Advertising on Chinese Food Take-Out Containers


Photo: Raphael Brion

The intrusion of advertising on every possible surface is relentless, and more or less inevitable. First it was coffee cups and sleeves, then seat-back trays in airplanes, then pizza boxes, and now even the lowly Chinese food take-out box is a vehicle for companies to pimp their products.

Getting this delivered to my apartment in Brooklyn (from New King Food in Park Slope) the other night wasn't all that surprising, but still, shades of Idiocracy. Apparently, advertising on Chinese take-out boxes is nothing new — the New York Times wrote about Cingular doing it back in 2002. But as a somewhat frequent consumer of junky Chinese food, this is the first time I've come across it.


Photo: Raphael Brion / Eat Me Daily

There's something beautifully contextual about this particular ad (in that online advertising kind of way). Promoting the video game Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars on the Nintendo DS (buy at Amazon) on Chinese take-out boxes targets exactly what sort of demographic? The lazy and unmotivated? Maybe it's an inside joke, a play on the stereotype of video gamers spending countless hours trying to beat a game, with take-out containers strewn about their living rooms?

Research reveals that this particular instance is perhaps a leftover promotional item originally sent to video game reviewers. Now being distributed to Chinese take-out restaurants, who save a few pennies and turn their customers into a captive and marketable audience.

Regardless, this is the future, for soon there will be advertising projected onto the moon, embedded in our skulls, geo-located, based on ocular scans, and mining our social networking profile data for relevancy. Might as well get over it and embrace it.

—Raphael Brion

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Comment Feed

  1. Don

    The final frontier!

  2. JW

    Was the meal discounted?

  3. What a fantastic idea. They should do it on all the doggy bags/boxes.

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