Municipality of Greater Shanghai
- A medium-driven regulation, regardless of products and contents. Regulations governing "Prohibition of Unlawful Newspaper Advertising" adopted by Municipality of Greater Shanghai in 1929. Source: SMA (SMC), U1-4-819 (0356-0357, 0361-0362)
- The Mayor of the Municipality of Greater Shanghai called the Shanghai Municipal Council, French Concession Administration and Special District Courts to take actions to prevent newspapers advertisements for quack doctors and medicines. Report by S.M.C Public Health Department, April 21, 1933. Source: SMA (SMC), U1-4-819 (0356).
- Strategy based on cooperation between institutions rather than harmonizing regulations. 1933. Source: SMA (SMC), U1-4-819 (0351)
- An excuse to prosecute/persecute/weaken the Chinese press and business/industry? (les dessous politiques de la censure morale)
Companies' views & practices of danger/security
Selling advertising spaces to Municipality as protective spaces
As material/physical spaces
Advertising Shelters (especially in case of emergency)
- They would comprise a shelter, where mongers (exchange dealers, newspaper-sellers etc...) could during the day exercise their small trade and on all the sides a place for commercial advertisements, which during the night would be made luminous. (...) A telephone apparatus should be fixed inside and would be permanently at the disposal of the Officers of the Police Force, who at the same time could find a shelter there, in case of need. China Advertising Company (J. Beudin). Proposed Advertising kiosks on public roads. 10 May, 1921. Source: SMA (SMC), U1-14-3387 (2611)
Better protection than bamboo fences
- As early as 1905, the Council sees no objection to the erection of advertising boards as protective fences for buildings in course of erection. Letter from Acting Secretary to ???. November 16, 1905. Source: SMA (SMC), U1-4-371 (2495)
- Protection against theft of building materials materials
- 1907. Source: SMA (SMC), U1-14-3267 (1039)
- Acme Advertising Agency (victim of theft). Carter & Avenue Roads. 1941.
- Regarding Advertising hoardings on Carter - Avenue Roads, Cad Lots 1155 and 1175, we are taking immediate measures to remedy your aobjections. Unfortunately we had all the back support stolen during the night and new ones are now being prepared for replacement. We regret that they were not completed before the receipt of your second letter. Letter to Commissioner of Public Works from Acme Advertising Agency. February 6, 1941. Source: SMA (SMC), U1-14-3375 (0416).
- Protection against accidents
- Whilst we fully understand that hoardings placed around buildings are a protection to the public and therefore permitted to be displayed, we are of the opinion that a multiposter machine of this sort will serve the same purpose, because we propose to erect and consolidated it in a similar manner as an ordinary hoarding. Millington's Multiposter Machine. Nanking & Szechuen Roads. 1935. Source: SMA (SMC), U1-14-3268 (1363)
- Using security appeal as a commercial weapon to dismiss competitors
Selling security to consumers: Commercial representations of danger/security (advertising spaces as spaces of representations = Lefebvre's "perceived space" of danger/security
Various types of products = various views/senses of danger/security
Life insurance = anticipating death and life accidents, protecting one's familly and building the future
- NCDN Dec 2 - 3 (China Underwriters Limited - fear of death
- NCDN Dec 2, 1932 - 2 - Security - N.Z. Perpetual Forests Ltd. search for stability/durability?
