Marketing Featured East Asia

7-Eleven HK to donate 1,000 7-SELECT chicken legs as store marks 40-year journey

Hong Kong – The global convenience store chain, 7- Eleven, has pledged to donate 1,000 7-SELECT chicken legs for 40 consecutive weeks to be distributed to Hong Kongers in need, marking its important 40th year in the industry.

The new initiative, which is done in partnership with Food Angel a local NGO, is part of 7-Eleven’s effort to be in the daily lives of Hongkongers. The donations will be delivered to recipients via Food Angel’s Community Centre, Community Food Assistance Service, and Automated Food Dispenser Service – an innovative initiative that allows for the flexible collection of chilled meals.

In addition, Food Angel will distribute the donations across its 180 charity partners. It is expected to help over 10,000 recipients including the elderly, low-income families, and people recovering from mental health problems, as well as cage home residents, and disabled people.

According to 7-Eleven, during the height of the pandemic last year, they have initiated several activities to help those most impacted by the outbreak. They have donated and delivered 70,000 food items to local neighborhoods and launched the ‘Charity Meal Voucher Program’, which raised over 550,000 vouchers to provide hot meals to disadvantaged people and low-income families. 

“Although the pandemic situation in Hong Kong is starting to stabilize this year, we remain committed to showing care and support to the most vulnerable in society,” said 7-Eleven.

Marketing Featured East Asia

WATCH: Korea’s first-ever virtual influencer comes to life, thanks to this insurance company’s campaign

Seoul, South Korea – The majority of brands are turning to the power of technology in an effort to attract more consumers as through its leverage brands are able to cook up out-of-the-box marketing campaigns, and one that’s been emerging as a trend lately are influencers – no not the human ones – but the highly resembling, and animated counterpart of the breathing face of the brand – the virtual influencers. A lot of countries are seeing their brands jump to the bandwagon, but here’s what’s hot as of the moment – Korea has just launched its first-ever virtual influencer through a campaign by Shinhan Life, the newly established insurance company in South Korea.

Being fresh to the market, Shinhan Life has launched its first brand campaign titled ‘Shinhan Life adds surprises to life’, unveiling ‘Oh Rozy’, the country’s virtual human.

Done in collaboration with advertising agency TBWA\Korea, the campaign aims to target the country’s Millenials and Gen Zs, who are reshaping the conventions of the financial investment markets. By featuring virtual human ‘Rozy’, the company seeks to break down the traditional codes applied to financial communications to appeal to the targeted audience, as Shinhan believes that this demographic is responsive to trends and they prioritize personal values including individuality and preference when choosing a brand or a product. 

‘Rozy’ is designed with 3D technology by analyzing the face and characteristics which Gen Z in Korea prefers the most. She currently has over 21,000 followers on Instagram and like ordinary influencers, uploads photos of her daily life and actively communicates with her fans via comments.

Throughout the brand film, ‘Rozy’ is dancing to the music in various locations including the forest, city, and subway with the message – “That surprising life begins when you meet Shinhan Life.”

According to Shinhan Life, the music used and Rozy’s dance moves were specially created for the campaign after analyzing the most popular music and dance content from the short video app TikTok for those in their 20s and 30s. 

“As the brand ambassador, Oh Rozy has given Shinhan Life new and exciting ways to communicate and engage with Gen MZ, who are rising as the major consumer segment in the financial market,” said TBWA\Korea’s spokesperson.

The new campaign will be airing across TV, digital, and social.

Marketing Featured East Asia

China’s mobile-first ad platform Nativex revamps mobile marketing initiative, ‘XploreChina’

Guangzhou, China – As complexities within the Chinese business landscape and the shift in consumer behavior toward e-commerce continues to increase, Nativex, the mobile-first advertising platform that helps brands drive sustainable growth through universal access to digital channels across the east and the west, has launched its revamped ‘XploreChina’ initiative a one-stop mobile marketing solution.

‘XploreChina’ initiative is designed to help clients achieve success in the Chinese market, offering acquisition, monetization, and creative services at scale and across multiple verticals. It provides a wide range of transparent tools and solutions tailored to all lifecycle stages. 

