GUANGZHOU: Leo Burnett has outgunned two competitors, including incumbent Bates, for retailer and direct marketing organisation Amway's corporate and Nutrilite assignments in China. Sources said Bates, the incumbent on the Nutrilite business for vitamins and supplements, and Saatchi & Saatchi had pitched for the assignment. But Bates still has Amway's Artistry cosmetics brand. Amway has been operating as a retailer, with more than 50 outlets nation-wide, and it also has a direct sales force in China. The company changed its direct-only business model after China banned direct marketing groups in the mid-90s. Amway was among the first to regain its licence. Burnett's Guangzhou and Beijing managing director Benjamin Tsang said Amway wanted to sharpen its corporate brand image as a caring organisation.
SINGAPORE: Butterworths, the legal publishing division of Reed Elsevier, has closed a number of the magazines it acquired last year when it bought THC Press, including flagship regional title Asian Lawyer. Other magazines that have been shuttered include regional title Corporate Counsel and Singapore titles Straits Lawyer, Human Resources and Financial Post. Michael Evans, Butterworths Asia-Pacific chief executive, said the magazines were losing money. "Revenue suffered following the September 11 terrorist attacks in the US so profitability suffered. We couldn't sustain these losses," said Evans. The company will retain its custom publications - newsletters produced mostly for legal societies. THC also publishes the Singapore 4As monthly magazine Ad Voice although the 4As said its two-year contract has nearly expired and that a new publisher would be appointed shortly. Butterworths acquired THC Press partly because it wanted access to Asian Lawyer's readership as Butterworths is in the business of selling books to lawyers. Since the take-over, THC lost some of its top executives. A few left early this year to help establish rival company Key Media.
CEBU: BBDO Guerrero Ortega swept away the competition to dominate the medals tally at the 17th Philippine Advertising Congress (PAC). Its haul of 100 awards, which included 17 gold prizes, put the three-year-old agency well ahead of established rivals. McCann-Erickson and Ogilvy & Mather were distant second and third award winners at the show. BBDO, which took third place in the medals table for the last PAC awards in 1999,won with work for a wide range of clients, including Bayer, Adidas, Pepsi Cola, Pizza Hut and Federal Express. "This is a very visible demonstration that our focus on 'the work, the work, the work' is paying off," said its chairman and executive creative director David Guerrero. McCann and sixth-placed Leo Burnett both garnered the top prize of a platinum award each. This year's prizes were well distributed among the agencies. Even up-and-coming agencies TBWA/Santiago Mangada Puno and Pitargue Comia & Villaroel won one gold award each. Bayer emerged as Advertiser of the Year for the second year running, bagging 32 prizes in all, most notably for its Canesten, Baygon, Bayer Asprin and Bayfresh brands. TOP OF THE HEAP: PAC AWARDS TALLY Advertiser Agency of Year Platinum Gold Silver Bronze Total BBDO/Guerrero Ortega Bayer - 17 12 71 100 McCann-Erickson - 1 8 6 54 69 Ogilvy & Mather - - 2 6 53 61 Ace Saatchi - - 4 5 51 60 Basic - - 9 3 46 58 Leo Burnett - 1 11 6 33 51 JWT - - 5 3 33 41 Jimenez D'Arcy - - 4 4 26 34 SOURCE: McCann-Erickson Philippines
HONG KONG: DraftWorldwide has expanded its promotional marketing capabilities by setting up Premium Surge, an in-house unit that designs and manufactures promotional premiums. The new entity was built on the ashes of US-based Simon Marketing, whose exclusive relationship with McDonald's came to an abrupt end last summer over a promotional games and sweepstakes scandal in America. Premium Surge consists of 14 top executives from Simon Marketing worldwide, including a team in Hong Kong, led by Calvin Wong. Draft Asia-Pacific regional director, Greg Paull, said: "Calvin was the driving force behind Simon Marketing in Hong Kong and China for the past 13 years and, as such, he has a network of key toys and promotions designers and makers in China, an asset which we will leverage for Draft's clients." The new unit's initial clients consist of Burger King and Kellogg's. All 14 executives snapped up by Draft have played integral roles in successful premium campaigns, including the McDonald's Happy Meals promotions. They will continue to create, develop, engineer and maufacture premium campaigns and products - ranging from brand-building and customer loyalty programmes to retail products aimed at both the children's and adult's markets. Paull added: "We are pleased to provide our clients and prospective clients with the collective expertise this group represents. "Although unrelated to promotional premiums, the recent unfortunate circumstances involving Simon Marketing created a unique opportunity for us to begin Premium Surge with a staff of exceptional calibre." Draft had been looking to create a premium company for more than a year Premium Surge will initially operate in three locations: Hong Kong, Los Angeles and Chicago. Working with more than a dozen factories in China, the Hong Kong team will play more of a manufacturing role.
