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Clients' 'holistic' approach leads to change in global network
priorities
Feb 1, 2001

Clients' 'holistic' approach leads to change in global network priorities

Global agency networks are giving roughly equal importance to advertising and marketing communications, because clients are increasingly adopting a holistic approach to their communications strategy. This can easily be seen in such giants as Interpublic Group, WPP and Omnicom, all of which have an array of communications tools at their disposal - media planning and buying, including new media; promotions; public relations; and branding and design in addition to advertising. The situation is similar in Cordiant Communications Group plc, the parent company of Bates and CCG.XM among others. Chairman and CEO Michael Bungey said that three years ago, advertising accounted for 80 per cent of the group's revenue with the remainder earned from marketing communications. Today, it's advertising at 52 per cent and marketing communications at 48 per cent. He predicted that advertising would soon be overshadowed by its younger cousins. "I think that marketing communications already outstrips advertising on a general basis. For us, that hasn't yet happened, but it will do in the near future," Mr Bungey told MEDIA. Cordiant's commitment to marketing communications is underlined by a range of companies operating in this field such as 141 Worldwide, Fitch and PSD. The group has also made its first venture into PR following the acquisition of an Australian operation, PPR. Said Mr Bungey, "PPR will be developed in Asia. Hopefully, it will go global over the next few years." However, he stressed that the advances made by marketing communications have not been at the expense of advertising at Cordiant. Marketing communications, he said, was expanding at a much faster double-digit rate, while advertising was growing at around six per cent annually: "It's not a case of the pie shrinking. It is actually growing." Mr Bungey said the emphasis on marketing communications came mainly from the fact that clients were now embracing a whole host of communications capabilities to build brands in an integrated and holistic manner. "Branding is one of the prime discriminators of similar products produced and sold by many different companies. Take automobiles as an example; there aren't any bad cars - some are good while others are better, and so the only discriminator is how they are branded. "It is, therefore, a must to nurture and guard a brand. Unless constantly fed, the brand will weaken. Companies recognise this. They also recognise that they have many different ways in which to build a brand," Mr Bungey said.

Premium
Clients' 'holistic' approach leads to change in global network
priorities
Feb 1, 2001

Clients' 'holistic' approach leads to change in global network priorities

Global agency networks are giving roughly equal importance to advertising and marketing communications, because clients are increasingly adopting a holistic approach to their communications strategy. This can easily be seen in such giants as Interpublic Group, WPP and Omnicom, all of which have an array of communications tools at their disposal - media planning and buying, including new media; promotions; public relations; and branding and design in addition to advertising. The situation is similar in Cordiant Communications Group plc, the parent company of Bates and CCG.XM among others. Chairman and CEO Michael Bungey said that three years ago, advertising accounted for 80 per cent of the group's revenue with the remainder earned from marketing communications. Today, it's advertising at 52 per cent and marketing communications at 48 per cent. He predicted that advertising would soon be overshadowed by its younger cousins. "I think that marketing communications already outstrips advertising on a general basis. For us, that hasn't yet happened, but it will do in the near future," Mr Bungey told MEDIA. Cordiant's commitment to marketing communications is underlined by a range of companies operating in this field such as 141 Worldwide, Fitch and PSD. The group has also made its first venture into PR following the acquisition of an Australian operation, PPR. Said Mr Bungey, "PPR will be developed in Asia. Hopefully, it will go global over the next few years." However, he stressed that the advances made by marketing communications have not been at the expense of advertising at Cordiant. Marketing communications, he said, was expanding at a much faster double-digit rate, while advertising was growing at around six per cent annually: "It's not a case of the pie shrinking. It is actually growing." Mr Bungey said the emphasis on marketing communications came mainly from the fact that clients were now embracing a whole host of communications capabilities to build brands in an integrated and holistic manner. "Branding is one of the prime discriminators of similar products produced and sold by many different companies. Take automobiles as an example; there aren't any bad cars - some are good while others are better, and so the only discriminator is how they are branded. "It is, therefore, a must to nurture and guard a brand. Unless constantly fed, the brand will weaken. Companies recognise this. They also recognise that they have many different ways in which to build a brand," Mr Bungey said.

Premium
Clients' 'holistic' approach leads to change in global network
priorities
Feb 1, 2001

Clients' 'holistic' approach leads to change in global network priorities

Global agency networks are giving roughly equal importance to advertising and marketing communications, because clients are increasingly adopting a holistic approach to their communications strategy. This can easily be seen in such giants as Interpublic Group, WPP and Omnicom, all of which have an array of communications tools at their disposal - media planning and buying, including new media; promotions; public relations; and branding and design in addition to advertising. The situation is similar in Cordiant Communications Group plc, the parent company of Bates and CCG.XM among others. Chairman and CEO Michael Bungey said that three years ago, advertising accounted for 80 per cent of the group's revenue with the remainder earned from marketing communications. Today, it's advertising at 52 per cent and marketing communications at 48 per cent. He predicted that advertising would soon be overshadowed by its younger cousins. "I think that marketing communications already outstrips advertising on a general basis. For us, that hasn't yet happened, but it will do in the near future," Mr Bungey told MEDIA. Cordiant's commitment to marketing communications is underlined by a range of companies operating in this field such as 141 Worldwide, Fitch and PSD. The group has also made its first venture into PR following the acquisition of an Australian operation, PPR. Said Mr Bungey, "PPR will be developed in Asia. Hopefully, it will go global over the next few years." However, he stressed that the advances made by marketing communications have not been at the expense of advertising at Cordiant. Marketing communications, he said, was expanding at a much faster double-digit rate, while advertising was growing at around six per cent annually: "It's not a case of the pie shrinking. It is actually growing." Mr Bungey said the emphasis on marketing communications came mainly from the fact that clients were now embracing a whole host of communications capabilities to build brands in an integrated and holistic manner. "Branding is one of the prime discriminators of similar products produced and sold by many different companies. Take automobiles as an example; there aren't any bad cars - some are good while others are better, and so the only discriminator is how they are branded. "It is, therefore, a must to nurture and guard a brand. Unless constantly fed, the brand will weaken. Companies recognise this. They also recognise that they have many different ways in which to build a brand," Mr Bungey said.

Premium
Clients' 'holistic' approach leads to change in global network
priorities
Feb 1, 2001

Clients' 'holistic' approach leads to change in global network priorities

Global agency networks are giving roughly equal importance to advertising and marketing communications, because clients are increasingly adopting a holistic approach to their communications strategy. This can easily be seen in such giants as Interpublic Group, WPP and Omnicom, all of which have an array of communications tools at their disposal - media planning and buying, including new media; promotions; public relations; and branding and design in addition to advertising. The situation is similar in Cordiant Communications Group plc, the parent company of Bates and CCG.XM among others. Chairman and CEO Michael Bungey said that three years ago, advertising accounted for 80 per cent of the group's revenue with the remainder earned from marketing communications. Today, it's advertising at 52 per cent and marketing communications at 48 per cent. He predicted that advertising would soon be overshadowed by its younger cousins. "I think that marketing communications already outstrips advertising on a general basis. For us, that hasn't yet happened, but it will do in the near future," Mr Bungey told MEDIA. Cordiant's commitment to marketing communications is underlined by a range of companies operating in this field such as 141 Worldwide, Fitch and PSD. The group has also made its first venture into PR following the acquisition of an Australian operation, PPR. Said Mr Bungey, "PPR will be developed in Asia. Hopefully, it will go global over the next few years." However, he stressed that the advances made by marketing communications have not been at the expense of advertising at Cordiant. Marketing communications, he said, was expanding at a much faster double-digit rate, while advertising was growing at around six per cent annually: "It's not a case of the pie shrinking. It is actually growing." Mr Bungey said the emphasis on marketing communications came mainly from the fact that clients were now embracing a whole host of communications capabilities to build brands in an integrated and holistic manner. "Branding is one of the prime discriminators of similar products produced and sold by many different companies. Take automobiles as an example; there aren't any bad cars - some are good while others are better, and so the only discriminator is how they are branded. "It is, therefore, a must to nurture and guard a brand. Unless constantly fed, the brand will weaken. Companies recognise this. They also recognise that they have many different ways in which to build a brand," Mr Bungey said.