Under the ‘XploreChina’ umbrella, Nativex offers three distinct solutions for brands including China Top Media, KOL Marketing, and Android Solutions, as well as customized marketing solutions for public relations, and social media, among others.

The China Top Media solution grants advertisers instant access to premium inventory across China’s closed mobile ecosystem through strategic partnerships with ByteDance, Tencent, Baidu, and Alibaba, as well as Kuaishou, while the Android solution provides clients with the required documentation for launching their app in China’s Android ecosystem. It also includes support for app management and monetization on China’s mainstream Android app stores.

And lastly, the KOL Marketing solution helps brands run successful influencer campaigns in China by connecting them with over 40,000 Chinese influencers and more than 200 Multi-Channel Networks, including XingTu (Douyin), Magnet (Kuaishou), and HuaHuo (Bilibili). 

According to Nativex, the country’s US$14.28T economy continues to present a broad range of business opportunities for companies, especially those from emerging markets such as SEA, but without a strong understanding of market characteristics and knowledge around consumer preferences, companies seeking to enter China may encounter difficulties in building brand awareness and engaging with local audiences. As a result, leveraging the expertise and connections of a partner such as Nativex will help brands across various industries scale quickly and effectively in China. 

Irene Yang, the managing director at Nativex, shared that breaking into the Chinese market can be incredibly complex for marketers who do not have boots on the ground or localized expertise to lean on, due to its unique media ecosystem that’s dominated by domestic tech giants and its fragmented mobile audience. 

“Here at XploreChina, our unrivaled understanding of the Chinese market and strong connections to China’s top media platforms allow us to make the transition into this unique media ecosystem for brands seamless and effective. As more brands look to break into China, we are able to guide marketers every step of the way,” said Yang. 

Nativex has also announced that as part of the ‘XploreChina’ rebrand, advertisers also have access to ‘Nativex XMP Media Buying’ tool, which allows companies to reach hundreds of millions of users across the country’s leading ad platforms such as Wechat, Douyin, and Bilibili, as well as Nativex’s in-house creative studio TopWorks, which offers premium creative services. 

In addition to XploreChina’s three distinct solutions, brands will also have access to public relations, search engine optimization, and social media services to ensure brands of all shapes and sizes have the right online presence in China’s massive mobile market.

Marketing Featured East Asia

Global digital OOH marketplace VIOOH expands to HK via JCDecaux Cityscape tie-up

Hong Kong – London-headquartered global digital out-of-home (OOH) marketplace, VIOOH, has partnered with outdoor advertising company JCDecaux, to expand to urban Hong Kong via JCDecaux Cityscape its street furniture and bus shelter programmatic advertising inventory. 

JCDecaux Cityscape in Hong Kong has been operating Bus Shelter Advertising since 1993 and Tramcar Advertising for more than 10 years. With its Audience Intelligence Solution on the media assets, JCDecaux Cityscape is able to reach and interact with a broad group of mobile audiences every day.

Following the partnership, VIOOH would now be covering a quarter of the digital OOH market in Hong Kong across street furniture, trading across both guaranteed and non-guaranteed deals via JCDecaux. 

The affiliated data partners include Audience Management System for Street Furniture developed by JCDecaux, and OOH Planning and Measurement from audience and location intelligence company AdSquare, while integrated DSP partners include ad-tech firms Hivestack and The Trade Desk, as well as media agency Verizon Media.

VIOOH China’s CEO Ben Lin shared that VIOOH is pleased to offer advertisers the opportunity to benefit from more digital inventory at premium locations in Hong Kong.

“Our ambition is to change the conversation about out of home and to help accelerate transformation in outdoor advertising and we hope advertisers and media owners alike will maximize this new opportunity to thrive,” said Lin.

Meanwhile, Yoann El Jaouhari, the managing director of JCDecaux Cityscape, said that with this launch, their clients can enjoy unmatched flexibility, data-driven media planning, optimization, and retargeting capabilities, and data-triggered digital content across multiple prime districts in Hong Kong Island, namely Admiralty, Causeway Bay, and Central, as well as Wan Chai. 

