Chinese telecoms giant Huawei, recently ranked as the world's third-largest smartphone maker, kicked off a branding campaign for its devices business at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this week.
With the tagline "Make it Possible," the campaign unveiled at the world's largestcmobile phone trade show supports Huawei's line of Ascend smartphones. Huawei calls the new Ascend P2 "the fastest smartphone in the world" and hopes it will help cement its position in the consumer electronics industry.
WPP, hired late last year to handle Huawei's global corporate branding, was not involved in the effort. Nor was Publicis Groupe's Bartle Bogle Hegarty, which did a campaign for Huawei devices last year. Saatchi & Saatchi Shanghai is behind the "Make It Possible" effort.
Huawei, which built its global business on telecoms infrastructure, is now trying to become a top player in consumer products, particularly smartphones. Research firm IDC reported that Huawei was the world's third-largest smartphone maker in the fourth quarter of 2012. It had 4.9% market share, trailing Samsung's 29% and Apple's 21.8%. In 2012, Huawei sold 27.2 million smartphones to end users, up nearly 74% from the year prior, Gartner said.
Though sales are up, "Make it Possible" underscores the gap between Shenzhen, China-based Huawei and the likes of Samsung and Apple when it comes to marketing.
Set to images of a young man traversing urban and rural landscapes, the narrator intones: "Sure, challenges await me. Obstacles will stand in my way and moments of doubt will appear. But I will never stop believing. Magic can be created."
"This gives us strong momentum to focus our efforts to be a leading smartphone brand in the coming years," Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei Consumer Business Group, said in a statement. "I am excited that 'Make it Possible' not only defines who we are, it also represents the desire for extraordinary experiences from consumers around the world."
Huawei said the campaign will be rolled out in strategic markets around the world throughout the year and will include "touch-points as retail experiences, online activities, and media engagement."
Chinese brands are increasingly using global tech events to build their international brands. At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January, for instance, Chinese electronics giant HiSense took over a high-profile exhibition space that previously belonged to Microsoft Corp.
According to The Associated Press, Huawei needs to work on pitching its products to a global audience. While presenting the Ascend P2, Mr. Yu reportedly said the option of more than 100 different "themes" was important because "ladies like flowers, colorful things" -- a comment that might not raise too many eyebrows in China but probably wouldn't impress many Westerners.
Mr. Yu also said "Huawei is learning from Apple how to make Google's Android software easier to use, a lawsuit-friendly utterance considering that Apple is on a global campaign to sue makers of Android phones for copying from the iPhone," AP reported.
Huawei's global corporate branding work, an umbrella campaign for all of its business divisions, is expected to debut later this year. The WPP team handling the work is believed to include Ogilvy, Maxus and Burson-Marsteller.