AZN TV MAKES IT EASIER TO REACH ASIANS

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Marketers are taking a new look at the tiny $100 million Asian-American ad market.

Procter & Gamble Co. has just held a pitch and named its first Asian-American ad agency, Los Angeles-based AAAZA Advertising, part of the Admerasia group. The assignment is for prescription drugs, mainly osteoporosis drug Actonel. And Wal-Mart, after an excruciatingly long review that lasted two years, this month broke its first in-language Asian work, including TV spots in Mandarin, Cantonese and Vietnamese, and Filipino print ads, working with IW Group, Los Angeles.

In a move that will make it easier for marketers to reach Asian-American audiences with English-language spots, the Comcast-owned International Channel, renamed AZN Television last month, has switched to all-Asian programming that is mostly dubbed or subtitled in English to reach the 35% of Asian viewers who only speak English.

Some advertisers, put off by the need to do Asian creative in up to seven languages, are jumping at the chance to reach English-speaking Asians more easily. Bill Georges, VP-advertising sales, said Pepsi-Cola Co. has become a major sponsor of a young Asian-American magazine show called "Stir." Pepsi is running urban spots done by Stain, New York, he said. Sony Pictures is also running for the first time. Previously, theatrical and DVD marketers stayed away because their trailers are in English, he said.

Getting into the spirit, Toyota Motor Co. and Attik, San Francisco, developed an animated spot for the Scion that runs during a block of Japanese anime programming.

As an incentive not to use general-market English-language commercials, AZN Television is offering a 15% discount for culturally relevant spots, including use of Asian actors.

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