- Individual/Domestic sense of health security
- Bayer NCDN 1934 - "Protect your family"
- Epidemic of cholera (1939)
- Pestilence usually follows in the wake of war. According to travellers who have returned from inland districts, epidemic diseases are raging in many large cities along the Nanking-Shanghai Railway and thousands of people lost their lives daily. These diseases spread rapidly so that cholera has now made its appearance in Shanghai. Though this particular disease has not yet reached epidemic proportions, deaths from it are not infrequent, and we see daily many coffins being removed to coffin repositories. / A large-scale invasion of Shanghai by cholera is inevitable. The dangers from such an invasion are a thousand times greater than attacks by tanks and heavy artillery. The lives of all local residents will be threatened. Should no defensive measures be introduced, every one of the five million people in this city may be killed and the social and cultural achievements of this community may be entirely wiped out. The crises is drawing nearer daily. Empty talks wil not help matters. The only adequate protection against the dread enemy is to be found in the preparation called "Wei T'ien Tsing" a panacea against all infections diseases. Within the first month of its introduction into this city the preparation has cured nearly 200, 000 patients. A single dose will save a life, no matter how serious the case may be. Buy a package immediately so that you may be protected. Do not doubt its efficiency: the more serious the case is, the more efficacious this preparation will prove to be. Prepared by the Wo Nieh Chemical Works. Under the supervision of its General Manager, Mr. Zeng Wai Cheng (portrait shown advertisement). General Sales Agents: Zang Nieh Native Bank. 3rd Floor. Continental Emporium Building. Kiukiang Road.Sold at large departmental stores, dispensaries and shops at $0.40 the package. Translation of advertisement for "Wei Tien Tsing (囲天精) panacea, Xinwenbao, August 11, 1939. Source: "Advertising Quack Doctors & Medicines ", SMA (SMC), U1-4-819 (0347-0339).
- Concerns for food safety
- Advertising Circular from Standard Dairy Farm Company, Limited dated February 26, 1935. Source: SMA (SMC, PDH), U1-4-724 (2436)
- Denied by Public Health Department. Source: SMA (SMC, PDH), U1-4-724 (2434-2435)
- SMC PHD's approval required before adopting trade marks and brand names (in order to avoid possibly misleading names)
- "Vita-Milk" - Canaan Dairy Farm, Ltd. July 1935. Source: SMA (SMC), U1-4-724 (2383)
- Regulating/Standardizing the labelling and packaging of food, drinks and fresh products in the 1930s. "Shanghai Municipal Council - Foreign Food Shop Licence - Conditions". Source: SMA (SMC, PHD), U1-4-724 (2372-2375)
Common textual/visual devices
Exaggeration - Superlative tone
- Warning - Catastrophism
- Extravagant - Pretentious - Outrageous Claims (wonders )
- Advertisements for quack doctors and panacea. 1933. U1-4-819.
- Authority Appeal (portrait, testimonials)
- Photographic evidence
Popular representations/experiences of dangerous/safe spaces
Popular appropriations of the sense of security/danger = A gradual process towards consumers' self-awareness of danger
Calls for Council's protection = emergence of public opinion
- Shanghai Thermos Manufacturers Association (warning against Typhoons)
- Shanghai Doctor's Association. Petition against quack doctors and medicines. 1933. Source: SMA (SMC), U1-4-819 (0358) : 'There has been much extravagant advertising lately of quack doctors and nostrums in the Settlement calculated to deceive the public. This is not only detrimental to public health, but tends to bring discredit to the medical profession in general. The HEalth Commissioner is asked to strictly prohibit such advertising so that the evil may be eradicated.'