Some hard interactive lessons have been learnt over the past two years. For a few agencies, the big takeaway has been that interactive isn't worth much of their time. But while it's true that the internet hasn't lived up to the early hype, the story is far from over. So before people deem digital to be a marginal issue, it is worth considering a few points that suggest interactive will indeed play a very important part in the future of our industry. More users: During the dotcom heyday, the press provided an endless stream of glowing accounts about the net's poster children. Today, it's a trail of doom. During this time, what happened to the internet penetration in Asia? No surprise - usage steadily increased, as it is still doing today, making the internet a part of many people's daily routine. Add to this the growth of the wireless internet in Japan through i-mode and you have an incredible growth story that is still continuing in most of the region. Beyond banners: The internet has moved well beyond banners. Too much attention has focused on click-through rates as the main barometer of web success. Banners are the equivalent of direct response advertising in the offline world. They are only one tactic for driving traffic to a site. Online sponsorships, affiliate programmes and offline drive efforts too are viable options. More importantly, the quality of the client-consumer interaction on the site itself is the key determinant of success. Unlike traditional communications channels that work in finite units, interactive material can have open-ended user sessions that last minutes or hours, if the content is compelling enough. Wireless messaging is adding a pervasive angle to this consumer interaction. This provides tantalising options for brand builders. An integrated channel: It's now clear that the net can be used as an important tool for promoting customer relationships and prompting activation. As more agencies get familiar with the creative palette of the internet, this relationship building is happening in more creative forms. Therefore, the internet is increasingly seen as a marketing channel that should work in sync with offline channels. Companies are using the web to complement other marketing activities, not supplant them. Expect interactive to become a mainstay of most companies' marketing mix, helping to build customer retention and loyalty. Measurable returns: The future of one-to-one marketing is increasingly focusing on addressable media, namely PCs, network appliances, PDAs, cell phones, etc. All of these share the common characteristic of having a return address. This enables marketers to measure, analyse, and optimise communications, based upon specific response data from specific consumers. This is an exciting prospect for clients demanding a measurable return on all their communications investments. Don't write off interactive just yet. There are many more miles ahead of us still.
Ogilvy & Mather has outgunned Grey Worldwide and McCann-Erickson in a three-way pitch to snatch the Rmb 30 million (US$3.8 million) Guangzhou Agile Group account. Agile is one of the biggest property groups in Guangdong.
Hong Kong Freeway has terminated its four-year relationship with Compass Visa after winning a long and drawn-out pitch for United Overseas Bank's credit card business. Five agencies pitched for the business and the shortlist was whittled down to three, including Freeway, for the full-service account. There was no incumbent. It is understood that that a pitch has been called for the Compass Visa account.
Business Week/China celebrated its 15th anniversary with the introduction of local content from leading Chinese commentators. Business Week Asia vice-president and managing director Alan Lammin said: "With the economy achieving a critical mass and because of WTO, we wanted to get our local partners (the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Co-operation) more involved."
Marc Lucas - D'Arcy Hong Kong executive creative director - has been voted in as the new chairman of the Hong Kong 4As, replacing Paul Chan who recently left BBDO to set up his own agency.
Mike Cozens, who last month quit as Red Bates' creative director, following its merger back into the mother agency Bates, has been named executive creative director of DDB Hong Kong. The appointment is effective from next month. Cozens takes over from Edward Shen, who is leaving DDB to take up TV commercial directing.
FCB Sydney has launched a customer relationship management programme for Samsung aimed at stimulating high-end television sales in Australia through a multimedia platform that focuses on data capture, and customer research and profiling. The centre of the initiative lies in the internet, where consumers are invited to join a Samsung club and enter a lucky draw. The programme is being rolled out on the back of an ongoing brand campaign, which includes direct mail, print and POS.