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FOCUS: MARKETING TO WOMEN: New survey shatters old image of
Japanese women as subservient
Jan 18, 2001

FOCUS: MARKETING TO WOMEN: New survey shatters old image of Japanese women as subservient

The image of the stereotypical Japanese woman has been shattered by a Beacon Communications study. Instead of being subservient to men, the typical female in Japan today strives to break free from the shackles of tradition; to be aware, educated and independent. Because of this, the study, titled B She, found that women are the instigators of social progress - and proud to be playing this role - while men were more often than not stuck in a rut. Some of the key findings included: "being a woman is fun," "no single role model anymore," "can create a life as they want it to be," and "femininity is a source of power." Beacon executive director of strategic planning Han van Dijk said, "Japanese women are not nearly as edgy or hardnosed as their counterparts in the West, but they are definitely moving up. They are breaking free of all the cultural and traditional restrictions that have been placed on them because they are women. "Men, on the other hand, continue to be governed by tradition; they must be the breadwinner, they must be in a position of dominance. "This is especially true among older males but less so among younger ones." Women in Japan are, therefore, increasingly seen to be more dynamic, discerning and sophisticated compared with men. This, combined with the fact that they strive for independence, has huge implications for marketers, who have realised the change and are increasingly targeting their communications campaigns directly at women. "Women are buying for themselves items which they used to get as gifts," said Mr van Dijk. "Cosmetics, perfume, jewellery, clothing etcetera. In their quest to be seen to be leading their own lives, they are spoiling and pampering themselves." In addition, B She found that 74 per cent of respondents in the study stated that being subservient to men "looks bad" and that 83 per cent regarded compliments from other women as being more important. Other statistics also underline the growing power of women. According to the Institute of Statistical Mathematics, just 27 per cent of women in 1958 said they wanted to be reborn as a woman. But by 2000, that figure had risen sharply to 85 per cent, the B She study found. "Japanese women today can be clustered by two key elements: they like who they are and they give less importance to what men think of them. "The 'look at me' and 'I'm doing my own thing' concepts are very important to them," Mr van Dijk said. In order to effectively target them, marketers have to inspire Japanese women to move in the direction they want to. They must also present a proposal of beauty that comforts them. Similar surveys are planned for the rest of Asia-Pacific. "When you look at women in various countries in the region - India, China, Singapore, Korea - there are radical differences because of demographic and psychographic differences. "All the more reason, therefore, to roll out research to all the major markets of Asia-Pacific," Mr van Dijk said.

Premium
FOCUS: MARKETING TO WOMEN: New survey shatters old image of
Japanese women as subservient
Jan 18, 2001

FOCUS: MARKETING TO WOMEN: New survey shatters old image of Japanese women as subservient

The image of the stereotypical Japanese woman has been shattered by a Beacon Communications study. Instead of being subservient to men, the typical female in Japan today strives to break free from the shackles of tradition; to be aware, educated and independent. Because of this, the study, titled B She, found that women are the instigators of social progress - and proud to be playing this role - while men were more often than not stuck in a rut. Some of the key findings included: "being a woman is fun," "no single role model anymore," "can create a life as they want it to be," and "femininity is a source of power." Beacon executive director of strategic planning Han van Dijk said, "Japanese women are not nearly as edgy or hardnosed as their counterparts in the West, but they are definitely moving up. They are breaking free of all the cultural and traditional restrictions that have been placed on them because they are women. "Men, on the other hand, continue to be governed by tradition; they must be the breadwinner, they must be in a position of dominance. "This is especially true among older males but less so among younger ones." Women in Japan are, therefore, increasingly seen to be more dynamic, discerning and sophisticated compared with men. This, combined with the fact that they strive for independence, has huge implications for marketers, who have realised the change and are increasingly targeting their communications campaigns directly at women. "Women are buying for themselves items which they used to get as gifts," said Mr van Dijk. "Cosmetics, perfume, jewellery, clothing etcetera. In their quest to be seen to be leading their own lives, they are spoiling and pampering themselves." In addition, B She found that 74 per cent of respondents in the study stated that being subservient to men "looks bad" and that 83 per cent regarded compliments from other women as being more important. Other statistics also underline the growing power of women. According to the Institute of Statistical Mathematics, just 27 per cent of women in 1958 said they wanted to be reborn as a woman. But by 2000, that figure had risen sharply to 85 per cent, the B She study found. "Japanese women today can be clustered by two key elements: they like who they are and they give less importance to what men think of them. "The 'look at me' and 'I'm doing my own thing' concepts are very important to them," Mr van Dijk said. In order to effectively target them, marketers have to inspire Japanese women to move in the direction they want to. They must also present a proposal of beauty that comforts them. Similar surveys are planned for the rest of Asia-Pacific. "When you look at women in various countries in the region - India, China, Singapore, Korea - there are radical differences because of demographic and psychographic differences. "All the more reason, therefore, to roll out research to all the major markets of Asia-Pacific," Mr van Dijk said.

Premium
FOCUS: MARKETING TO WOMEN: New survey shatters old image of
Japanese women as subservient
Jan 18, 2001

FOCUS: MARKETING TO WOMEN: New survey shatters old image of Japanese women as subservient

The image of the stereotypical Japanese woman has been shattered by a Beacon Communications study. Instead of being subservient to men, the typical female in Japan today strives to break free from the shackles of tradition; to be aware, educated and independent. Because of this, the study, titled B She, found that women are the instigators of social progress - and proud to be playing this role - while men were more often than not stuck in a rut. Some of the key findings included: "being a woman is fun," "no single role model anymore," "can create a life as they want it to be," and "femininity is a source of power." Beacon executive director of strategic planning Han van Dijk said, "Japanese women are not nearly as edgy or hardnosed as their counterparts in the West, but they are definitely moving up. They are breaking free of all the cultural and traditional restrictions that have been placed on them because they are women. "Men, on the other hand, continue to be governed by tradition; they must be the breadwinner, they must be in a position of dominance. "This is especially true among older males but less so among younger ones." Women in Japan are, therefore, increasingly seen to be more dynamic, discerning and sophisticated compared with men. This, combined with the fact that they strive for independence, has huge implications for marketers, who have realised the change and are increasingly targeting their communications campaigns directly at women. "Women are buying for themselves items which they used to get as gifts," said Mr van Dijk. "Cosmetics, perfume, jewellery, clothing etcetera. In their quest to be seen to be leading their own lives, they are spoiling and pampering themselves." In addition, B She found that 74 per cent of respondents in the study stated that being subservient to men "looks bad" and that 83 per cent regarded compliments from other women as being more important. Other statistics also underline the growing power of women. According to the Institute of Statistical Mathematics, just 27 per cent of women in 1958 said they wanted to be reborn as a woman. But by 2000, that figure had risen sharply to 85 per cent, the B She study found. "Japanese women today can be clustered by two key elements: they like who they are and they give less importance to what men think of them. "The 'look at me' and 'I'm doing my own thing' concepts are very important to them," Mr van Dijk said. In order to effectively target them, marketers have to inspire Japanese women to move in the direction they want to. They must also present a proposal of beauty that comforts them. Similar surveys are planned for the rest of Asia-Pacific. "When you look at women in various countries in the region - India, China, Singapore, Korea - there are radical differences because of demographic and psychographic differences. "All the more reason, therefore, to roll out research to all the major markets of Asia-Pacific," Mr van Dijk said.

