Guangdong cracks down on Macau ads - Friday 18th of May 2007

Macau hotels will find it increasingly difficult to advertise in Guangdong for the remainder of 2007, senior media sources in Guangdong have told Destination Macau.

“I’m sorry,” one media executive said on condition of anonymity. “We cannot take any new advertisements for Macau hotels on buses or billboards right now. The Guangdong government has instructed us.”

It is understood that certain restrictions, which have not been formally announced, are being implemented after complaints by mainland officials about the increasing number of Macau casino-related hotel advertisements appearing in mainstream media in recent months. Gambling is strictly outlawed on the mainland, and the censors are particularly sensitive about content that can be seen to encourage people to visit Macau casinos.

To date, Macau casino groups have been advertising everything but their gaming facilities, focusing the content of ads on their brands and hotel-related services. However, it is understood that even hotel ads will not be allowed under the new tightening. “I can’t even take an ad for the Westin [which does not have a casino attached],” the source said.

The catalyst for the crackdown is believed to be a recent television ad campaign launched by Crown Macau, the newest to open.

Crown’s commercial, depicting “God of Gamblers” Chow Yun-fat playing with cards, throwing ice into a glass (as if shooting craps), and kissing a casino chip, was pulled from mainland TV airwaves on the first day of showing last month. It was reportedly edited and reappeared shortly afterwards with the sensitive scenes deleted.

However, according to the source, “no new ads will be allowed”. It is not known how long the ban will be in place, or even how widely it will be implemented.

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