Archives for the month of: August, 2010

David Beckham appearing on a Chinese Variety Show in 2008

Japan, Korea and other countries in Asia have been using foreign celebrities to promote their products for a number of years. Yet, a recent press release from the Associated Press stated that foreign celebrity endorsement will now become an integral part of Chinese brand strategies as they try to establish themselves in their domestic and international markets.

This turn of strategy is likely to have come about as Chinese consumers now find themselves bombarded with, much like their Western counterparts, advertising everyday. It is quite incredible considering that 20 years ago the Chinese advertising industry barely existed.

The country is developing rapidly in certain regions and this has been reflected in the nation’s advertising spend on TV, radio, newspapers and magazines which grew 14 percent last year to 597 billion RMB (around £5.4billion) – a truly colossal sum.

China loves Kobe Bryant!

On my first visit to China I spent much of my time in Anhui Province (central China) and it was not until after a few months later that I visited Shanghai. I found the difference between Chinese people outside Shanghai and those living within the city was quite striking. The citizens of Shanghai are like ‘Westerners’; the way they walk, the clothes they wear, the food they eat, and the technology they use is so different to the majority of Chinese people living elsewhere.

A recent survey of 15,000 Chinese consumers by McKinsey & Co. found that Chinese consumers are now “extremely brand conscious.” They demand the same things that any other consumer living in a developed country would.

Kobe Bryant - Big in CHINA

These demands have arisen quickly, but advertising in China is still catching up – many people forget that China is still a developing country. In the US and UK brands have to be extremely innovative now to break through the advertising smog, but in China advertising is still relatively new and celebrity (particularly foreign) endorsement strategies currently have much greater effectiveness than they would in the western hemisphere.

To that end here are some examples of celebrity endorsements in China to date:

David Beckham – Motorola Razr V8 (2007)
David Beckham - Chinese TV Show 1

David Beckham - Chinese TV Show promotion 2

Kevin Garnett – Anta Sports
Kevin Garnett - Anta Sports 2010 (1)

Kevin Garnett - Anta Sports 2010 (2)

Orlando Bloom – Me & City (2010)
Orlando Bloom - Me & City (2010)

Wentworth Miller – Me & City (2009)
Wentworth Miller - Me & City (2009) ad

Wentworth Miller - Me & City (2009) promo

Lionel Messi – Cherry Automobiles (2010)
Lionel Messi - Cherry Automobiles 1

Lionel Messi - Cherry Automobiles 2

Thierry Henry and Kaka – Pepsi (2009)
Thierry Henry  - Pepsi China (2009)

Kaka - Pepsi China (2009)

Cristiano Ronaldo – Clear Shampoo (2009)
Cristiano Ronaldo - Clear Shampoo (2009)


Nike - Free Run 1

Nike - Free Run 2

Nike - Free Run 3

Nike - Free Run 4

Let’s keep this short and sweet. Here are the latest Nike (耐克 – Nài kè) posters to launch in China. They are promoting Nike Free Run trainers and to be honest there’s not much more to say about them.

However, if you want to find out more about Nike‘s Chinese offering check out:

Credit to: W+K Shanghai

Li-Ning (李宁) is definitely doing its utmost to fulfill its new slogan ‘Make the Change‘.

For the first time in its history, Li-Ning has embraced video sharing platforms to promote its products. Since the re-brand Li-Ning has been completely rejuvenated, and the brand is undoubtedly one the hottest and most exciting brands in China right now.

Further to this, the Chinese sportswear giant has just released five well-produced and engaging virals (below) to promote its youth centric ‘After 90‘ (90后) range:

Luminous Badminton (夜光羽毛球 – Yèguāng yǔmáoqiú)

Magnetic Trainers (磁力球鞋 – Cílì qiúxié)

Power Trainers (充电跑鞋 – Chōngdiàn pǎoxié)

Laser Trainers (激光球鞋 – Jīguāng qiúxié)

Fan Trainers (风扇球鞋 – Fēngshàn qiúxié)

The virals present some really neat ideas and will no doubt be lapped up by Chinese Netizens.

Chinese car ads are getting better and better aren’t they?

My next question, but a non-rhetorical one, is why are Chinese consumers so obsessed with Long Wheel Based saloons? It’s a question that has bugged me for a while, and I can only assume that there is a ‘the bigger the car – the richer you are’ mentality amongst the wealthier Chinese citizens.

Nonetheless there is clearly a huge demand for these types of vehicles. Both Audi and BMW already have recently released Long Wheel Base editions of their executive saloon cars to grab a share of the growing Chinese market in mind. You may recall the previous post last week about BMW ‘s launch of the 5 Series Li.

So here is the Mercedes E- Class (E300L) or as you would say in Chinese Méi sài dé sī (梅赛德斯). It’s essentially a stretched version of their that is available in the European and American markets. It follows in the footsteps of the Mercedes S600 which has the greatest sales in China than any other country.

The technical details of the vehicle are neither here nor there but the advert itself is something I’m quite a fan of as it’s crafted with a beautiful Chinese twist. Just in case you fancy buying one, i’m afraid like many of the other new Long Wheel Base edition cars, it’s only available in China.