“Our advanced ecosystem of data and digital solutions will help us accompany the brands to leverage the power of digital programmatic OOH, smartly optimize their advertising strategy, and keep improving the return on their ad spend in Hong Kong with JCDecaux,” said El Jaouhari.

According to VIOOH’s recent State of the Nation report, about 84% of Hong Kong advertisers claim they have bought, planned, or placed OOH programmatically in the last 12 months, above social media. Almost 94% expect to increase their investment in programmatic OOH in the next 18 months, indicating that programmatic OOH, considered to offer benefits for both brand-led and performance-led campaigns, is well utilized in the market.

In Hong Kong, programmatic investment in OOH in the last 12 months is the media channel that ranks highest, with 80% on social media, 80% on digital video, and 70% on digital audio following closely behind. About 76% of all Hong Kong media executives either agree or strongly agree that programmatic OOH is a clear part of their programmatic and digital strategy, with a greater number 82% agreeing programmatic OOH provides excellent value for money.

VIOOH said that more digital OOH inventory is due to be announced later this year.

Marketing Featured East Asia

Song Joong-Ki the face to launch new range of credit cards by Standard Chartered, Mastercard, Cathay

Hong Kong – The pandemic has prompted countries around the world to introduce travel restrictions and containment measures. However, these implementations cannot stop eager travelers to resume planning their travel preparations. 

A new range of credit cards by Standard Chartered, Cathay, and Mastercard has been launched to enable travelers to earn more prestigious privileges and enjoy a higher level of banking and travel experiences offered by the new credit card series.

A multi-platform campaign has been developed by TBWA\Hong Kong in support of the new card series – ‘Standard Chartered Cathay Mastercard Credit Cards’.

The theme of the campaign centers around ‘Get Ready for New Heights’, the over one-minute ad features famous South Korean actor Song Joong-Ki, and renowned Hong Kong lyricist Wyman Wong. It captures the actor explaining the card series’ many offers and privileges through various ads, encouraging the lyricist to plan his future banking and travel experiences.

The three new cards in the series are ‘Standard Chartered Cathay Mastercard Credit Card’, ‘Standard Chartered Cathay Mastercard Credit Card – Priority Banking’, and ‘Standard Chartered Cathay Mastercard Credit Card – Priority Private’, which recognize different banking segments. The card series replaces the existing ‘Standard Chartered Asia Miles Mastercard Credit Card’.

Cardholders can still earn Asia Miles directly by using banking services only from Standard Chartered, while Priority Banking and Priority Private cardholders can also enjoy complimentary Cathay Pacific Business Class Lounge access, priority check-in and boarding services, or limited Marco Polo Club Silver or Gold membership during the promotional period.

“With the pandemic delaying travel plans and creating a growing sense of wanderlust, the campaign invites people to get a head-start on their travel preparations with an elevated card experience to earn miles faster and more easily than ever,” said Terence Ling, the head of strategy at TBWA\Hong Kong.

Meanwhile, TBWA\Hong Kong’s Managing Director Jan Cho commented that they wanted to tap into the booming popularity of K-dramas, and use the allure of Korea as a travel destination.

“However, due to pandemic travel restrictions, overseas filming was no longer possible, and forced us to quickly adapt to a new way of working. I’m very proud of our team, and the production team in Korea, for working remotely and cohesively to bring this campaign to life,” said Cho.

Developed together with media support by Carat Hong Kong and iProspect Hong Kong, the campaign includes TVC, out-of-home, and print, as well as online, and social media.

Marketing Featured East Asia

Grey Group elevates Masanori Tagaya to CCO of Grey Tokyo

Tokyo, Japan – Advertising network Grey Group in Tokyo, Japan has announced the promotion of Masanori Tagaya, former executive creative director, to now assume the role of chief creative officer.

Tagaya first joined Grey Japan in 2002 as a TVC producer and copywriter and rose through the ranks to be named creative director in 2012 and executive creative director in 2019. He worked on multiple brand campaigns for P&G, Febreze, and Pantene, as well as Lenor, and Pringles, among others. 

Commenting on his promotion, Tagaya said that he finds it to be an extraordinary opportunity to dive in, creating work that represents different styles, and enjoying the ride along with the team,

“Consumer insights have changed. Our work styles have changed. We have arrived at an age where companies and brands must be meaningful in the market and be meaningful in society,” said Tagaya.

