Mobile ads hit Shanghai streets

And other news in Greater China

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SHANGHAI--Cutting through the clutter of Shanghai's frantic media market is one of the biggest challenges for advertisers in China, prompting local companies to constantly seek out new places to put ads. Focus Media, for instance, has a network of flat screen monitors in building lobbies, elevators and retail outlets, and Seven Media's 30 x 8 meter video screen floats up and down the city's Huang Pu River.

Now, Shanghai-based Hudson Advertising Co. has come up with another first for China's most sophisticated consumer market, a truck with a five sq. meter plasma screen on each side that airs TV spots, including audio, visible to other vehicles as well as pedestrians.

The truck, fitted with $130,000 worth of audio-visual equipment, crawls through Shanghai's upscale Nanjing Xi Lu Road between Huashan and Jiangning streets from 8am to 11pm, according to Hudson spokesman Cao Chen. Airtime costs $3,620 for a 5" spot that is in the rotation for one week, rising to $8,791 for 15" ads and $12,669 for 30" spots. Advertisers running ads on the truck include the Chinese e-commerce portal Alibaba, Nestle, Reckitt Benckiser Corp. for its Dettol antiseptic brand, Allianz insurance company and South Korea's Orion Confectionery Co.

"We think it's an innovative way to broadcast," said Ma Yun, regional marketing manager for Nestle's Fuller Food ice cream division in Shanghai. "You have to find a very good way to reach people. Nanjing Xi Lu is a very good location because there are so many people going there for fashion trends and premium brands. [Those are] the target consumers we want to reach."

The company launched the truck in Shanghai in February but is looking for venture capital to add mobile LED trucks on the streets in three Chinese cities with rising disposable income, Hangzhou, Nanjing and Shenzhen.
--by Bill Marcus in Shanghai


Nanjing Auto starts production of MG cars
SHANGHAI--China's largest auto company, Nanjing Automobile Group Corp. began making MG Rover cars with a $362 million production line on March 27, a further sign that Chinese companies are eagerly expanding overseas through acquisitions of overseas businesses. The cars will be available in dealer showrooms in China and Europe as early as next year.

Nanjing Auto acquired the MG's technology and brand from the British carmaker MG Rover in 2005, one year after its rival and China's No. 2 carmaker, Shanghai Automotive Industrial Corp. (SAIC), bought the technology and intellectual property rights for the company's Rover line. (Neither company has the rights to the Rover brand name, which belonged to BMW, Rover's former owner, which sold it to Ford Motor Co. last year.) Nanjing Auto also has a 50:50 joint venture with Italy's Fiat Auto.


BBH wins launch campaign for domestic FedEx service
SHANGHAI - Federal Express has appointed Bartle Bogle Hegarty’s Shanghai office to handle creative for the launch of a new domestic express delivery service. The win follows a pitch against BBDO Worldwide, which handles creative for FedEx's international service in China, as well as Saatchi & Saatchi and Euro RSCG.


Metersbonwe appoints Leo Burnett
SHANGHAI--The Chinese apparel company Metersbonwe Group has appointed Leo Burnett Shanghai as its creative agency without a pitch. Previously, the account was handled by JWT, Shanghai. A new campaign for Metersbonwe, a popular casual wear fashion brand aimed at teens which is endorsed by pop singers, Jay Chou and Aaron Kwok, will roll out later in the year to launch the brand's autumn/winter collection. Founded in Shanghai in 1995, Metersbonwe now operates over 1,800 retails stores across China.


InBev consolidates Chinese brands with JWT Shanghai
SHANGHAI--Belgian brewing giant Inbev, created by merger of Interbrew and AmBev, has consolidated communication for its beer brands in China with JWT, Shanghai without a pitch, including the addition of its key Red Rock brand. Previously, that account was handled by Lintas, a joint venture in China that is 80% owned by Guangming Daily Group, with Interpublic Group of Cos. holding the remaining 20% stake. Following a series of acquisitions in China, Inbev now controls about 10 local beers with regional distribution. JWT also handles brands like Sedrin in Fujian province, which InBev hopes to build into a national brand and Double Deer in Zhejiang province.


Friso communication in Hong Kong goes to Grey
HONG KONG--The Netherland’s Friesland Food has appointed Grey Global Group in Hong Kong to handle communication for Friso, a range of powdered milk powders for infants and young children. Previously, the business was handled by JWT, Hong Kong.


Leo Burnett acquires Yong Yang
SHANGHAI--Leo Burnett Worldwide and its Arc Worldwide marketing services arm have acquired Yong Yang, a Chengdu-based Chinese company that specializes in field marketing, retail and promotional merchandising and activation in tier three and tier four cities. Many of those markets have populations below one million and are difficult for marketers to penetrate through traditional media. Founded in 1995, Yong Yang has 19 offices across Greater China working with brands such as Budweiser, Heineken, China Telecom, Marlboro and Sony Ericsson, and has worked jointly on project with Arc in the past.


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