Premium
FOCUS: MARKETING TO WOMEN: New survey shatters old image of
Japanese women as subservient
Jan 18, 2001

FOCUS: MARKETING TO WOMEN: New survey shatters old image of Japanese women as subservient

The image of the stereotypical Japanese woman has been shattered by a Beacon Communications study. Instead of being subservient to men, the typical female in Japan today strives to break free from the shackles of tradition; to be aware, educated and independent. Because of this, the study, titled B She, found that women are the instigators of social progress - and proud to be playing this role - while men were more often than not stuck in a rut. Some of the key findings included: "being a woman is fun," "no single role model anymore," "can create a life as they want it to be," and "femininity is a source of power." Beacon executive director of strategic planning Han van Dijk said, "Japanese women are not nearly as edgy or hardnosed as their counterparts in the West, but they are definitely moving up. They are breaking free of all the cultural and traditional restrictions that have been placed on them because they are women. "Men, on the other hand, continue to be governed by tradition; they must be the breadwinner, they must be in a position of dominance. "This is especially true among older males but less so among younger ones." Women in Japan are, therefore, increasingly seen to be more dynamic, discerning and sophisticated compared with men. This, combined with the fact that they strive for independence, has huge implications for marketers, who have realised the change and are increasingly targeting their communications campaigns directly at women. "Women are buying for themselves items which they used to get as gifts," said Mr van Dijk. "Cosmetics, perfume, jewellery, clothing etcetera. In their quest to be seen to be leading their own lives, they are spoiling and pampering themselves." In addition, B She found that 74 per cent of respondents in the study stated that being subservient to men "looks bad" and that 83 per cent regarded compliments from other women as being more important. Other statistics also underline the growing power of women. According to the Institute of Statistical Mathematics, just 27 per cent of women in 1958 said they wanted to be reborn as a woman. But by 2000, that figure had risen sharply to 85 per cent, the B She study found. "Japanese women today can be clustered by two key elements: they like who they are and they give less importance to what men think of them. "The 'look at me' and 'I'm doing my own thing' concepts are very important to them," Mr van Dijk said. In order to effectively target them, marketers have to inspire Japanese women to move in the direction they want to. They must also present a proposal of beauty that comforts them. Similar surveys are planned for the rest of Asia-Pacific. "When you look at women in various countries in the region - India, China, Singapore, Korea - there are radical differences because of demographic and psychographic differences. "All the more reason, therefore, to roll out research to all the major markets of Asia-Pacific," Mr van Dijk said.

Premium
FOCUS: MARKETING TO WOMEN: New survey shatters old image of
Japanese women as subservient
Jan 18, 2001

FOCUS: MARKETING TO WOMEN: New survey shatters old image of Japanese women as subservient

The image of the stereotypical Japanese woman has been shattered by a Beacon Communications study. Instead of being subservient to men, the typical female in Japan today strives to break free from the shackles of tradition; to be aware, educated and independent. Because of this, the study, titled B She, found that women are the instigators of social progress - and proud to be playing this role - while men were more often than not stuck in a rut. Some of the key findings included: "being a woman is fun," "no single role model anymore," "can create a life as they want it to be," and "femininity is a source of power." Beacon executive director of strategic planning Han van Dijk said, "Japanese women are not nearly as edgy or hardnosed as their counterparts in the West, but they are definitely moving up. They are breaking free of all the cultural and traditional restrictions that have been placed on them because they are women. "Men, on the other hand, continue to be governed by tradition; they must be the breadwinner, they must be in a position of dominance. "This is especially true among older males but less so among younger ones." Women in Japan are, therefore, increasingly seen to be more dynamic, discerning and sophisticated compared with men. This, combined with the fact that they strive for independence, has huge implications for marketers, who have realised the change and are increasingly targeting their communications campaigns directly at women. "Women are buying for themselves items which they used to get as gifts," said Mr van Dijk. "Cosmetics, perfume, jewellery, clothing etcetera. In their quest to be seen to be leading their own lives, they are spoiling and pampering themselves." In addition, B She found that 74 per cent of respondents in the study stated that being subservient to men "looks bad" and that 83 per cent regarded compliments from other women as being more important. Other statistics also underline the growing power of women. According to the Institute of Statistical Mathematics, just 27 per cent of women in 1958 said they wanted to be reborn as a woman. But by 2000, that figure had risen sharply to 85 per cent, the B She study found. "Japanese women today can be clustered by two key elements: they like who they are and they give less importance to what men think of them. "The 'look at me' and 'I'm doing my own thing' concepts are very important to them," Mr van Dijk said. In order to effectively target them, marketers have to inspire Japanese women to move in the direction they want to. They must also present a proposal of beauty that comforts them. Similar surveys are planned for the rest of Asia-Pacific. "When you look at women in various countries in the region - India, China, Singapore, Korea - there are radical differences because of demographic and psychographic differences. "All the more reason, therefore, to roll out research to all the major markets of Asia-Pacific," Mr van Dijk said.

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WHERE ARE ALL THE WOMEN: In the creative departments of Asian
advertising agencies, one crucial group is under-represented - women
Aug 2, 2001

WHERE ARE ALL THE WOMEN: In the creative departments of Asian advertising agencies, one crucial group is under-represented - women