Meanwhile, Yukiko Ochiai, the CEO and president of Grey Tokyo, shared that Tagaya has proven himself to be an excellent creative leader who delivers creatively celebrated work that helps the clients’ business grow. 

“Our world has changed, and with that, our consumers’ habits have changed. I am confident Masa will accelerate Grey Tokyo’s ability to develop ground-breaking work that is truly ‘famously effective’ in our new world, which will continue to drive growth for our clients,” said Ochiai.

In March this year, Grey Group in China has also announced the appointment of Sharlene Wu as the new CEO, with the aim to build better connections with Chinese Grey clients. Wu was tasked to drive the agency’s overall strategic vision and growth plan.

Marketing Featured East Asia

Crocs China rolls out interactive campaign to promote new ‘Crocs for Yang Mi’ collection

Shanghai, China – Global footwear brand Crocs in China has launched an interactive and playful, physical installation at Taikoo Hui Shanghai, in order to promote the ‘Crocs for Yang Mi’ collection, with global brand ambassador Yang Mi, tapping into the Chinese actress’ enormous fanbase. 

According to Crocs, the creative idea was inspired by Yang Mi’s personal style that a person is neither sweet nor only cool, encouraging fans to discover and show the multi-side charm of the campaign message, ‘Come as you are’.

Created in collaboration with digital production company MediaMonks, the campaign execution will be via an experiential installation at Taikoo Hui mall, where photo booths were set up to capture its campaign theme ‘The Yang Mi Sweet and Cool Style’. 

With three selfie booths that uniquely depict each of the Mi-styles and maintain the key visual aesthetic, the campaign seeks to stay close to Yang Mi’s fans and the Gen Z female consumers, who are split into style-shoppers and true-love fans.

Fans could personalize the photo moment with three shareable booths furnished with interactive photo, sound, and lighting booths. The control panels in front of the booths opt for the visitors to experiment with the set in order to find their own sweet and cool style. 

Furthermore, various Jibbitz charms will be used to personalize the photo moments by putting them on the interactive board. This will activate a real-time personalized soundscape with a fitting lighting setup, echoing Yang Mi’s sweet and cool styles.

Each booth will also have its own soundboard to reflect its interior design. With 10 sound layers on the soundboard and a maximum of 4 Jibbitz charms to move around, there are over 1000 different possible combinations that can be made by users. For each installation, a personal sound or phrase that represents the mood will be created, which urges consumers to record and share on their social media platforms with an incentive that can be redeemed in the Crocs Energy Store in the Taikoo Hui mall.

Currently, over 8,000 people have engaged with the activation, generating 1.79 million impressions with 32% of the installation visitors converting to store visitors.

Marketing Featured East Asia

AS Watson Group leads top Hong Kong retailers in 2020

Hong Kong – The consequences of the pandemic are unprecedented and felt around the world, wreaking havoc across the retail industry. Euromonitor International, the global independent strategic market research provider firm, has revealed its list of the top companies within the retailing industry in the APAC region for 2020, and in Hong Kong, more than half of the leading companies in 2019 are still the ones that ruled 2020.

The majority of the 10 companies on the list maintained their sales growth and rankings in 2020. International health and beauty retailer AS Watson Group has retained its standing, coming out to reign the rankings as the top retailer. This was followed by Dairy Farm International Holdings, the pan-Asian retailer that operates across food, health and beauty, and home furnishings, and restaurants, with Japan-based distribution business firm Seven & I Holdings Co landing in the third spot.

Meanwhile, jewelry company Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group also maintained its sales as well, coming out in the fourth spot, while property developer Sun Hung Kai Properties caps the top five. One of the firms that have also retained growth for the year is convenience store firm Alimentation Couche-Tard ending in the eighth spot.

Two out of the top 10 firms have registered improvement in sales, namely, retail and financial services company AEON Group and multimedia business firm Hong Kong Television Network, landing in the sixth and seventh spots respectively.

On the other hand, jewelry retailer firm Luk Fook Holdings and retail chain company Broadway Photo Supply have dropped sales in 2020.

