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Marketer: TCL-Thomson Electronics

Agency: Leo Burnett, Guangzhou

TCL finds an eager market in China for upscale TV sets backed by sophisticated ads.

[Guangzhou, China] China isn't just a massive producer of high-definition TVs these days. Its red-hot economy has created a growing market for the finished product.

TCL-Thomson Electronics (TTE) has started a marketing campaign in China for new super-thin sets amid rising sales. The Shenzhen-based company's sales rose 40% in China in June, compared to the same month one year earlier, while overseas sales rose 48.5% to 504,493 units.

TV, print and outdoor ads broke in late July. The campaign is the first since Chinese TV maker TCL, one of a handful of emerging international Chinese brands, announced its merger with Thomson, the French media-services and equipment group, last year. The 30-second spot draws on Thomson's French heritage to promote the design, the thinnest DLP (digital light processing) model in the world. Filmed in Paris, it shows a man and woman searching in vain, presumably for each other, until they both turn up at the same art gallery. They are stopped in their tracks, not by catching sight of each other, but by the portrait-like slimness of the DLP set hanging on the wall among works of art.

The campaign was created by Publicis Groupe's Leo Burnett Worldwide in Guanghzou, both to market high-end models and raise TCL's brand image to support sales of cheaper mass-market sets. It will run at least through October, when French President Jacques Chirac visits Beijing to kick off China's "Year of French Culture," said Michael Tsang, management supervisor, Leo Burnett, Guangzhou. Publicis' Starcom planned media, with buying handled by local agencies.

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