David Johnson looks at why, and finds that the shortage is surprisingly more pronounced in the region's developed advertising markets of Hong Kong and Japan than it is in Taiwan or India. The advertising industry as a whole has never really stood out as one that favours either sex. Men and women appear to be pretty much in equal supply across the board, and the gender balance appears politically and practically correct. But a closer look at creative departments within some of the larger, regional agencies, reveals quite a different picture. In the majority of cases, there are twice as many men as women. At Grey Worldwide's offices in Asia, women constitute between 25 and 56 per cent of all creative departments, with Japan (25 per cent), Hong Kong (29 per cent) and Thailand (30 per cent) having a lower ratio compared to Malaysia (56 per cent), Australia (52 per cent) and Taiwan (51 per cent). At Leo Burnett, out of a total creative workforce of 305 as of July this year, 215 were male and only 90 female. In the West, this often causes an uproar from "women who are really into the victim thing", observes one of the female stars in Burnett's creative camp, Malaysia ECD Yasmin Ahmad. The situation is no different in European capitals such as London and Madrid. However, Burnett regional head of creative Linda Locke argues that there's nothing sinister going on in Asia. "If you look at our creative departments across the region, they differ in their composition. At one point in Singapore it was 50:50." One of the main reasons given for the overall disproportionate number of men in creative is simply the nature of the job. Locke says: "It is a very tough business and it is quite aggressive. It is highly stressful and you need to keep a positive attitude because you are constantly getting knocked down. Creative women tend to be more interested in fashion or journalism. I don't think that there is a glass ceiling situation. There's nothing mysterious. You're either good or you're not." The typical scenario in most countries is that women look for a creative outlet and frequently choose commercial art. But there is a tendency to drift away as marriage and children enter the picture. The result is that many do return to the creative world, but in a freelance capacity, which in turn allows them to juggle family and professional commitments. Locke says: "Women have more pressure than men do that pulls them away. I have to believe that because of the amount of portfolios I receive." Recruitment consultants in Hong Kong echo her comments, citing a considerable lack of female interest in creative positions in advertising agencies. In a straw poll conducted by media among leading advertising agencies, the ratio of women employed at creative departments was lowest in Hong Kong. "Female applicants are far less than male for creative positions. The reasons are cultural," says Gemma Sze, who handles creative hiring at TMP Worldwide. "When women are educated in Hong Kong they are not introduced to creative fields in the same way, but more towards service professions, such as being a nurse, secretary or working for an airline." TMP Worldwide recently conducted an informal survey of ECDs in Hong Kong and gained some interesting insights. It found that ECDs did not want to have female staff, based on a belief that women need to finish the day on time because of family responsibilities. There was also the matter of maternity leave and the topics that women choose to talk about in the office. "This still happens and it is wrong. Women are very career-minded and want to face up to the challenge. They are not dumb blondes. They are concerned as much about their appearance, family and children as they are about their career," says Sze. "Creatives are detail-minded, cool, non-emotional and think out of the box. This is fine for women. The problem is to change the male perception." Michele Crew, who heads recruitment agency The Crew Partnership, agrees. "It's not a women's issue, it is a male ECDs' issue. The onus is on them. It's a matter of opening up.Women are not generally found in management positions, and that needs to be addressed. There are even interviewing procedures that ask a woman if she plans to have a family." As far as Hong Kong's female creatives are concerned, there are barriers to entry and advancement as a result of what one described as an "old boys network". Crew says: "There is an inherent sexism and many women in Hong Kong feel excluded. It is not a question of women not being able to cope. All research points to the fact that women are far better at multi-tasking than men. "The situation couldn't be more different in Taiwan. There, the ratio of men to women is equal. Not only that, many of the senior creative positions are held by women. "In Taiwan, there are many female creative directors because women are outstanding in Taiwan," says Violet Wang, ECD at Burnett. "I guess it is because women need to do a lot of things without men. They need to be able to rely on themselves and not on men, so they are well educated. They need to be a daughter, mother and wife, and a good boss. So there's a lot of pressure." Wang has worked in advertising for 13 years and was formerly ECD at Ogilvy & Mather Taiwan for eight years. Another top female ECD in Taiwan is Ideology's Shuenn-Ing Hsu. "Taiwan is a society which gives equal rights for both sexes," says Wang. She adds that women in Taiwan study harder and possess tenacity, stamina, care and sensitivity that "give them an advantage in the advertising field". Wang adds: "There were some 'quotas' for women in some fields in Taiwan. But with more and more women making themselves conspicuous, we may need to set quotas for men instead. The challenges we face are from cultural differences, worldwide campaigns, and the changing market. It's not from our sex." Even Kuala Lumpur appears to offer a more fertile ground for female creatives to flourish. Many of the senior creative positions are held by women. "In the UK, women are fighting for equal opportunities, but in Malaysia there are no such problems because Malaysia is a matriarchal society. At some point women just got better. In fact we need more men," says Ahmad. Leo Burnett Malaysia handles the Procter & Gamble account and was asked by the US to localise a version of its campaign for Rejoice shampoo. The US campaign emphasised the empowerment of women. "It just didn't gel for Malaysia," says Ahmad. "In Asia a woman caring for her body and the softness of her skin is a strength, not a weakness. I don't know who is right, but there's a difference." To a large extent, the progress of women creatives in Asia remains a mixed one. In some markets, they helm departments; in others they're rising stars. Ogilvy & Mather regional head of creative, Tham Khai Meng, said that the strength of women in India was leading to a marked increase in the numbers of women in O&M creative departments. In Thailand, Tham cited Jureeporn Thaidumrong, creative director of O&M's fully-owned subsidiary, Results Advertising, as "one of the stars of the network". Under Jureeporn's leadership, Results has taken home a slew of international creative awards, including a Gold Lion at Cannes last year for the Tabasco print ad, "Cigarette", the most prestigious award ever won by a Thai agency. Jureeporn's success in a market where female creatives are a rare breed has been an inspiration to many. But while it is easy to wave banners and search for deep-rooted discriminatory factors, the fact remains that markets are different in Asia. They are at different stages of development and they have very different cultural and religious values. Which makes it difficult to paint the regional industry with the same brush. Even a review on a country-by-country basis can throw up exceptions. But those exceptions are usually examples of outstanding drive and talent, as is the case of Jureeporn in Bangkok. Just what does it take for a woman to thrive and succeed as a creative? O&M Singapore art director, Ng Pei Pei, puts it down to a hunger to do so. "When I decided to pursue a career in art, it was either advertising or painting on easels on the street to sell postcards," she says of the choices available to her in the Lion City. Ng, who has been with O&M for eight years, adds: "I'm single so I have no problem with late nights and relationships. But this for me is not the issue at all. If you're hungry enough for it, you just do it." "I've never been concerned with gender issues. If you really want something, you just go for it. It all comes down to building relationships and creating good work. I choose art direction, and it is tough, but it totally excites me."

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WHERE ARE ALL THE WOMEN: In the creative departments of Asian
advertising agencies, one crucial group is under-represented - women
Aug 2, 2001

WHERE ARE ALL THE WOMEN: In the creative departments of Asian advertising agencies, one crucial group is under-represented - women

