Taipei Universiade under fire for banner design

The China Post news staff

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Despite stepping up marketing efforts to promote the games, Taipei Universiade organizers have faced criticism yet again over some questionable design choices. With nearly 200 days to go before next year’s Summer Universiade kicks off, one of the games’ large promotional banners hanging near National Taiwan University (NTU, 台大) went viral for featuring Shanghai’s skyscape as its background, including silhouettes of famous buildings, such as the Oriental Pearl Tower, Shanghai World Financial Center and the Jinmao Building. “Wasn’t the Universiade supposed to promote Taipei City?” asked one netizen. The games are set to take place in Taipei next August, bringing together 12,000 people from 150 countries.

This isn’t the first time the organizing committee has come under fire, having been criticized for a lack of advertising and for failing to build up public enthusiasm for the multi-sport event. In light of mounting criticism, the committee recently boosted its promotional efforts — including displaying posters and banners on the side of garbage trucks, on construction site fences and putting its logo on medicine packaging at Taipei City Hospital. Taipei Universiade Organizing Committee spokesman Yang Ching-tang (楊景棠) said Monday all branches of the city government have been mobilized to promote the games by making promotional material according to visual guidelines decided by the committee.

Yang said they would invite concerned parties to evaluate the banner in question, promising to take it down if it is found to be “inappropriate.” He also claimed that around 90 percent of the public were aware of the Universiade and promotional efforts had successfully entered their second stage as planned. “We’ve established a brand consultancy team that will strictly assess all promotional material in the future and introduce the Universiade to people through creative means.” Copy and Paste Mistake: Mayor Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said the disputed design “could just be changed.”

“I can imagine it was because people nowadays often crop and copy and paste photos. And (the designer) went overboard with the pasting,” Ko said. He said he was not certain that the games would be “spectacular,” but expressed confidence that the event would proceed without incident In June, the Taipei mayor said if the Summer Universiade 2017 were not “successfully hosted,” he would perform seppuku. Seppuku or hara-kiri is a highly ritualized form of suicide that involves self-disembowelment. The city government won the right in 2011 to host the 2017 Summer Universiade, an international sporting and cultural festival that is staged every two years in a different city. It is regarded as second only to the Olympic Games. The Summer Universiade consists of 11 compulsory sports, with 14 compulsory disciplines and up to three optional sports chosen by the host country. Organizers said Taiwanese athletes must compete under the name “Chinese Taipei,” as they do in the Olympic Games. Fans, however, will be permitted to display the national flag of the Republic of China.