World's biggest mail order house taps supermodel

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HAMBURG -- The world's biggest home shopping company, Otto Mail Order, is launching a major marketing offensive in Asia with new fashion ranges tailored to the market, a multi-country fashion tour starring German supermodel Claudia Schiffer and Chairman Michael Otto and advertising to support it.

The German Otto has set up mail order businesses with local partners in South Korea, Taiwan and, most recently, China, where it joined with the country's biggest retail group, Cheer, late last year.

Otto Cheer (80% Otto-owned) is making its debut in the Shanghai region, home to 128 million people. The first Chinese catalogue features Schiffer, who also appeared in person on the famous Nanjing Road to hand out signed copies and in the fashion show. The event is supported by magazine ads and inserts in daily newspapers through J. Walter Thompson, Shanghai.

The clothes in the 36 page catalogue are Western in style and for women between the ages of 25 and 45. They span business suits, leisure clothing and underwear, but are classic designs and not provocative, to suit the market. A print-run of 500,000 was sent to credit card holders in the Shanghai area.

The tour moved to Taiwan September 12, where Schiffer launched the first Otto catalogue for the country. Seoul in South Korea will host the Otto fashion show. Dentsu Young & Rubicam has created Otto's ads in Taiwan and South Korea.

Copyright September 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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