Credit to: Jung Von Matt

The message of the above commercial is 天天喝养乐多 (or in pinyin ‘Tiāntiān hē yǎng lè duō’) which in English translates to ‘Drink Yakult Every Day‘.

For those of you who don’t know, Yakult is a probiotic drink and just to educate you ‘probiotic‘ refers to ‘live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host’. hmm.

Yakult is actually originally from Japan and the Japanese call it ヤクルト pronounced in English as ‘Yakuruto’. The Chinese on the other hand call the drink, ‘Yì duō‘ (益多).

Anyway back to the marketing campaign. As well as the TV advert, Yakult has been promoting its product across China in a variety of ways. Including subway advertising to print ads which are shown below:

Yakult China - Image 1

Yakult China - Image 2

Yakult China - Image 3

Yakult China - Image 4

The Yakult brand is further becoming an extremely popular amongst urban Chinese citizens. Before I finish I thought it would make an interesting comparison to see the Chinese commercial against the current UK / USA TV ads:



Despite their current differences it wasn’t too long ago when the British Yakult ads were along the lines of China’s current commercials.

Credit to: M&C Saatchi (Shanghai Branch)

We’ve all seen innovative outdoor and online ads but now i’d like to show you some exciting examples of magazine advertising that have recently featured across a number of Chinese publications.

Motorola ‘Backflip’ (后空翻) ME600 – Bookmark
The Backflip (后空翻) or in pinyin Hòu kōngfān is the nickname of the Motorola ME600 mobile phone – which is only available in China and has the differentiating feature is the screen’s ability to ‘backflip’ onto itself:
Motorola ME600 (The 'Backflip' phone)

Motorola promoted the phone by providing magazine readers a free bookmark in the style of the ME600. The freebie has a magnetic finish and highlights the backflip ability of the phone.

Motorola BACKFLIP ME600 (1)
Motorola BACKFLIP ME600 (2)
Motorola BACKFLIP ME600 - Bookmark (3)An explanatory presentation is available here, unfortunately it is in Chinese but has plenty of pictures so you may get the jist of it.

座驾Car (Car Car) Magazine: At First Glance Advertising
Chinese motoring magazine 座驾Car or in English ‘Car Car’ adopted what the Chinese call 第一眼 (Dì yīyǎn) which translates to ‘at first glance’ advertising:
Car Car Magazine - Image 1

Car Car Magazine - Image 2
The genius of ‘at first glance’ advertising is that the magazine publisher places packaging around the magazine in such a way that it forces the reader to open the up the magazine at the advert. Thus almost guaranteeing exposure to the reader. A very nice idea.

Samsung: Camera Picture Book
To promote their latest camera, Samsung decided to create a miniture picture book to be stuck on the front of magazines. It’s not the most innovative idea of the bunch but worth a look nonetheless:
Samsung Camera Picture Book promo - 1

Samsung Camera Picture Book promo - 2

Mengniu: Pull-tab front cover
I’m a big fan of the pull-tab as it takes me back to my childhood days, and the intention of Mengniu (蒙牛) was to demonstrate innocence. So hats off to brand. It features on the front cover of the youth magazine, ‘Yoho‘ which has the tagline ‘Being young is an attitude’ – it’s actually really cool magazine.
Mengniu Magazine Cover - 1

Mengniu Magazine Cover - 2

Mengniu Magazine Cover - 3

Sony Ericsson: W595 Walkman – Butterfly Gatefold advertising
Sony have delivered a unique type of tabbed advertising called the ‘Butterfly Gatefold’, it looks great:
Sony Ericsson (Butterfly Gatefold) - 1

Sony Ericsson (Butterfly Gatefold) - 2

Sony Ericsson: W20 Walkman – Hidden discovery magazine cover
Hiding a treat for readers inside the magazine cover itself is something I have never seen before. A lovely idea that surely delighted the magazines readers!
Sony Ericsson (Hidden Discovery) - 1

Sony Ericsson (Hidden Discovery) - 2

Sony Ericsson (Hidden Discovery) - 3

Levi’s: Flip-out magazine cover
Exactly what it says on the tin. The magazine this ad features is 1626 another very trendy Chinese magazine.
Levi's: Flip out magazine cover - 1

Levi's: Flip out magazine cover - 2

Levi's: Flip out magazine cover - 3

A wonderful selection of creative ideas i’m sure you will agree. Long live the magazine!

This is the latest spoof advertisement from the notorious ‘Hugo‘ (胡戈):

It’s a rather amusing take of 7-Up’s Chinese current promotion where Hugo demonstrates the downside of findng a winning 7-Up bottlecap. The video is already very popular in China.

Within 24 hours of being uploaded to Hugo’s official Youku page it had already been viewed over 150,000 times and has even been awarded honours for its immediate popularity.

Who is Hugo?
Hugo is known as 网络恶搞第一人 (Wǎngluò ègǎo dì yīrén) aka the first man to spoof the network.

HugoHe is from Wuhan (Hubei Province) and has previously produced a number of other spoof videos that can be viewed on Hugo’s Sina page. If you like his videos Hugo would like to let you know that he is available for work.

