Enlighten the Era, Exclusive Interview with “Outdoor Advertisement Artist”, YiJin Zhang

Enlighten the Era, Exclusive Interview with “Outdoor Advertisement Artist”, YiJin Zhang

2018 has been an exceptionally fruitful year for the owner of Shanghai Mocheng Advertising Co. Ltd., Mrs. Yi-Jin Zhang.

The 59th FEPE International Congress took place in Sorrento, Italy from June 6th to June 8th, 2018, with over 300 delegates from over 45 countries. Mrs. Zhang, in the company of Outdoor Advertising delegation of Chinese Advertising Association, attended the Congress and a series of closed-door meetings. In August 2018, the Chinese Advertising Association acclaimed Mrs. Zhang as “the figure with the greatest potential in the forty-year course of Chinese outdoor advertising”. At the second annual Global Advertising Golden Tripod Award in 2018, Mrs. Zhang was commended “the most innovative artist of the year” and “the best leader of the year”. To end 2018 on an even higher note, as the “innovator of the advertising field”, Mrs. Zhang received patents for multiple of her advertising modalities.

International Congress in Sorrento, Italy 2018. First on the left: Mrs. Yi-Jin Zhang, owner of Shanghai Mocheng Advertising Co.

Mrs. Zhang graduated from college in 2001. From the seasonal fashion show of Karl Lagerfeld in China, to the exterior design of Adidas at MetroCity for the 2006 World Cup, to the listing of Citibank’s credit card as the very first card owned by an independent foreign bank, to the publication of Nikon’s multimedia channel, Mrs. Zhang’s contribution and leadership have established her renown in the advertising field. Her role as a professional judge at global advertising contests further uplifts her professional authority and artistic talents. 

We had the honor to arrange an exclusive interview with Mrs. Zhang, who will share her insights from her journey over the past decade.

Q: Having been in the business for over ten years, do you still remember all the clients you serviced?

A: Yes, I distinctly remember every one of them, as they are the most crucial aspect of my job and their satisfaction with my service is what makes the business meaningful. In fact, I even recall the miniature from my encounter with most of my clients. Through the process of servicing, we were also able to become close friends afterwards.

We mainly provide service to globally renowned companies, such as Citibank, Ping An Bank, Standard Charter, Fubon Bank, Nikon, Sharp, Panasonic, MUJI, Castrol, Martell, MAXMARA, VOGUE, TOTO, SISLEY, BALLY, Chevrolet, Buick, Japan National Tourism Organization, Tourism Australia, Covestro, Petronas, Varta, KFC, Pizza Hut, etc.

Q: Which case were you most satisfied with?

A: There have been two cases that I am pretty satisfied with. The first one, during my time at my previous company, was an outdoor design for the 2006 World Cup. It was an eye-catching and innovative art piece in the shape of a gigantic soccer ball which Adidas used as their company ads on the exterior of MetroCity in Shanghai. The other one was a full exterior covering for Citibank in Guangzhou, 2011. It was an unprecedented approach to use the company’s establishment itself as a promoting medium that sparkly contrasts with the neighboring buildings and appeals to the market. 

Shanghai, 2006

Guangzhou, 2011

Q: As the “innovator of advertising”, what have you innovated and how did you come around them?

A: I like to scrutinize things. Whenever I see an object or encounter a design, I always like to wonder how it works. Once I have figured out its mechanism of work, I start nitpicking any aspects of the object that could be improved. It is a mode of thinking as such that has exposed me to a world of opportunities. One of my patents, the LED multipurpose advertising screen on the back of the passenger seat, is an idea I came up with when taking a taxi one day. I noticed the constant blackout of the screen when the taxi was at stop and the inability to explore an advertised product. So I thought that if we could provide the passengers with a smoother experience with the screen and the chance to purchase any products that appealed to them right away, then it would be a win-win for both the rider and the company. That’s how I innovated the multipurpose advertising screen and received my patent. Then there was the digital locker I innovated, which was another idea I had when picking up my delivery package the other day. You have the security of having your items delivered to a locker and with a barcode on your phone, you can swipe to open the locker to retrieve your package. These might seem random ideas, like to develop a patent after riding a taxi or after picking up a package, but they are actually products of years of observation. And, a flash of inspiration does not come often. Most of the innovations require repeated experiments and practices that slowly, but eventually, lead to an object’s improvement. My innovations are not the most scientifically heavy or revolutionary, but they are able to solve practical problems in their respective industries. The purpose of innovation is to improve practicality; if a new object is not practical, then it is meaningless.  

Q: How do you conceive your accomplishment this year after winning a myriad of awards?

I guess it’s hard work paying off. Rewards can be either material or spiritual, but personally, my clients’ acknowledgment of our service is the most valuable reward.

Q: How do you balance work and personal life?

I have a lot on my plate. Aside from managing my own company, being a judge, and attending conferences, I need to take care of my two kids, and since most of the companies we service are foreign enterprises, I also have to better my English. How do I manage all these? Being 100% dedicated to work, 100% dedicated to kids, and 100% to learning. I am playing one role and one role only at a time, to my best effort.

Q: How you do you perceive the relation between your personal development and societal changes?  

I grew up with the influence from the Open Door Policy, which has given our generation a tremendous number of opportunities and possibilities. The rapid progression of the Chinese advertising market over the past 30 years is indicative of China’s globalization. However, the future is still unknown; therefore, I would like to remind myself of striving to enlighten this era. 

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