David Johnson looks at why, and finds that the shortage is surprisingly more pronounced in the region's developed advertising markets of Hong Kong and Japan than it is in Taiwan or India. The advertising industry as a whole has never really stood out as one that favours either sex. Men and women appear to be pretty much in equal supply across the board, and the gender balance appears politically and practically correct. But a closer look at creative departments within some of the larger, regional agencies, reveals quite a different picture. In the majority of cases, there are twice as many men as women. At Grey Worldwide's offices in Asia, women constitute between 25 and 56 per cent of all creative departments, with Japan (25 per cent), Hong Kong (29 per cent) and Thailand (30 per cent) having a lower ratio compared to Malaysia (56 per cent), Australia (52 per cent) and Taiwan (51 per cent). At Leo Burnett, out of a total creative workforce of 305 as of July this year, 215 were male and only 90 female. In the West, this often causes an uproar from "women who are really into the victim thing", observes one of the female stars in Burnett's creative camp, Malaysia ECD Yasmin Ahmad. The situation is no different in European capitals such as London and Madrid. However, Burnett regional head of creative Linda Locke argues that there's nothing sinister going on in Asia. "If you look at our creative departments across the region, they differ in their composition. At one point in Singapore it was 50:50." One of the main reasons given for the overall disproportionate number of men in creative is simply the nature of the job. Locke says: "It is a very tough business and it is quite aggressive. It is highly stressful and you need to keep a positive attitude because you are constantly getting knocked down. Creative women tend to be more interested in fashion or journalism. I don't think that there is a glass ceiling situation. There's nothing mysterious. You're either good or you're not." The typical scenario in most countries is that women look for a creative outlet and frequently choose commercial art. But there is a tendency to drift away as marriage and children enter the picture. The result is that many do return to the creative world, but in a freelance capacity, which in turn allows them to juggle family and professional commitments. Locke says: "Women have more pressure than men do that pulls them away. I have to believe that because of the amount of portfolios I receive." Recruitment consultants in Hong Kong echo her comments, citing a considerable lack of female interest in creative positions in advertising agencies. In a straw poll conducted by media among leading advertising agencies, the ratio of women employed at creative departments was lowest in Hong Kong. "Female applicants are far less than male for creative positions. The reasons are cultural," says Gemma Sze, who handles creative hiring at TMP Worldwide. "When women are educated in Hong Kong they are not introduced to creative fields in the same way, but more towards service professions, such as being a nurse, secretary or working for an airline." TMP Worldwide recently conducted an informal survey of ECDs in Hong Kong and gained some interesting insights. It found that ECDs did not want to have female staff, based on a belief that women need to finish the day on time because of family responsibilities. There was also the matter of maternity leave and the topics that women choose to talk about in the office. "This still happens and it is wrong. Women are very career-minded and want to face up to the challenge. They are not dumb blondes. They are concerned as much about their appearance, family and children as they are about their career," says Sze. "Creatives are detail-minded, cool, non-emotional and think out of the box. This is fine for women. The problem is to change the male perception." Michele Crew, who heads recruitment agency The Crew Partnership, agrees. "It's not a women's issue, it is a male ECDs' issue. The onus is on them. It's a matter of opening up.Women are not generally found in management positions, and that needs to be addressed. There are even interviewing procedures that ask a woman if she plans to have a family." As far as Hong Kong's female creatives are concerned, there are barriers to entry and advancement as a result of what one described as an "old boys network". Crew says: "There is an inherent sexism and many women in Hong Kong feel excluded. It is not a question of women not being able to cope. All research points to the fact that women are far better at multi-tasking than men. "The situation couldn't be more different in Taiwan. There, the ratio of men to women is equal. Not only that, many of the senior creative positions are held by women. "In Taiwan, there are many female creative directors because women are outstanding in Taiwan," says Violet Wang, ECD at Burnett. "I guess it is because women need to do a lot of things without men. They need to be able to rely on themselves and not on men, so they are well educated. They need to be a daughter, mother and wife, and a good boss. So there's a lot of pressure." Wang has worked in advertising for 13 years and was formerly ECD at Ogilvy & Mather Taiwan for eight years. Another top female ECD in Taiwan is Ideology's Shuenn-Ing Hsu. "Taiwan is a society which gives equal rights for both sexes," says Wang. She adds that women in Taiwan study harder and possess tenacity, stamina, care and sensitivity that "give them an advantage in the advertising field". Wang adds: "There were some 'quotas' for women in some fields in Taiwan. But with more and more women making themselves conspicuous, we may need to set quotas for men instead. The challenges we face are from cultural differences, worldwide campaigns, and the changing market. It's not from our sex." Even Kuala Lumpur appears to offer a more fertile ground for female creatives to flourish. Many of the senior creative positions are held by women. "In the UK, women are fighting for equal opportunities, but in Malaysia there are no such problems because Malaysia is a matriarchal society. At some point women just got better. In fact we need more men," says Ahmad. Leo Burnett Malaysia handles the Procter & Gamble account and was asked by the US to localise a version of its campaign for Rejoice shampoo. The US campaign emphasised the empowerment of women. "It just didn't gel for Malaysia," says Ahmad. "In Asia a woman caring for her body and the softness of her skin is a strength, not a weakness. I don't know who is right, but there's a difference." To a large extent, the progress of women creatives in Asia remains a mixed one. In some markets, they helm departments; in others they're rising stars. Ogilvy & Mather regional head of creative, Tham Khai Meng, said that the strength of women in India was leading to a marked increase in the numbers of women in O&M creative departments. In Thailand, Tham cited Jureeporn Thaidumrong, creative director of O&M's fully-owned subsidiary, Results Advertising, as "one of the stars of the network". Under Jureeporn's leadership, Results has taken home a slew of international creative awards, including a Gold Lion at Cannes last year for the Tabasco print ad, "Cigarette", the most prestigious award ever won by a Thai agency. Jureeporn's success in a market where female creatives are a rare breed has been an inspiration to many. But while it is easy to wave banners and search for deep-rooted discriminatory factors, the fact remains that markets are different in Asia. They are at different stages of development and they have very different cultural and religious values. Which makes it difficult to paint the regional industry with the same brush. Even a review on a country-by-country basis can throw up exceptions. But those exceptions are usually examples of outstanding drive and talent, as is the case of Jureeporn in Bangkok. Just what does it take for a woman to thrive and succeed as a creative? O&M Singapore art director, Ng Pei Pei, puts it down to a hunger to do so. "When I decided to pursue a career in art, it was either advertising or painting on easels on the street to sell postcards," she says of the choices available to her in the Lion City. Ng, who has been with O&M for eight years, adds: "I'm single so I have no problem with late nights and relationships. But this for me is not the issue at all. If you're hungry enough for it, you just do it." "I've never been concerned with gender issues. If you really want something, you just go for it. It all comes down to building relationships and creating good work. I choose art direction, and it is tough, but it totally excites me."

Premium
WHAT WOMEN WANT: Getting inside women's heads isn't as easy as Mel
Gibson made it seem in his last movie
Aug 16, 2001

WHAT WOMEN WANT: Getting inside women's heads isn't as easy as Mel Gibson made it seem in his last movie

