Benjamin Li
May 16, 2013

DDB Shanghai wins J&J's Elsker

SHANGHAI - DDB Shanghai has won its first Johnson & Johnson baby care brand, Elsker, and has been tasked to develop the product's brand differentiation within an intensely competitive market.

DDB Shanghai wins J&J's Elsker

Through a global alignment, DDB has handled J&J’s beauty care business, including Neutrogena and Clean & Clear, for more than six years. Angie Wong, business director of DDB Shanghai, said the Elsker win is a significant one for the agency.

Elsker is a Chinese/Danish joint venture brand that was established in Shanghai in 2006, and which J&J acquired at the beginning of this year.

Wong said the brand's products range from detergent to lotion with market share mainly in Shanghai and northern China through hypermarkets like Carrefour, Wal-Mart and the recently popular ‘baby and moms’ retail outlets. But in Southern China, there is intense competition with J&J Baby, which is the market leader, Pigeon (a Japanese brand) and a host of local brands like Frog Prince and Yue Mei Jing.

Communications for Elsker was previously done by a local creative agency and was mainly product-driven, focusing on its European formula and heritage, Wong said. OMD is the media agency.

Since the acquisition, the client’s immediate task is to stabilise the brand and its strong existing markets in Northern China in the first year, and gradually take advantage of J&J’s distribution to further expand to other cities.

DDB is preparing its first major print ad campaign for baby-related magazines in June, utilising its existing brand ambassador, Chinese TV actor Lu Yi and his wife Bao Lei (鲍蕾), who is also an actress.

The couple's family image will boost the brand building, Wong pointed out, especially in second- and third-tier cities in China. She explained that celebrity endorsements still carry a lot of weight with more conservative consumers.

Asked whether J&J Baby would overshadow Elsker, Wong said each brand has slightly different market positioning: J&J Baby is mainly a mass-market brand, while Elsker, with its natural ingredients, is actually slightly pricier.

How about competition from online shopping through channels like Taobao in China for international baby skincare brands?

Wong pointed out that skincare and baby-care products are in very different categories. Although net-savvy shoppers can buy most overseas brands online, ordinary folks, especially those in the second- and third-tier markets, still prefer to shop for such products in supermarkets. And due to the lack of sales and distribution channels, it is still very difficult for international brands to enter the Chinese market.

Campaign Asia

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