAPP). Last year, DDB was the fastest growing agency in China.
Dick also became the first non-Chinese executive to win the prestigious “Most Outstanding Advertising Person” Award from CAA/CCTV (China Advertising Association/China Central Television), while bringing home from Cannes China’s second-ever Gold Lion. Perhaps most remarkable in his relationship with China is how the Ministry of Commerce hired DDB Guoan (the Group’s joint venture in Beijing) to create an advertising campaign to promote the “Made in China” image. This was effectively the first time the government had ever commissioned an advertisement. The project, “Made in China, Made with the World” portrays the #1 exporting country as a collaborator, not a competitor. The global TV campaign ran on CNN in the US, Asia and Europe.
A series of 30-second spots that exclusively use Western actors show the “Made in China” label on products created in partnership. A jogger ties his running shoes with a labels that reads “Made in China with American sports technology.” A refrigerator is stamped with “Made in China with European styling.” Teen girls listen to MP3 players labeled “Made in China with software
from Silicon Valley.” A model wears a dress that’s “Made in China with French designers.”
A voice-over in American-sounding English states, “When it says made in China, it really means made in China, made with the world.” The campaign’s message is a sophisticated one for both Western and Chinese audiences. It also underscores how the Chinese government is recognizing the significance of public perception the world over.
Certainly technology has enabled China to leapfrog in their manufacturing efforts, particularly as more Western companies trust their brands to Chinese factories. The county may not yet be broadly building its own brands, but new levels of quality and innovation will inevitably arrive. And if it’s up to Dick van Motman, consumers the world over will begin to consider the “Made in China” label in new light.