Unprecedented career opportunities and later marriages are just two of many factors influencing women's consumption patterns, reports Atifa Hargrave-Silk. In a Hollywood comedy, Mel Gibson accidentally develops the power to discover "what women want", but for marketers in Asia, acquiring that knowledge is no laughing matter. As consumer spending slows and women re-prioritise goals and establish themselves as decision makers, they have become critical drivers of a brand's performance. In many parts of Asia, women are exercising serious purchasing power and have made an indelible impact on society, and it's not only because of their growing numbers. Better career prospects, a longer life expectancy and the later age at which they marry, if they chose to do so at all, have provided them with a level of freedom that was unheard of a generation or two ago. But as more women exercise the freedom to make lifestyle choices, they have become more difficult to pigeon-hole. For marketers, this presents a new set of challenges. In Japan, Hakuhodo's Sei-Katsu-Sha study puts Asian women into six groups: Caring, New Feminine, High Class, Active, High Achiever and Cool. Hakuhodo senior research director of its research and development division, Shina Murokawa, says there is a strong link between preferred lifestyles, average annual incomes and the percentage of women in the workforce. "In mainland China, where incomes are a little better and the percentage of working women higher, we found High Class or Active women. In cities such as Manila, Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur, where women are highly independent and have gained authority through work, women are prioritising careers and spending more." But for advertisers, it's the Cool, liberated woman of Japan, Hong Kong and Taiwan that is the "future of Asia", adds Murokawa. "The new favourite is the Cool type, whose lifestyle involves neither marriage nor major responsibilities." Some companies, like CSL's One2Free in Hong Kong, have been quick to recognise the opportunities. To reach the so-called Cool segment, CSL rolled out its interactive "U Date Me" game, the romance-laden equivalent of the Tamagochi pet. Subscribers have the choice of two potential partners to interact with. If all goes well, the relationship will result in a marriage proposal - cyber nuptials are apparently acceptable to marriage-wary females. "Andy is a good looking IT engineer and Tim is a handsome creative director in an ad agency," says Michelle Au, CSL's general manager of marketing communications and public relations. Au says a romantic story was used to market the interactive boyfriends, who were created along Japanese-style animation, which Hakuhodo's research says is "more in tune with Asian tastes". In Taiwan, as lifestyles change, marketers are adapting to shifting preferences. This comes as independent women with higher income levels show their distaste for advertising that patronise or underestimate their self-sufficiency. Advertising that affirms their intelligence and confidence have a better chance of success. Which may explain why Taiwan's two largest local lingerie brands, Audrey and Swear, have shifted creative directions. Both brands now present Taiwanese women as self-assured and confident people, a departure from the category's norm of using demure images. All this may be nothing new to marketers in the West, where campaigns showing strong women, confident with their sexuality, are commonplace. If anything, the West appears to have moved a step ahead, with its use of more provocative and bolder images. For instance, in Christian Dior's latest campaign, a model is slathered in oil and plays air-guitar by strumming her crotch. With the jury still out on the bolder, sometimes pornographic direction fashion brands are taking in the West, it leaves many speculating on the success rate such campaigns will have in Asia. Hachette Filipacchi Asia-Pacific regional sales and marketing director, Angeline Chow, says advertisers have sometimes had to alter images for a softer sell. "We often tone down hard images for Asian readers. The recent cover of Elle UK has a celebrity looking very wild and aggressive. We had to arrange another photo shoot as we needed a softer sell." The battle for female customers has sparked an explosion in women's magazines in key Asian markets. And the hyper competitive climate in women's titles has seen publishers throw in freebies and discount newsstand rates to keep their readers. Jessica's chief executive and publisher, Jessica Ng, says: "Women in Hong Kong are not loyal. They run from one title to another. Premiums and gimmicks work very well, but nothing works better than a drop in price. Women in Hong Kong are most sensitive to pricing." Still, most Hong Kong fashion magazines are packed with freebies, from CDs and accessories to cosmetic and makeup bags. Freebies can apparently spike issue sales by 10 per cent. Jessica recently celebrated its anniversary by lowering its cover price from HK$35 to HK$10. According to Ng, the issue, which also featured a lucky draw with the coveted prize of a HK$4,000 Loewe bag, sold out within three days. A TVC was launched in conjunction with the price reduction to "show women the real value of the magazine", says Ng. The lucky draw was such a hit that Jessica plans to organise similar marketing initiatives for future issues. "An issue of another female title, Marie Claire, also sold out within one day when a free T-shirt was given away," says Ng. Lifestyle magazines have also become marketing vehicles for banking and financial institutions to reach women. "These traditionally male-focused advertisers are taking more interest in women because they are in control of their financial futures, whether they are single or married. We work with companies on credit card promotions. There is also a column in Marie Claire that gives financial advice and talks about money, and that has been sponsored by AIG," says Ng. Automakers are also beginning to see women as consumers in their own right. Brands such as Toyota, Ford and Peugeot are now advertising in women's magazines to reach this audience as more women start buying cars. In Japan, Toyota Motor has launched a campaign to attract women to its WiLL Vi car. It is hoping that this small, funky four-door vehicle will help the carmaker shed its conservative image. The goal is for 70 per cent of Vi's buyers to be women; of this, Toyota anticipates that 40 per cent of buyers will be single, twentysomething women. A report by Euromonitor International found that even in markets such as India - the country with the lowest proportion of women in the workforce - the demand for branded products among women is growing. The country's series of beauty pageant wins is helping to power the nation's beauty business. The rise of Indian beauty queens as role models has encouraged young girls and women to spend more on skincare and cosmetics. Indian shoppers, previously limited to a couple of brands of cosmetics, now enjoy a wide selection for every product. Analysts in the country say the beauty market, now worth US$1.5 billion, could swell by 20 per cent each year - double the rate of growth in the US and European beauty markets. Companies in other sectors are also adapting to the emerging woman's world. Long known as a brand catering to male athletes and built on names like Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods, Nike has begun to step up product development and advertising campaigns aimed at women in Asia, especially in Hong Kong. From creating an online sisterhood, opening a women's store in Hong Kong and creating funky sneakers, Nike is trying to dominate a market where having a trendy image scores more points. Nike marketing director, Rosanna Hon, has come up with strategies she hopes will take advantage of the differences between how women and men perceive sports and how they shop for clothing and shoes. The brand wants to be seen as encouraging women's desires to lead an active lifestyle rather than having them become hardcore athletes. "Every purchase of ours tends to be high involvement. We work closely with our team in the US to create products that will appeal to women in Asia. It's a learning process," says Hon. Women's athletic footwear, which accounts for a third of total sales, only makes up 20 per cent of products at Nike. The problem, Hon says, is that women's sneaker wall displays at sports outlets tend to be just a wash of white, pink and turquoise. "Most women actually have a hard time finding athletic wear they like, and may end up buying from the men's section," Hon adds. But Nike may have more of an uphill battle in widening its image to appeal to women. Well-established brands like Reebok and Adidas, and younger ones like Skechers, have achieved fast growth in the women's athletic market because they enjoy a trendy image. Reebok in particular has taken steps to introduce trendier products that appeal to young women. In a statement, the company says it wants to "invite a younger, active, fashion-conscious woman to join" its brand. So does Nike. But the problem Nike faces is that, unlike Adidas and Reebok, it has always stressed its sports rather than fashion credentials. Nike plans to kick off a major campaign in Hong Kong next month, targeting women in their 20s and 30s. The campaign will promote Nike's lifestyle image. "It will coincide with the opening of our new outlet and will be adapted to the design of the new shop. We have built a solid relationship online through our community; now the goal is to maintain that trust offline," says Hon. As women become increasingly wired, the internet is providing a unique forum for marketers like Nike to build virtual communities. Without the limits of time and place, women are sharing ideas and experiences with others at sites like she.com, which enjoys the highest reach in Hong Kong, according to a NetValue survey. "In Hong Kong, women users have the highest affinity for fashion/beauty and astrology/horoscope sites. This is followed by club-related sites and employment sites," says Janice Lee, marketing communications executive at NetValue. Defying the stereotype that women are indifferent to technology, a multitude of surveys suggests that the internet's gender gap is fast narrowing. Women are increasingly becoming wired and connected, racing onto the web in record numbers across Asia. The good news: they're ready, willing, and able to spend their money online. NetValue claims the gender gap is fast closing in Korea, where 47.5 per cent of internet users are female, followed by Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore where almost 44 per cent of users are women. Nielsen//NetRatings has also found that the number of women using the net increased an average of 36 per cent since January. "In terms of online purchasing, while women have historically been more concerned about security and privacy than men, US data shows that women are just as willing to make purchases at major shopping sites with trusted brand names," says Hugh Bloch, managing director ACNielsen eRatings North Asia. "In Hong Kong, however, women are still outnumbered by men at the top shopping sites." However, research in the US suggests that e-tailers are still not doing enough to make potential female purchasers feel comfortable. A report by Cyber Dialogue in the US found 28 per cent of female online users said they were e-consumers as well, of which 40 per cent were concerned with credit card security. It added that nearly 70 per cent of women who seek products online still end up going offline to make purchases. They may be a diverse group, but women consumers - whether they buy on or offline - share some common characteristics. They are ready to research a product or service in detail before buying it. Their relationships are based on quality, making them loyal to brands they trust. Murokawa of Hakuhodo adds: "Asian women are increasingly participating in the global economy. Tracking and responding to their aspirations will be critical challenges for brand managers and marketers. And those that choose to ignore this segment, do so at their peril."

