China: Online English tutor is a lesson in adaptive advertising

China: Online English tutor is a lesson in adaptive advertising

Here’s how it goes…

I have a regular salary,” he says, reading lines off a computer screen.

The voice-recognition software evaluates his answer: 100 per cent.

Would you describe your work as stable?” continues Lucy.

Yes. How long will it take you to evaluate my application?”

Another 100 per cent. Not bad.

Thrilling stuff, I’m sure you’ll agree.

In September, Speak2Me’s registered users reached one million for its interactive language lessons, and that number is growing by up to 100,000 a month. Make no mistakes, this is becoming big business.

Both the figure of a million and the projected growth are testaments to how hard it is for students to indulge in English conversation in China. Although English is compulsory in schools, many teachers of the language still have little familiarity with the spoken language.

As with everything in the 21st century, the opportunity to make a quick buck is not being missed: ‘There’s product placement opportunities within the dialogue,’ Lingo Media Corp. CEO Michael Kraft says, cheerily from atop his increasingly large stack of money.

The online ads in Kraft’s product, notes The Star, get a target demographic discussing the product, instead of just reading about it in a banner ad. Here, Kraft tells advertisers, Chinese students will learn English by discussing the brand for several minutes and associating it with the cosmopolitan, English-speaking lifestyle they crave.

Is it just me or is this a little bit scary? We’ll have a billion English speakers fluent in adspeak and little else.

Read more about it here.

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