- Chinese Dracula 1937
- Extract from the Movie "Song at Midnight", Xinhua, 1937. Source: Shanghai Film Museum (private photo taken June 7, 2015)
- Ningpo Residents' Association
- Chinese Ratepayers' Association
- A gradual process towards consumers' self-awareness of danger
- Kiangnan Daily, 1933. 1. The S.M.P. bases its charge upon the publication of advertisements in connection with gonorrhea and other veneral diseases. The S.M.P. regards these advertisements as indecent. But why has not the S.M.P. prohibited the sale of such medicines, and the practice of such doctors? 2. The "Shun Pao", the "Sin Wan Pao" and the "Min Pao" have also published such advertisements. Why has not the S.M.P. also prosecuted them? Has the S.M.P. adopted a policy of leniency towards the big papers and strictness towards the mosquito papers? Nothing could be more unjust. "Inexplicable cause of the Prosecution by the S.M.C. Of the "Kiangnan Daily". Extract from the Kiangnan Daily, dated June 17, 1933. Source: SMA (SMA), U1-4-819 (0349)
Advertising spaces as dangerous spaces
Material dangers/damages/injuries (safety)
Risks of collapsing
Imputable to the medium
- Build with unsafe materials
- Unsafely secured
- Of disproportionate dimensions
- Erected at a high level from the ground (roof or sky signs)
- BAT Tower/Illuminated "Pirate" Sign Horse Bazaar (100 feet) 1912. Source: SMA (SMC), U1-14-3170 (0619)
- I have to inform you that the advertising hoarding on the roof at the corner of Yu Ya Ching and Burkill Roads is in a dangerous state, necessitating the cutting off the pavement from public use. I have therefore to request that you have the hoarding removed without delay. Letter to Wing Tai Wo Tobacco Company from Commissioner of Public Works. July 15, 1939. Source: SMA (SMC), U1-14-3375 (0431)
Aggravated by weather/climate conditions
- Strong wind
- Typhoons or heavy rains
- Pointed out by Shanghai Thermo Flasks Manufacturers' Association - in 1941 - U1-14-3263 (0687)
- "Shanghai's Flooded Nanking Road Struck by Typhoon", 1949. Sources: IAO Scholar, Virtual Shanghai
Some people are more vulnerable/liable to street accidents
- Workers/Coolies (social criteria)
- Old people
- Old coolie seriously injuried by the collapse of "Capstan" Sign (New World) because of strong wind in 1927 Source: U1-14-3170 (0641)
Risks of Fire
- Hydrogen gas
- Using glass diapositives instead of films
- Building a safe enclosure to store the machine
- K.S. Park - Proposed Flashlight Advertisement. 1927. Source: U1-14-3269 (1399)
- Some medium are more likely to cause accidents/injuries
Some business sectors/products are more liable to objections
- Misleading statements about quack doctors or miraculous drugs
- Prosecutions against Dr. Williams or Doan's in Western countries did not reach Shanghai in the 1920-1930s
- In the Chinese press
- Advertisements for Dr. Williams
- Advertisements for Doan
- In the foreign press
- Advertisements for Dr. Williams
- Advertisements for Doan
- Manufacturers/Advertisers victims of media/advertising practices: the Director of the Ayuverdic Hall Clinic's interview on herbal medicines misinterpreted by a reporter from the Russian newspaper "Slovo" (Feburary 15, 1939). Source: U1-4-820 (0439-0446)
- Medical products edging sex and morality
- Against Gonorrhea & Venereal Diseases (Gonocure, Gonolyne)
- Advertisement for Gonolyne on Thibet Road, West Side, New World Site. March-April 1935. "Offensive Billboards". Source: SMA (SMC), U1-4-3821 (0541-0542)
- Advertisement for Gonocure on Bubbling Well Road (Opposite Fei Long Gate). March-April 1935. "Offensive Billboards". Source: SMA (SMC), U1-4-3821 (0536)
- Aphrodisiacs (Sphrodisiac Pills, German Tiger Pills, Glandsol)
- (Glandsol 腎力素) formula is purely a tonic and any claims as to its being an aphrodisiac are unjustified. However most foreign firms make extravagant claim in a like direction. Every drug in the "Chinese Materia Medica" has been used at tome time or other as aphrodisiac. A claim to the effect that any drug is a cure for impotence of an aphrodisiac enhance its value in Chinese eyes. A ginseng root (a worthless drug) growing in certain sexual shapes is highly prized. Report by Chief Analyst to Commissioner of Public works "Baling Drug Company" Limited's Advertisement", dated December 18, 1939. Source: SMA (SMC), U1-4-820 (0429).