Premium
WHAT WOMEN WANT: Getting inside women's heads isn't as easy as Mel
Gibson made it seem in his last movie
Aug 16, 2001

WHAT WOMEN WANT: Getting inside women's heads isn't as easy as Mel Gibson made it seem in his last movie

Unprecedented career opportunities and later marriages are just two of many factors influencing women's consumption patterns, reports Atifa Hargrave-Silk. In a Hollywood comedy, Mel Gibson accidentally develops the power to discover "what women want", but for marketers in Asia, acquiring that knowledge is no laughing matter. As consumer spending slows and women re-prioritise goals and establish themselves as decision makers, they have become critical drivers of a brand's performance. In many parts of Asia, women are exercising serious purchasing power and have made an indelible impact on society, and it's not only because of their growing numbers. Better career prospects, a longer life expectancy and the later age at which they marry, if they chose to do so at all, have provided them with a level of freedom that was unheard of a generation or two ago. But as more women exercise the freedom to make lifestyle choices, they have become more difficult to pigeon-hole. For marketers, this presents a new set of challenges. In Japan, Hakuhodo's Sei-Katsu-Sha study puts Asian women into six groups: Caring, New Feminine, High Class, Active, High Achiever and Cool. Hakuhodo senior research director of its research and development division, Shina Murokawa, says there is a strong link between preferred lifestyles, average annual incomes and the percentage of women in the workforce. "In mainland China, where incomes are a little better and the percentage of working women higher, we found High Class or Active women. In cities such as Manila, Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur, where women are highly independent and have gained authority through work, women are prioritising careers and spending more." But for advertisers, it's the Cool, liberated woman of Japan, Hong Kong and Taiwan that is the "future of Asia", adds Murokawa. "The new favourite is the Cool type, whose lifestyle involves neither marriage nor major responsibilities." Some companies, like CSL's One2Free in Hong Kong, have been quick to recognise the opportunities. To reach the so-called Cool segment, CSL rolled out its interactive "U Date Me" game, the romance-laden equivalent of the Tamagochi pet. Subscribers have the choice of two potential partners to interact with. If all goes well, the relationship will result in a marriage proposal - cyber nuptials are apparently acceptable to marriage-wary females. "Andy is a good looking IT engineer and Tim is a handsome creative director in an ad agency," says Michelle Au, CSL's general manager of marketing communications and public relations. Au says a romantic story was used to market the interactive boyfriends, who were created along Japanese-style animation, which Hakuhodo's research says is "more in tune with Asian tastes". In Taiwan, as lifestyles change, marketers are adapting to shifting preferences. This comes as independent women with higher income levels show their distaste for advertising that patronise or underestimate their self-sufficiency. Advertising that affirms their intelligence and confidence have a better chance of success. Which may explain why Taiwan's two largest local lingerie brands, Audrey and Swear, have shifted creative directions. Both brands now present Taiwanese women as self-assured and confident people, a departure from the category's norm of using demure images. All this may be nothing new to marketers in the West, where campaigns showing strong women, confident with their sexuality, are commonplace. If anything, the West appears to have moved a step ahead, with its use of more provocative and bolder images. For instance, in Christian Dior's latest campaign, a model is slathered in oil and plays air-guitar by strumming her crotch. With the jury still out on the bolder, sometimes pornographic direction fashion brands are taking in the West, it leaves many speculating on the success rate such campaigns will have in Asia. Hachette Filipacchi Asia-Pacific regional sales and marketing director, Angeline Chow, says advertisers have sometimes had to alter images for a softer sell. "We often tone down hard images for Asian readers. The recent cover of Elle UK has a celebrity looking very wild and aggressive. We had to arrange another photo shoot as we needed a softer sell." The battle for female customers has sparked an explosion in women's magazines in key Asian markets. And the hyper competitive climate in women's titles has seen publishers throw in freebies and discount newsstand rates to keep their readers. Jessica's chief executive and publisher, Jessica Ng, says: "Women in Hong Kong are not loyal. They run from one title to another. Premiums and gimmicks work very well, but nothing works better than a drop in price. Women in Hong Kong are most sensitive to pricing." Still, most Hong Kong fashion magazines are packed with freebies, from CDs and accessories to cosmetic and makeup bags. Freebies can apparently spike issue sales by 10 per cent. Jessica recently celebrated its anniversary by lowering its cover price from HK$35 to HK$10. According to Ng, the issue, which also featured a lucky draw with the coveted prize of a HK$4,000 Loewe bag, sold out within three days. A TVC was launched in conjunction with the price reduction to "show women the real value of the magazine", says Ng. The lucky draw was such a hit that Jessica plans to organise similar marketing initiatives for future issues. "An issue of another female title, Marie Claire, also sold out within one day when a free T-shirt was given away," says Ng. Lifestyle magazines have also become marketing vehicles for banking and financial institutions to reach women. "These traditionally male-focused advertisers are taking more interest in women because they are in control of their financial futures, whether they are single or married. We work with companies on credit card promotions. There is also a column in Marie Claire that gives financial advice and talks about money, and that has been sponsored by AIG," says Ng. Automakers are also beginning to see women as consumers in their own right. Brands such as Toyota, Ford and Peugeot are now advertising in women's magazines to reach this audience as more women start buying cars. In Japan, Toyota Motor has launched a campaign to attract women to its WiLL Vi car. It is hoping that this small, funky four-door vehicle will help the carmaker shed its conservative image. The goal is for 70 per cent of Vi's buyers to be women; of this, Toyota anticipates that 40 per cent of buyers will be single, twentysomething women. A report by Euromonitor International found that even in markets such as India - the country with the lowest proportion of women in the workforce - the demand for branded products among women is growing. The country's series of beauty pageant wins is helping to power the nation's beauty business. The rise of Indian beauty queens as role models has encouraged young girls and women to spend more on skincare and cosmetics. Indian shoppers, previously limited to a couple of brands of cosmetics, now enjoy a wide selection for every product. Analysts in the country say the beauty market, now worth US$1.5 billion, could swell by 20 per cent each year - double the rate of growth in the US and European beauty markets. Companies in other sectors are also adapting to the emerging woman's world. Long known as a brand catering to male athletes and built on names like Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods, Nike has begun to step up product development and advertising campaigns aimed at women in Asia, especially in Hong Kong. From creating an online sisterhood, opening a women's store in Hong Kong and creating funky sneakers, Nike is trying to dominate a market where having a trendy image scores more points. Nike marketing director, Rosanna Hon, has come up with strategies she hopes will take advantage of the differences between how women and men perceive sports and how they shop for clothing and shoes. The brand wants to be seen as encouraging women's desires to lead an active lifestyle rather than having them become hardcore athletes. "Every purchase of ours tends to be high involvement. We work closely with our team in the US to create products that will appeal to women in Asia. It's a learning process," says Hon. Women's athletic footwear, which accounts for a third of total sales, only makes up 20 per cent of products at Nike. The problem, Hon says, is that women's sneaker wall displays at sports outlets tend to be just a wash of white, pink and turquoise. "Most women actually have a hard time finding athletic wear they like, and may end up buying from the men's section," Hon adds. But Nike may have more of an uphill battle in widening its image to appeal to women. Well-established brands like Reebok and Adidas, and younger ones like Skechers, have achieved fast growth in the women's athletic market because they enjoy a trendy image. Reebok in particular has taken steps to introduce trendier products that appeal to young women. In a statement, the company says it wants to "invite a younger, active, fashion-conscious woman to join" its brand. So does Nike. But the problem Nike faces is that, unlike Adidas and Reebok, it has always stressed its sports rather than fashion credentials. Nike plans to kick off a major campaign in Hong Kong next month, targeting women in their 20s and 30s. The campaign will promote Nike's lifestyle image. "It will coincide with the opening of our new outlet and will be adapted to the design of the new shop. We have built a solid relationship online through our community; now the goal is to maintain that trust offline," says Hon. As women become increasingly wired, the internet is providing a unique forum for marketers like Nike to build virtual communities. Without the limits of time and place, women are sharing ideas and experiences with others at sites like she.com, which enjoys the highest reach in Hong Kong, according to a NetValue survey. "In Hong Kong, women users have the highest affinity for fashion/beauty and astrology/horoscope sites. This is followed by club-related sites and employment sites," says Janice Lee, marketing communications executive at NetValue. Defying the stereotype that women are indifferent to technology, a multitude of surveys suggests that the internet's gender gap is fast narrowing. Women are increasingly becoming wired and connected, racing onto the web in record numbers across Asia. The good news: they're ready, willing, and able to spend their money online. NetValue claims the gender gap is fast closing in Korea, where 47.5 per cent of internet users are female, followed by Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore where almost 44 per cent of users are women. Nielsen//NetRatings has also found that the number of women using the net increased an average of 36 per cent since January. "In terms of online purchasing, while women have historically been more concerned about security and privacy than men, US data shows that women are just as willing to make purchases at major shopping sites with trusted brand names," says Hugh Bloch, managing director ACNielsen eRatings North Asia. "In Hong Kong, however, women are still outnumbered by men at the top shopping sites." However, research in the US suggests that e-tailers are still not doing enough to make potential female purchasers feel comfortable. A report by Cyber Dialogue in the US found 28 per cent of female online users said they were e-consumers as well, of which 40 per cent were concerned with credit card security. It added that nearly 70 per cent of women who seek products online still end up going offline to make purchases. They may be a diverse group, but women consumers - whether they buy on or offline - share some common characteristics. They are ready to research a product or service in detail before buying it. Their relationships are based on quality, making them loyal to brands they trust. Murokawa of Hakuhodo adds: "Asian women are increasingly participating in the global economy. Tracking and responding to their aspirations will be critical challenges for brand managers and marketers. And those that choose to ignore this segment, do so at their peril."

