Alfonso De Dios

Associate Director-Media for Greater China, Proctor & Gamble Co.

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Alfonso De Dios, Procter & Gamble Co.'s associate director-media for Greater China, recently met the grand monk at a Shaolin monastery in Henan province, a cradle of Chinese Buddhism. After the traditional protocol, the monk handed Mr. De Dios his name card with an e-mail and web address. And then matter-of-factly, the monk mentioned he would soon be visiting Disneyland.
Alfonso De Dios, Associate Director-Media for Greater China, Proctor & Gamble Co.
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"That demonstrates China today, a healthy tension between tradition and the new order. As much as China is opening up, it still remains grounded on its core traditions and values, a 1,000-year-old tradition plugged into cyberspace. A great, no-miss opportunity to connect and make a difference in our consumers' lives," says Mr. De Dios, 40, a friendly, soft-spoken Filipino known to colleagues as "Pon."

One of the most powerful media executives in China, he has helped make changes through scale and innovation. "This market has changed immensely from the rise of local and provincial broadcasters," he says. "The improving skill sets of the people at those stations and their openness to the marketing process and how media can be part of it. There is still a lot of risk aversion in the market, but I'm seeing more brainstorming and willingness to work with us."

P&G's big ad budget has certainly opened doors. The U.S. consumer-goods company is China's largest advertiser, spending about $400 million on media annually, according to Nielsen Media Research. Its distribution arm reaches consumers in 2,000 Chinese cities.

P&G spends more than $45 million at an auction held every November for a year's worth of prime-time airtime on CCTV, China's national state-run broadcaster, more than any other company, earning Mr. De Dios the princely nickname "king of the auction."

Even so, Mr. De Dios is buying fewer "basic 30" spots, reflecting a decision P&G made about five years ago. P&G has become the biggest backer of reality TV in China, especially since 2005.

"He's a tireless worker who is visible in China because he gets into the markets to get a real sense of how people are leading their lives and to meet the media on their turf," says Shanghai-based Doug Pearce, CEO-Greater China of Starcom, P&G's media shop.

* Finding more creativity further away from Beijing

* Has drawn the nickname "king of the auction" as the biggest TV buyer
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