To create an English-friendly environment, the Tainan City Government assisted local shops in translating and printing bilingual menus, and also actively promoted these English-friendly shops. Recently, the city government took another step forward in encouraging proprietors to jointly contribute to the English-friendly environment. At the end of last year (2018), it organized the first-ever “Tainan City English-Friendly Shop Promotional Video Competition,” and invited residents to create English promotional videos for shops. The city government hoped to promote the engagement of residents through this activity by encouraging them to create English promotional and profile videos for shops and upload them to YouTube or other social media, which could then attract foreign visitors. In this way, everyone could help to boost the economy together. The awards ceremony for the competition took place today (Jan. 10), with Tainan City Deputy Mayor Hsu Yu-tien on hand to personally confer the awards.
The deputy mayor thanked the award winners and shops, describing them as “international marketing ambassadors” for the city. Hsu said the city government is organizing all types of activities to encourage even more businesses to participate in the creation of an English-friendly environment as well as market and promote English-friendly shops. For example, a foreign mystery customer activity was able to successfully attract the attention of an American Internet celebrity. She flew to Tainan at her own expense to sample the city’s famed culinary delicacies, helping to gain international exposure for Tainan’s food. This year, the “Tainan City English-Friendly Shop Promotional Video Competition” was organized for the first time. City residents shot promotional videos in English for shops, with the aim of getting the ball rolling in encouraging more residents to use English to sell the city’s culinary delights and culture to the world, thereby creating business opportunities.
The organizer was the Tainan City Government’s Office of English as the Second Official Language (OEASOL). It said in the past, many shop owners declined the opportunity to participate in the English-friendly shops plan on the grounds that “there aren’t any foreigners coming in here to spend money anyway.” This made it very difficult for the OEASOL to get shops to join the plan. It therefore developed a marketing plan to increase the exposure of shops. Now, three years later, the plan has received public commendation and shops are clamoring to join. They are now working alongside the city government to boost the economy. It is hoped this will result in a win-win-win situation: allow foreigners to feel at ease when spending, help shops to fill their coffers, and most importantly, encourage “everyone to learn a little English” while setting the foundation for a bilingual city.
Foreign personality Molly, who served as one of the judges for the competition, said she noticed competitors introducing shops entirely in English and shop employees responding in English. This showed Tainan’s policy to implement English as the second official language is already effective. Although there was room for improvement in the filming skills of students, their entries were full of creativity and attention to detail. Molly said what left the most lasting impression on her was the participation of a group composed of German and Malaysian students. They harmonized their different cultural backgrounds to add variety and a global outlook to their video. They also used English for the entire video, giving them the opportunity to listen to and speak English while filming. German competitor and amateur actor Daniele Tonni said he first heard about Tainan’s campaign to promote English-friendly shops from friends, and then about the English promotional video competition organized by the city government. He decided to draw on his expertise to create a promotional video for a local shop. Tonni praised the use of creative videos as a marketing strategy, saying this activity was really fun and novel. He also learned new things about Tainan’s culinary delicacies while shooting the video, greatly enhancing his impressions of the city.
The subject of the gold medal award-winning promotional film was Lemon Coffee. Proprietor Du Ming-hong said there were never English promotional video competitions in the past, and therefore he felt this activity was novel and interesting. He hopes it will result in his coffee shop attracting the attention of consumers and foreign visitors. He also expressed his hope that the city government can expand the activity in the future, such as by allowing online voting, to get even more shops to participate as well as increase discussions about and interest in the activity among the public.
The OEASOL said the gold medal award-winning team received a certificate, a trophy, and a cash prize of NT$10,000. The two silver medal award-winning teams received a certificate, a trophy, and a cash prize of NT$8,000. The three bronze medal award-winning teams received a certificate, a trophy, and a cash prize of NT$5,000. The three honorable mention award-winning teams received a certificate, a trophy, and a cash prize of NT$2,000. The award-winning videos can be watched on YouTube and will also be uploaded to the Tainan English-Friendly Map for foreign visitors to search and view.