China’s government is said to have spent over two hundred
million dollars on the opening ceremony of the Olympic games.
It was worth every cent.
Not even China could have afforded the advertising it got
for free – page after page of full colour photographs in practically every
newspaper in the world, and prime time television on every news programme.
Every one of director Zhang Yimou’s brilliant images proclaimed that the
horrific Maoist experiment had been replaced by a confident superpower,
respectful of its past but looking to the future.
Complaints about China’s record on the environment, human
rights, and religious freedom, or the lack thereof, were confined to a few
token words which no one read or heard – everyone was looking at the pictures.
Even the news that a pretty child who seemed to sing so
sweetly was in fact miming to a more homely child with a better voice was
simply an excuse to show the pictures all over again.
There is a lesson here for all entrepreneurs, even those of
us without two hundred million to burn: all problems can be overlooked if you
put on a big enough show.