Levi's launches China's first branded virtual world

Other news in Greater China

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HONG KONG--Levi’s is going after the attention of 15-to-24-year-old Chinese consumers with the first social networking and public chat branded virtual world in Hong Kong and China.

Levi's created two browser-based virtual environment sites, www.levisworld.com.hk and www.levisworld.com.cn, for Hong Kong and China with Tequila, TBWA Worldwide’s below-the-line marketing arm in Hong Kong, and media agency OMD. The sites were designed to let local consumers interact online and influence each other, and ultimately drive the online audiences to Levi’s stores in the real world.

Members can create avatars and customize their personal look, (including gender, body shape, head, hair color, skin tone and Levi’s wardrobe and accessories). They can play games, chat with each other, invite their buddies, try and buy the latest Levi’s collections, and participate in a host of daily online events including DJ music nights, singles nights and celebrity chats. They can earn and spend virtual money in both the virtual world and in real world stores, where real limited edition items can be redeemed.

In Hong Kong, the site went live with an online “red carpet” launch party on Oct.23. To create buzz, four days prior to the launch, a series of in-store communications, print ads, online banners and animated YouTube videos invited people to register for a special Levi’s party. Even though no details were provided except the date, more than 5,800 people sent RSVPs within 48 hours.

At the virtual “red carpet” event, audiences could meet celebrities, create and customize their own online characters, and chat with each other.

Visitors to the online community can earn virtual money called Levi’s Coins when chatting, changing head designs and styles, and trying on new clothes Using Levi’s Coins, members can buy the latest clothing collection at the virtual store and join different events to meet new friends. Every week, members can participate in different events. On Fridays, for instance, famous local artists and editors will introduce and discuss topics from comics to digital gaming with Levi’s members.


LVMH transforms Great Wall into Fendi catwalk
BEIJING--With luxury sales rising fast in China, global marketers have been investing in prominent flagship stores in the mainland as well as high-end events.

But LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton created a stir late last month when it became the first luxury fashion brand to hold a runway show on the Great Wall. The global luxury goods giant transformed a portion of the wall at Juyongguan Pass, 50 kilometers northwest of Beijing, into an 85-meter catwalk to launch Fendi’s spring and summer 2008 collection with 88 models--half of them from China and 44 from the rest of the world.

The show was attended by celebrities such as Ziyi Zhang, Kate Bosworth, Jeon Do Yeon and Thandie Newton, as well as LVMH chairman-CEO, Bernard Arnault, Fendi designers Karl Lagerfeld and Silvia Fendi, and Fendi chairman -CEO Michael Burke.


Wong Kar Wai's "My Blueberry Nights" develops premiere buzz with iPart contest
SHANGHAI--China's largest female social networking service (SNS) community, iPart, is cooperating with the producers of "My Blueberry Nights,” a 2007 movie by Hong Kong film director Wong Kar Wai that stars Norah Jones, Jude Law and Natalie Portman, to find real "Blueberry Girls" in China.

The film "My Blueberry Nights" and iPart will look for Blueberry Girls together and take them on a 30-day tour of China via a "Blueberry Bus.” IPart offers internet services such as blogs, minihompy (a combination of photo gallery, video and personal bulletin board), friendship and dating services, and mobile phone functions.

According to the organizers, over 500 million people are expected to follow the month-long 6,100-km journey to 10 Chinese cities, in which the “Blueberry Girls” seek their dreams, thereby emulating Norah Jones, the heroine of "My Blueberry Nights.” The women, who will be selected through an online vote on the iPart portal www.ipart.cn, will also attend the premiere of "My Blueberry Nights” in China and receive an award from Ms. Jones at the event.


P&G discusses taboo subject with online campaign for Whisper

HONG KONG--Procter & Gamble is promoting Whisper in China with an online contest it hopes will shift Chinese women's negative perceptions about menstruation while promoting the U.S. company's sanitary napkin brand. Consumers enter the contest by submitting a "manifesto" about a "happy period" via mobile phone SMS messages or online at www.happywhisper.com.cn, a platform where women also can share thoughts about what they do to make their period a more positive experience.

The site also features manifestos from famous Chinese women such as model Jiang Peilin; Zhao Conghui, chief editor of a beauty magazine; Zhang Yafei, first runner up on the well-known second season of the Chinese reality show Supergirl; and actresses and athletes. They will all be celebrity judges for the contest. Visitors to the site can also view and download 10-second Whisper TV spots created by Leo Burnett Worldwide in Hong Kong, take part in an online physiological test and download wallpapers and screensavers.

By the Nov. 5 deadline, the site had 182,416 registered members and 19,168 contest entrants. Public voting will narrow the contest to 30 finalists, who will be named on Nov. 12. The celebrity judges and brand representatives from P&G and its ad agencies will select three winners of spa holidays in Bangkok. The other finalists get Apple iPod Nano portable music players.

The Publicis Groupe-owned ad agency’s siblings, media agency Starcom MediaVest Group, below-the-line network Arc Worldwide and interactive shop Digitas were also involved in the campaign. Besides TV, the integrated campaign used the internet, in-store leaflets, portal seeding, e-flyers and search engine marketing, mobile phones and magazine advertorials.

“We knew it would take more than a traditional campaign to truly connect with our consumers on such a taboo topic,” said Elaine Hui, Arc’s associate brand director in Hong Kong. “We decided to embrace new media to redefine our relationship with them. The website provides a unique environment for Chinese women to feel like part of a community and share their personal feelings about menstruation. The key is to keep this forum open and uncensored,” whether the manifestos turn out to be positive or negative.
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