Premium
Women get help with launch of Femalelife.com
Apr 12, 2001

Women get help with launch of Femalelife.com

SINGAPORE: CCG.XM, the ebusiness solutions arm of the Cordiant Communications Group, and Schering AG are bringing the popular femalelife.com website to women in Asia. Introduced by XM in Europe in September last year, www.femalelife.com is an interactive site that educates women on their bodies and the changes experienced from puberty through menopause. It also offers information relating to fertility and contraception. XM is redesigning the current international site, tailoring it to local Asian languages and interests, initially in China, Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines. XM earlier won the appointment of online brand consultant to Singapore Airlines.

Premium
Women get help with launch of Femalelife.com
Apr 12, 2001

Women get help with launch of Femalelife.com

SINGAPORE: CCG.XM, the ebusiness solutions arm of the Cordiant Communications Group, and Schering AG are bringing the popular femalelife.com website to women in Asia. Introduced by XM in Europe in September last year, www.femalelife.com is an interactive site that educates women on their bodies and the changes experienced from puberty through menopause. It also offers information relating to fertility and contraception. XM is redesigning the current international site, tailoring it to local Asian languages and interests, initially in China, Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines. XM earlier won the appointment of online brand consultant to Singapore Airlines.

Premium
Women get help with launch of Femalelife.com
Apr 12, 2001

Women get help with launch of Femalelife.com

SINGAPORE: CCG.XM, the ebusiness solutions arm of the Cordiant Communications Group, and Schering AG are bringing the popular femalelife.com website to women in Asia. Introduced by XM in Europe in September last year, www.femalelife.com is an interactive site that educates women on their bodies and the changes experienced from puberty through menopause. It also offers information relating to fertility and contraception. XM is redesigning the current international site, tailoring it to local Asian languages and interests, initially in China, Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines. XM earlier won the appointment of online brand consultant to Singapore Airlines.

Premium
Women get help with launch of Femalelife.com
Apr 12, 2001

Women get help with launch of Femalelife.com

SINGAPORE: CCG.XM, the ebusiness solutions arm of the Cordiant Communications Group, and Schering AG are bringing the popular femalelife.com website to women in Asia. Introduced by XM in Europe in September last year, www.femalelife.com is an interactive site that educates women on their bodies and the changes experienced from puberty through menopause. It also offers information relating to fertility and contraception. XM is redesigning the current international site, tailoring it to local Asian languages and interests, initially in China, Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines. XM earlier won the appointment of online brand consultant to Singapore Airlines.

Premium
Women get help with launch of Femalelife.com
Apr 12, 2001

Women get help with launch of Femalelife.com

SINGAPORE: CCG.XM, the ebusiness solutions arm of the Cordiant Communications Group, and Schering AG are bringing the popular femalelife.com website to women in Asia. Introduced by XM in Europe in September last year, www.femalelife.com is an interactive site that educates women on their bodies and the changes experienced from puberty through menopause. It also offers information relating to fertility and contraception. XM is redesigning the current international site, tailoring it to local Asian languages and interests, initially in China, Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines. XM earlier won the appointment of online brand consultant to Singapore Airlines.

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Women's battle shifts to younger segment
Sep 13, 2001

Women's battle shifts to younger segment

HONG KONG: The battle among women's magazines for female readers has shifted to a younger segment, following the launch of two monthly glossy titles targeted at the 15 to 24-age group. The first entrant into this segment is SCMP Hearst Publication, which rolled out Cosmo Girl, covering lifestyle, entertainment and relationship issues along with fashion and beauty tips. Cosmo Girl is eyeing an educational role, especially in the area of relationships. Marketing manager Lisa Chan said the publication was not only positioned as "a cool, new magazine for girls" but would also "play the role of friend, sister and mentor to readers as they grow up". The segment has also attracted South China Media, which will launch Jessica Girl, an offshoot of its Jessica magazine, next month. It will boast similar content in addition to travel features, tips to enhance self-esteem and celebrity interviews. The two companies and media agency directors said the 15-to-24 segment had become a viable business proposition because there were no title serving this group, which is "generally more aspirational and affluent". In addition, they estimated the population of this segment at just over the 400,000 mark. However, media agencies expect the two magazines will be fighting head-to-head for revenue and readership from the outset. Jessica Girl said it will spend HK$2.5 million (about US$320,000) on TV, print and outdoor to promote itself to hit an initial circulation target of 60,000. Its ratecard for a full-page, colour ad is between HK$20,000 and $30,000 per insertion. Cosmo Girl is banking on its first mover advantage to hit an initial circulation of 40,000 copies. Its ad rates cost more than its rival. However, Zenith Hong Kong media buying director Henny To said he felt that Cosmo Girl's ratecard was expensive. "Monthly magazines must run updated and relevant material and build a significant size circulation base. There is no other way because advertisers these days are more cautious when it comes to spending," To said.

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Women's battle shifts to younger segment
Sep 13, 2001

Women's battle shifts to younger segment

HONG KONG: The battle among women's magazines for female readers has shifted to a younger segment, following the launch of two monthly glossy titles targeted at the 15 to 24-age group. The first entrant into this segment is SCMP Hearst Publication, which rolled out Cosmo Girl, covering lifestyle, entertainment and relationship issues along with fashion and beauty tips. Cosmo Girl is eyeing an educational role, especially in the area of relationships. Marketing manager Lisa Chan said the publication was not only positioned as "a cool, new magazine for girls" but would also "play the role of friend, sister and mentor to readers as they grow up". The segment has also attracted South China Media, which will launch Jessica Girl, an offshoot of its Jessica magazine, next month. It will boast similar content in addition to travel features, tips to enhance self-esteem and celebrity interviews. The two companies and media agency directors said the 15-to-24 segment had become a viable business proposition because there were no title serving this group, which is "generally more aspirational and affluent". In addition, they estimated the population of this segment at just over the 400,000 mark. However, media agencies expect the two magazines will be fighting head-to-head for revenue and readership from the outset. Jessica Girl said it will spend HK$2.5 million (about US$320,000) on TV, print and outdoor to promote itself to hit an initial circulation target of 60,000. Its ratecard for a full-page, colour ad is between HK$20,000 and $30,000 per insertion. Cosmo Girl is banking on its first mover advantage to hit an initial circulation of 40,000 copies. Its ad rates cost more than its rival. However, Zenith Hong Kong media buying director Henny To said he felt that Cosmo Girl's ratecard was expensive. "Monthly magazines must run updated and relevant material and build a significant size circulation base. There is no other way because advertisers these days are more cautious when it comes to spending," To said.

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