Leo Burnett Kreasindo has picked up LG's Flatron monitors business even though incumbent TBWA's TV campaign for the product is still on air. Burnett has made no secret that it is now eyeing the entire LG Electronics business in Indonesia, held by TBWA. Berndt Soderbom, managing director of LBK, said the agency won the account without a formal pitch. The media for LG Flatron is now booked through Starcom.
DDB has won the Peninsula Hotel global account in pitch that is believed to have also included Bates and Ogilvy & Mather. The brief, estimated to be worth about US$3 million, had been under review since February when the Peninsula dropped its 14-year AOR, Saatchi & Saatchi because of professional differences. The focus of the pitch was on strategic positioning and creative. "The Peninsula is relooking its core brand values as it expands and as it revamps existing operations," said Aaron Lau, DDB Greater China chairman. There was no media review and the task continues to be handled by Zenith.
SYDNEY: Levi Strauss has sacked its Australian agency, Clemenger BBDO, effective immediately after just 18 months, with the client deciding to take its A$4 million (about US$2 million) account to a smaller shop. Clemenger BBDO won the account after a highly competitive pitch process early last year, following Levi's relocation to Melbourne. Managing director of Clemenger Melbourne, Mark Pearce, said: "I'm not sure why they have done it. We had a good relationship and produced some really good work." Pearce said Levi's managing director, Peter Murphy, indicated he would be taking the account to a boutique agency. "He told me that was the way they wanted to go. If that's the decision they've made, there's little we can do about it," said Pearce. "They have a new marketing team in there now - they aren't the ones that appointed us." Pearce said he was not losing any sleep as Levi's "wasn't one of our top 10 accounts". Levi's was tight-lipped as to the future of the account and would not comment on a new agency appointment. One of Clemenger's more famous Levi's television campaigns, which depicted a homeless man wearing its jeans, was seen as a move back to the icon television branding achieved by Levi's in the '80s and '90s.
MANILA: Chinese kung fu star Zhang Zi Yi of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon fame is the new face of Visa as the credit card company plays up the power of its cards across 12 markets. Developed by BBDOF/Guerrero Ortega, the commercial shows Zhang dining in a premier French restaurant. But she enrages the chef by complaining that her soup is too salty. A fight erupts, allowing Zhang to show off the kung fu acrobatic stunts she pulled off in the cinematic blockbuster, and the restaurant is completely destroyed. In the end, a waiter tells Zhang the soup is free but unfurls a long bill for damage to the restaurant, leaving the star to present her Visa card. BBDO's chairman and executive creative director David Guerrero, Zhang was chosen because the TVC's storyline was similar to a scene in the movie. By associating Visa with Zhang, the card giant was losing to reinforce its position as the world's leading card company, Guerrero said. "We were briefed to show that Visa card holders have the power to make things happen and, in particular, to encourage people to use their cards every day. We wrote scripts that combined normal every day characters with extraordinary individuals." The campaign will be supported with print, outdoor, POS and direct mail.
HO CHI MINH: Tiger Beer kicked off a two-month television and print campaign on December 12 to link the brand with strength and success for the upcoming Vietnamese New Year or Tet celebrations. This is the fifth year that the Asia-Pacific Breweries brand has invested in a Tet campaign to capitalise on the peak time of the year for beer sales since beer is usually offered as a gift during this season of giving and sharing. In the 45-second thematic TV campaign, Tiger's agency Leo Burnett has drawn on the theme of strength and success symbolised by the horse to mark the upcoming year of the horse. The spot is expected to run in Singapore, China and Cambodia in January 2002. Nguyen Ha Vinh, account manager at Leo Burnett Vietnam, said: "Tiger Beer's efforts during past Tet celebrations are paying off. The brand is now the leading beer drunk during Tet, especially for off-premises consumption." Vinh said the challenge was to secure a territory for the brand within the marketing clutter that usually surrounds Tet. This led Burnett to introduce a carton-based lucky draw element to this year's campaign, with the brand giving away 1,000 pure gold horses. The campaign will be adapted into an 'Under the cap' bottle promotion with its own TVC for north Vietnam.
