After a competitive pitch in January with Trio Worldwide and an undisclosed local agency, Leo Burnett Beijing was contracted by Funglian Group (丰联集团) under Legend Holdings (联想控股) as the lead creative agency for these brands. There was no incumbent before.
The key task is to revamp the brand images for both and to develop relevant integrated communications programmes to support them. This includes commissioning Alan Chan (陈幼坚), renowned Hong Kong-trained graphic designer, to work on new packaging for the Wen Wang Gong (文王贡酒) product.
In 2013, LB will focus on TVC branding and in-store activations. Over the next two to three years, both spirits brands will be repositioned away from their regional focus and integrated on a national scale. Currently, Ban Cheng Shao (板城烧锅酒) is known only in Hebei, while Anhui consumers are more familiar with Wen Wang Gong (文王贡酒).
Castro Tian, director of client services at Leo Burnett Beijing told Campaign Asia-Pacific the Chinese spirits market is highly competitive and fragmented, yet has huge potential.
Funglian has expanded its business mainly through acquisitions of smaller rivals. In July 2011, it gained a controlling stake in Wuling Spirits in Hunan province. Three months later, it acquired Ban Cheng Spirits in Hebei province. In September 2012, a 100 per cent share ownership of Qufu Confucius Family Spirits in Shandong province went to the company. Another acquisition of Anhui's Wen Wang Gong Spirits was completed recently in January 2013.
Funglian expects to speed up its buying of more spirits brands, and aims to ultimately become a holding company managing a portfolio of previously regional spirits brands.