Benjamin Li
Aug 28, 2012

A.S. Watson Group consolidates regional media account under OMG

REGIONAL - A.S. Watson Group (ASW) has announced the results of its regional pitch: the retailer will consolidate its regional media account under OmniCom Media Group (OMG) agencies PHD and OMD.

Ella Koon, brand ambassador for Watsons stores
Ella Koon, brand ambassador for Watsons stores

After a pitch process of nearly four months, the Group has decided to partner with the OMD Group to support its Asia businesses in media planning and buying services. OMD will serve Watsons (covering Mainland China, Taiwan, Korea, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand), and PHD will serve the Group’s Hong Kong businesses including Watsons, PARKnSHOP, Watson’s Wine, Fortress, Watsons Water and Citrus Growers International. Both agencies have been awarded a 24-month contract starting from 1 September.

Prior to this regional pitch, PHD had won the brand's media account in Hong Kong for two years starting in 2010, and that relationship had been extended for another six months. OMD has been handling ASW's media business in China and Thailand. And ZenithOptimedia currently holds the media account for the company's Watsons stores in Taiwan, Singapore and one or two other markets.

ASW is part of the Hong Kong-based conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa. Apart from its Watsons personal care retail chain, ASW also has the Park-N-Shop supermarket chain and electronics and home appliance retailer Fortress. DDB is the creative agency for Park-N-Shop, while the client uses a number of smaller creative agencies for Watsons and Fortress.

According to admanGo, ASW's July adspend in Hong Kong amounted to US$6.1 million (HK$47.47 million), increasing by 23 per cent year-on-year. 

Outside the Hong Kong market, ASW only has Watsons stores. According to the ASW website, last December, Watsons Your Personal Store opened its 1,000th store in Mainland China, one of its 33 operating markets; the brand also celebrated the opening of its 10,000th store globally.

In May, Watsons Hong Kong enlisted Tahiti-born, Hong Kong-based Cantopop singer Ella Koon (官恩娜) as its new spokesperson. The company said Koon's sporty, healthy image made her a natural fit as an endorser of the brand, and a new series of commercials featuring her is in development.

A refreshing injection of creativity seems to be needed for the Watsons brand, as one of its direct competitors, Mannings, rolled out a series of few well-received ad campaigns created by Hong Kong-based creative agency Metta. For example, the brand created some buzz with last year's introduction of its Mann card, which offered Asia's first ‘real time’ pharmacist consultations by iPhone, as well as the Mannings digital cat ad for its 40th anniversary earlier this year. This summer local film actor Lau Ching Wan (劉青雲), well-known for his macho image, played a comical role in a Manning's TVC focusing on the pain and effort Hong Kong women go through to keep up their beauty regimes.

Campaign China

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