U.S. airlines compete for China routes
WASHINGTON, D.C.--Four U.S. airlines have taken off the gloves to bolster their case for a slot opening early next year for a single new daily nonstop flight between a U.S. hub and China. Each carrier is creating web pages, mass e-mails and, in one case, radio ads to urge their frequent flyers and other customers to write the Department of Transportation.
The four contenders are Northwest Airlines (Detroit to Shanghai); United Airlines (Washington, D.C. to Beijing); American Airlines (Dallas/Fort Worth to Beijing) and Continental Airlines (Newark, N.J. to Beijing). All four airlines already fly to China.
United is using radio ads, e-mails to its frequent flyers and part of its web site to push its "capitol-to-capitol coalition." The airline claims its routing would "enhance and strengthen the economic and political relationships" between the two countries and also provide 26% to 57% more seats than rivals.
Northwest also used its web site and e-mails, but also joined with the Detroit airport authority to provide laptops at community events where consumers could endorse the proposal, generating 168,000 signatures of support. Northwest claimes its Detroit routing would be convenient to the greatest number of customers.
American sent its frequent flyers a letter signed by EVP Marketing Dan Garton linking to both an online petition and an aa.com/flytochina.com site. The site’s home page includes a message from the CEO, a running count of the number of signatures gathered for American’s petition—117,400—and a list of five reasons to support an new DFW-China flight, including opening up a new gateway to China, the first from the southern U.S.
In addition to using its web site and e-mail, Continental put up banners at its gates directing consumers to the site. According to Continental, the market for New York-Shanghai traffic is five times bigger than the Dallas market.
The new slot is a result of an aviation agreement the U.S. and China signed in 2004 and takes effect March 25, 2007. The airlines have to submit their final briefs to the Department of Transportation by Oct. 31, and a decision will be made "as soon as possible" afterwards, a spokesman said.
--by Ad Age reporter Ira Teinowitz in Washington, D.C.
Energizer appoints Mediaedge:cia
HONG KONG--Energizer Holdings has handed the media business for its Energizer, Eveready and Schick brands in 20 countries across Asia/Pacific, the Middle East and Africa to Mediaedge:cia. The win, which includes China, Taiwan and Hong Kong, marks the first time Energizer has consolidated its media business in this region with one agency network.
MTV forms alliance with China's top search engine
BEIJING--Viacom’s MTV Networks has formed a content and advertising alliance with one of China’s largest search engines, Baidu.com. The partnership will give China's 123 million internet users access to 15,000 hours of MTV and Nickelodeon original video content and music videos licensed by five top Chinese and Asian music companies for online viewing or download through Baidu, effective Oct.17.
The content, varying in length from 10 to 30 minutes, includes western entertainment like "SpongeBob SquarePants" and "Pimp My Ride" as well as original local programming like "MTV Tian Lai Cun" and "MTV Music Wire."
Some downloaded content like music videos will require payment, but most areas such as "MTV Zone" will be free in exchange for viewing ads for marketers like Motorola and Procter & Gamble's Rejoice brand. MTV, Baidu, and where applicable, the record labels, will share the revenues. This deal extends MTV’s digital media platform in China, where MTV alredy has partnerships with China Mobile and China Unicom, reaching 438 million mobile subscribers.
"This is part of our Rejoice campaign," said Alfonso De Dios, P&G's Guangzhou-based associate director, media for Greater China, which has relaunched the hair care brand with a music marketing campaign in partnership with MTV. With Baidu, MTV "will feature a Rejoice song "as one of their downloadables. So, it's a natural link."