If you take the Taipei Metro, you will know that instrumental music is broadcast at stations on different lines, with each line featuring a unique theme. However, passengers taking the Bannan Line (Blue Line) and the Songshan–Xindian Line (Green Line) last Tuesday would have heard the new jingle for Haolai toothpaste as trains neared the platform.
Haolai, formerly known as “Heiren” — meaning “black person” in Chinese — is the most famous toothpaste brand in Taiwan. Its English name was originally “Darkie” but the owners dropped the racially-charged name and replaced it with “Darlie” in 1989. The skin tone of the mascot was also changed from black to white, but the Chinese name for “Darkie” remained unchanged until this March, when “Heiren” officially became “Haolai.”
On May 10, instead of the standard melody, passengers taking the Blue Line heard a new theme song sung by singer William Wei, also known by his stage name WeiBird. The key refrain from the song is: “Heiren toothpaste of the past is now Haolai / fresh and confident / Call me Haolai.”
Photo: CNA 照片：中央社
Taipei Rapid Transit Corporation explained that the idea for a creative advertisement was proposed by Haolai toothpaste and is a first for Taipei Metro. Haolai toothpaste hopes that WeiBird’s song can convey a “fresh and appealing” brand image to the public, an image that Taipei Metro happens to share.
(Translated by Rita Wang, Taipei Times)
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