I will be following his latest spoof over the next few weeks to see how it progresses.

Absolut 72Swedish Vodka brand Absolut has this month produced 350,000 limited edition bottles solely for the Chinese market. The limited edition range is branded as Absolut 72变. The Chinese character ‘ is written in pinyin as ‘Biàn’, which translates in English to mean ‘Transformations’ or ‘Changes’.

Why ‘72 Transformations’?
The name is a reference to the Chinese novel Journey to West, further details about the famous book can be found in one my previous posts here. Absolut has dedicated the designs / title of it’s range around arguably the most famous character in the novel – Sun Wukong (孫悟空)  – aka The Monkey King.

The print ads
Before I get on to explaining the significance of The Monkey King, we will get onto looking at the bottle designs and their advertisements (below). Absolut wanted to ensure that the bottles had a true feel of China and innovation, so they hired two local Chinese creatives — the artist Gāo Yǔ (高瑀) and photographer Chén Màn (陈曼).  Gāo designed the bottles and Chén created the associated photography. The results of their collaboration are stunning:

Absolut 72 - Monkiwi 2
‘Monkiwi’Absolut 72 - Monkiwi 3

‘Ginger Ale’
Absolut 72 - Ginger Ale 1

Absolute 72 - Tonic 1

Absolute 72 - Cranberries

Who is Sun Wukong?
He is the first character that readers come across in the novel Journey to the West . He was born out of a mystical stone which gave him immense powers including super speed and incredible strength.

Sun Wukong (BBC Olympics Version)

Yet his greatest power came in his ability to perform 72 transformations. He could change himself into everyday objects as well as people themselves.

For many years he was happy ruling the monkeys who lived on his home mountain. However, Sun quickly realised that despite all his powers he was still only mortal so he went up to Heaven to seek immortality — but was refused. So he started a war with the gods and caused havoc in the heavenly kingdom.

It was only when Buddha stepped in that the Monkey King was impeded. Buddha imprisoned him under a mountain. 500 years later a monk was sent to travel from China to India to collect the holy Buddhist scriptutres, he took Monkey out of Buddha’s imprisonment and made him his disciple and the tales they have travelling together form the basis of Journey to the West.

Why do so many brands utilise Sun Wukong?
Sun Wukong has become much more than just a character in a book. He is a hero to many Chinese citizens, and he is embedded deep into Chinese culture of past and present. Chairman Máo Zédōng (毛泽东) referred to the Monkey when he promised to bring China out of poverty. There is a even Chinese festival to celebrate him.

If you’re a film-fanatic, a character resembling the hero also appeared the 2008 film ‘The Forbidden Kingdomstarring Jet Li and Jackie Chan.

For those of you in the UK, you may remember the Monkey as part of the BBC‘s Beijing 2008 Olympics coverage:

Sun Wukong is a national symbol of Chinese people and their values, which is why so many western and domestic brands utilise him as a tool to communicate messages to the country’s consumers.

For some reason this ad makes me smile…

The commercial promotes COFCO’s (The largest food manufacturer, processor and trader in China) drink brand ‘Lohas‘.

The girl in the advertisement is the famous Taiwanese model and actress Lin Chi-Ling (林志玲). It’s not the most inspiring or original ad that I’ve seen of late, but it certainly cheered me up after a long day at work.

Credit to: JWT (Beijing Branch)

I’d like to introduce you all to Forever Bicycles (永久 – Yǒng jiǔ).

Forever C Bikes

For those of you who have no idea who this organisation is I’ll give you a quick introduction. Forever Bicycles stretch back all the way to 1940 when the company was orignially founded as Shanghai Forever Co. Ltd.

50 years down the line the organisation was listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange and following the turn of the millenia the company turned it’s focus to creating eco-friendly products.

Forever Bicycles produces four million bikes per year and is the top domestic producer of bikes  in China. This week the organisation announced that a new range of bikes will launch shortly under the brand Forever C (永久C).

Forever C logo
One can draw comparisons of this new brand / range to Adidas’sAdidas Orginals brand. It essentially takes old styled bikes and gives them a modern makeover. They are as the cool kids say – retro.

So why the name Forever C?
Well the ‘C’ has six meanings:

  • China — 中国 (Zhōng guó)
  • Classic — 经典 (Jīng diǎn)
  • City — 都市 (Dū shì)
  • Colourful — 多彩 (Duō cǎi)
  • Cycle — 自行车 (Zì xíng chē)
  • Culture — 文化 (Wén huà)

With the above in mind, the new brand offers consumers bicycles that are light, eco-friendly, stylish, and modern. They are available from September, and the Forever C website launches August 20th 2010. As part of this announcement Forever C has already released some seriously cool print ads (below):

Forever C - Print Ad 1

Forever C - Print Ad 2

Forever C - Print Ad 3

Forever C - Print Ad 4

Forever C - Print Ad 5

Forever C - Print Ads 6

Forever C - Print Ad 7

I don’t know about you but I’d love to get my hands on one…

Forever C - Bicycle

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