BANGKOK: Thailand's mobile phone sector is poised to receive a massive wake-up call with the imminent launch of CP Orange, which is believed to be armed with a one billion baht (US$20 million) marketing budget. Speculation of its budget size has competitors, chiefly AIS and DTAC, bracing themselves for what could be the biggest spending spree ever seen in Thailand. A pre-Christmas launch by CP Orange is highly anticipated. "Everything is booked in January - buildings, trains, buses, streets, tuk-tuks," said one media analyst. CP Orange is aiming for 90 per cent coverage of its network capacity of 1.1 million by the end of 2002. Its corporate affairs manager, Duke Theerathada, said: "We will bring the Orange international brand values in a way that is highly relevant to Thai people. Our look and feel will be very different from the current advertising by AIS and DTAC. If you click back and forth between them, there is no difference, except for the presenter." Mobile phone firms top Thai adspend categories, with AIS and DTAC estimated to have spent a total of 1,146 million baht (US$25.5 million) between them for the January to September 2001 period, according to ACNielsen. The mobile phone market is expected to reach nearly 30 per cent penetration by 2005, or have about 18.5 to 20 million subscribers. CP Orange is aiming to pull in one-third of the total market within five years. Heavyweight Thai-based Southeast Asian conglomerate, CP Group, teamed up with Orange, Europe's largest mobile phone firm in September 2000, resulting in a company observers predict will greatly dent the fortunes of AIS and DTAC. This fear can be evidenced by the way AIS and DTAC have been trying to take the wind out of CP Orange's sails by mimicking successful marketing initiatives the company has undertaken in the past and introducing these schemes as their own. Duke said: "We have affected the market even before our entry. AIS and DTAC are trying to pre-empt Orange, such as by helping dealers decorate their shops, and introducing drop calls and per second billing."
BANGKOK: Amstel Beer is poised to launch a major campaign at the beginning of next year to shore up its flagging fortunes in the mid-range Thai beer market. The beverage company is believed to have a 100 million baht (US$2.5 million) war chest for its advertising agency J. Walter Thompson to reposition its brand. Amstel is expected to go head-to-head with Boon Rawd Brewery's Singha Beer, said an agency source. Amstel will leverage its UEFA football tournament sponsorship in Europe to launch a below-the-line concept called 'Beer Stadium' at four key open-air areas in Bangkok. Amstel Stadium Challenges will be featured at the venues and will focus on sports, in particular football. "The Challenges will build the credentials to reflect the personality and character of Amstel drinkers, who are educated, genuine and enthusiastic men between 19 and 25," said a source at JWT. "We have to have bold ideas and be very smart to compete with Singha."
TAIPEI: Everbeauty, the in-house advertising arm of the Evergreen Group, has sparked an uproar after it won the NT$160 million (US$4.6 million) China External Trade Development Council (Cetra) trade exhibition account by offering an unusually deep discount. In what is seen as an industry first, Cetra requested agencies to pitch on media price. Marketing strategy, media planning or creative recommendations were not required for the review. When the bids were opened, the industry was shocked to learn that Everbeauty won the two-year assignment on a 20.11 per cent discount, meaning that the $4.6 million account became a $3.68 million job. Incumbent, Saatchi & Saatchi, presented an eight per cent discount, while Regal and DY&R offered cuts of six and 5.6 per cent respectively. One agency participant said: "This wasn't a pitch. It was an auction. If Everbeauty keeps the account but can't deliver its discount, it should be fined." The managing director of a competing agency added: "There is no way Everbeauty can make a profit, no matter how it juggles the media." Under Cetra's terms, all media discounts, including for volume and early bookings, must be returned to the client before commission is paid. In addition, Cetra's ads are normally placed in international print titles which do not offer commissions in excess of 20 per cent. Everbeauty declined to comment on its strategy. Others expressed concerns that Cetra would allow Everbeauty to quietly renegotiate once the uproar dies down. Some believe Everbeauty, as a member of one of Taiwan's largest conglomerates, may have the clout to do just that. Everbeauty was formed to publish the inflight magazine of the group's airline. Although it handles a few client accounts, it hardly ranks as a full-fledged agency, outsourcing for many services.
HONG KONG: Leo Burnett and Zenith Media have respectively scooped Agency of the Year and Media Agency of the Year prizes at media's annual agency awards. Miles Young, regional chairman of Ogilvy & Mather, and Steve Elrick, BBH creative director, won the inaugural Agency Head and Creative Person of the Year awards respectively. "Young's selection was more a question of leadership in an industry that often sorely lacks it," according to the citation. The Advertiser of the Year creative prize went to Levi Strauss Japan for a campaign orchestrated by BBH, while Universal McCann Hong Kong's work on Coca-Cola's Fanta business won the media Advertiser of the Year award.