- Source: SMA (SMC), U1-2-651 (2662-2673)
- Movie Poster for "Song in Midnight", the so-called "Chinese Dracula" (first Chinese horror film) (Xinhua Studio), 1937 (accused of frightening a child to death)
- Extract from the Movie "Song at Midnight", Xinhua, 1937. Source: Shanghai Film Museum (private photo taken June 7, 2015)
- Shanghai Electric Constructrion Company. "Sawing through a woman". "Sensational Advertising Poster on tramway". October 1921. Source: SMA (SMC), U1-3-1284 (2002-2008)
- I am directed to refer to the poster which is at present borne on the trams, entitled "Sawing a through a Woman". The Council would be glad if you will be so good as to give an explanation as to this peculiar legend, and I am to add that the Council depreciates such sensational posters, even though technically they may fall within the category of approved advertisements permitted to be placed on the outside of trams. Letter from S.M.C to Shanghai Construction Company. October 25, 1921.
- With reference to your letter No. 21/1486 of 25th, inst. (October 1921), the wording on the poster referred to was precisely the same as that of advertisements in the local newspapers. Cuttin from the North-China Daily News is enclosed. The wording is similar to that of London advertisements of the same "Illusion" turn when performed in a theatre there this summer. I did not personally see the advertisement before it appeared, but when I did see it, I gave instructions that posters of such a kind should not, in future, be accepted for the cars. Reply to S.M.C from Shanghai Construction Company. October 26, 1921.
- Poster Advertising for Shanghai Electric Construction Company. Extract from the North China Daily News, October 17, 1921.
Some people are more vulnerable to advertising immorality
- Children (age criteria)
- "Masses"/"populace" (social criteria)
Variable (nationally/culturally determined?) representations/experiences of the "objectionable"/"obscene"/"lewd"/"indecent"
- A quite lenient Chinese mediasphere: tolerating free discourses on sex and matters of "obscene" nature?
Prudish Foreign Press & SMC authorities? Strict prohibition of "obscene" advertisements, yet unequally enforceable
- Prohibition may be enforced in Foreign papers and Chinese-language papers with foreign management (ex.Xinwenbao). 1910. Source: SMA (SMC), U1-2-651 (2667)
- No action can be taken against "purely" Chinese papers (with Chinese language and Chinese ownership/management : ex. Shenbao in 1910). Source: SMA (SMC), U1-2-651 (2667)
- Since their establishment (mid 19e), it has always been the usual practice for Chinese press editors (Shenbao) not to control the content of the advertisements they publish in their papers. Shenbao 1910). Source: SMA (SMC), U1-2-651 (2675-2676). I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of yours communication of 15th instant in regard to certain advertisement for sale of native medicine which appeared in my newspaper on 29th June last (1910). In reply I have to inform you that the advertisement in question was received and inserted in the usual course of business, notice about same was only taken on the Fokien calling our attention. / It is the business of a newspaper to insert advertisements received from the public, and we have done so since our paper was established 38 years ago, keeping up in the same line as all the other newspaper, and as the advertisers always insert in their advertisement their hong names and address I presume it would be much easier and more correct for the Police to stop the sale of objectionable medicines of any other articles direct at such hongs and order than to withdraw their advertisements, instead of asking the newspaper to stop (p.2/2) such insertions which some times is not easy for the newspaper office to do. We have, since our establishment been always willing to render assistance either to the Council of the Police, and we do expect their assistance also whenever necessary.
- The Council regret that the terms of your reply to its letter of July 15 indicate so clearly that the action recently commenced against your newspaper should preferably have been pressed to a conclusion. It contains incorrect statements of which it is necessary to record a contradiction. It is not the business of the newspaper to insert advertisements received from the public when these advertisements are of such wording that their publication constituted an offence against public decency. It is not more correct to stop the sale of the medicines in question. Such assistance from the Police as may be expected for the future in respect to these advertisements will be confined to immediate action in the Mixed Court. Letter to H.A. Pereira (Manager of the Shunbao) from Acting Secretary), July 19, 1910. Source: SMA (SMC), U1-2-651 (2677)
- Two conflicting visions of newspapers business and functions/duties (to insert advertisement vs. to preserve public decency) and two opposed strategies to eradicate objectionable advertising (removing the offending products from the market vs. removing the offending advertisements from the papers)
- Public Works Department
- Fire Brigade
- Public Health Department (U1-4-819)
- Bureau of Social Affairs (U1-4-819 (0359)
- Bureau of Public Safety (U1-4-819 (0359)
MUNICIPAL ACTIONS: REGULATIONS OR PROSECUTIONS?