AS Watson Group, which registered $9.8b in sales in 2020 came out as the 34th leading retailer in the Asia region. For the region, Alibaba Group Holding took the crown with $367b in total sales for the year.

According to Euromonitor, the pandemic has had a significant negative effect on consumer confidence, leading many to rein in their spending, which impacted many retailers adversely enough to exit the market. However, the pandemic has been a boon for grocery retailers and e-commerce and will continue to enjoy strong growth in retail current value sales, as consumers become more interested in home cooking and following a healthier diet.

In 2021, the research firm believes that brick-and-mortar sales will begin to rebound, while retailers that depend on tourism will be the slowest to recover, including stores selling jewelry, watches, and apparel, as well as footwear, and luggage.

SME Featured East Asia

HKTDC launches one-stop platform for SMEs to tap into GBA biz

Hong Kong – The Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), a statutory body that promotes, assists, and develops the country’s trade, has launched the GoGBA one-stop platform, a new business support program that aims to help SMEs tap into the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA).

GBA is China’s project that seeks to foster economic growth by developing technology and innovation, boosting infrastructure, and increasing financial links between Hong Kong, Macau, and nine other cities in Southern China.

Through the new GoGBA one-stop platform, businesses will be able to enjoy its three major services that can help them succeed in the region.

One of the services is the digital information and business tools, which consists of the GoGBA WeChat mini program digital messaging platform, running in collaboration with the government offices of Guangdong province and municipal governments in the GBA. It provides important information on the region including updates on policies and subsidies, listings of related business and trade organizations, and regional guides, as well as information on GBA government services and applications. It also offers practical tools such as weather forecasts, interactive maps, and details of public services, among others.

GBA also offers advisory services and training, where centers organize a series of seminars and workshops, sharing sessions and advisory activities in group or individual formats, equipping companies with the practical knowledge and skill sets needed to succeed.

And lastly, GBA offers online and offline activities, promoting the adoption of the new ‘digital and physical’ format for events and activities. The Council is currently planning to organize a wide range of activities in the mainland, including exhibitions and conferences, to help Hong Kong enterprises promote their products and services, explore business opportunities in GBA cities, and gain practical experience at the same time.

HKTDC’s Chairman Dr. Peter K N Lam shared that the GBA offers huge opportunities for businesses in Hong Kong and around the world. 

“Our GoGBA WeChat mini program is a useful digital tool to complement our physical support centers in Hong Kong and Shenzhen, and other parts of the GBA through our partners. As more and more businesses look for prospects in the GBA, the HKTDC is here to help,” said Lam.

Marketing Featured East Asia

Wunderman Thompson moves APAC creative head Sheungyan Lo to focus on HK team

Hong Kong – Global creative and CRM agency Wunderman Thompson has appointed Sheungyan ‘Mayan’ Lo, the current head of its APAC unit’s creative team, to be its new chief creative officer in Hong Kong.

Lo has been at the helm of the APAC creative team for more than two decades and will continue to be heavily involved in client work and support the creative team and leadership in the Greater China offices and beyond.

With Lo’s guidance, the APAC unit has been recognized at some of the industry’s best shows including Japan’s AI Manga for KIOXIA and Thailand’s Stay Home Miles Exchange for Thai Airways. 

In addition, his work has received accolades worldwide at award-giving bodies such as Cannes, One Show, and D&AD, as well as Clio, and LIA, among others. Lo has also been regularly invited to be on the other side – as a jury panel to help decide which among the entries are award-winning pieces of work. 

As part of the new role, Lo will be leading the Hong Kong creative department.

Commenting on his appointment, Lo said, “I am delighted to go back home. And I am even more excited to work closely with all the talents in my home market.”

Meanwhile, Matt Parry, the managing director at Wunderman Thompson Hong Kong, vouched for Lo, looking to him as one of the most respected creative leaders in Asia. 

“He has an incredible track record of delivering outstanding creative solutions for some of the most iconic brands in this region. I could not be more excited that Mayan is returning home,” said Parry.

Lo’s appointment coincides with the departure of Carlos Camacho, executive creative director, who is moving to the Amsterdam team.