Most ads by Western companies tut-tutting about counterfeiting and piracy in China come across as strictly tut-tutting, and therefore don't do much good. Yesterday in Chengdu airport, in Sichuan province near the middle of China, I saw a series of eye-catching very large ads by Microsoft warning against the (ubiquitous) pirate copies of their software.

The ads were variations on a theme: a serpent coiled inside a computer, ants climbing into the back of a computer, other sort of vermin getting into the machinery. Two samples below:


Despite the different illustrations, the big characters at the bottom were the same. They say (according to me) something like: Is it worth the risk? This may not do that much good either. But the psychology is an improvement over scolding, and at a moment when Chinese customers realize that there are perils in what they buy, eat, and use, the psychology might actually be shrewd.