Regulating outdoor advertising
- Permit clause No. ??? notifying that advertising agents/proprietors of the advertising structure are responsible for any accident caused by their hoarding
Limiting the projection of signs
- Shanghai Municipal Council Regulations (192?): Projecting no more than 3 feet over the public way, hanging at a height of no less than 11 feet above the ground
- In the French Concession: "taxe de saillie"
- An unexpected reversal of political practices: absolute prohibition in the International Settlement vs. prohibitive taxation in the French Concession
An in-between case: Regulating advertising for entertainments quite regardless of the medium (street or press advertising)
- Notice is hereby given that no matter of offensive or immoral nature or any matter liable to prejudice the preservation of peace and good order shall be advertised. Any person or persons publishing such advertisements will be prosecuted according to law. Extract from the Municipal Gazette Published July 25, 1941 - Notification No. 5499 - Advertisements. Source: SMA (SMC), U1-4-3821 (0397)
- Conditions 3 & 10 of the Circus, Fair, Dancing Saloon or other place of Public Entertainment Licence. The Commissioner of Police desires to control advertisements on hoardings. With regard to the first of the two Police suggestions it would appear that the Police may inspect advertising matter in connection with certain entertainments under the following condition of the Circus, Fair, Dancing Saloon or other place of Public Entertainment Licence: "10 - No obscene or indecent performance and no performance liable to cause a breach of the peace or affect the good order of the Settlement shall take place, and the licensee shall submit to the Commissioner of Police not later that Thursday of each wee full details of the programs and advertising matter for the following week/ The following condition also appears in the Sing-Song and Story-teller Licence: "3 - No vaudeville performance, or any performance except sing-song and story-telling, shall be held on the premises without a licence first obtained therefor. The license shall submit to the Commissioner of Police beforehand full details of all performances which are to take place on the premises. With regard to cinematograph advertisements a similar condition might be introduced in the license or possibly control might be vested in the Board of Film Censors by a separate condition or by amendment of Condition No.8 which reads as follows: "8 - No films slide or matter in any other form which has not been certified within the proceeding six months by the Board of Film Censors for public exhibition shall be shown without the written permission to the Council. I shall be grateful for you views on the above points and also as to giving effect to the second Police suggestion. Assistant Secretary (Mr. Lang) to the Municipal Advocate - Advertisement Hoardings. June 30, 1941. Source: SMA (SMC), U1-4-819 (0407-0411).
Prosecuting newspapers advertising related to health
Prohibition of newspaper advertisements of quack doctors and medicines
- The translation of the advertisements in the Chinese Press relating to quack doctors and nostrums, of which specimens were received with Despatch No. 985 dated April 21 1933, from the Municipality of Greater Shanghai, are now complete. They have been submitted to the Municipal Advocate who expresses the opinion that the "Regulations Governing Newspapers Advertisements" mentioned in the Despatch, cannot be applied in the Settlement, but that a prosecution against the editors of the newspapers concerned under the Chinese Publication Laws may be successful. Arrangements are therefore being made to have a number of the offenders, whose advertisements appear to be the most objectionable, brought up as test cases. Should the proceedings against there be successful, similar action will be taken against the others. Report by Commissioner of Police. May 24, 1933. Source: SMA (SMC), U1-4-819 (0352).
- SMC's mixed strategy: depending both on the advertising medium and the advertised content/product