Neutrogena creates emotional bond with working women online

And other news in Greater China

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SHANGHAI--Johnson & Johnson is trying to build awareness and trial of its Neutrogena skin care line in China with a microsite, on Netease, a popular Chinese portal, that connects beauty and skin care with topics like love and their careers. The campaign launched last month and will run through the end of June.

“Women ask themselves three times more questions a day than men,” said Magdalena Wszelaki, Shanghai-based regional VP, strategic planning at Agenda, the independent agency behind the digital portion of the campaign. The Neutrogena site was built around the consumer insight that Chinese women ask themselves, “I have good and bad skin days. I wish I knew why.”

That question is related to other issues faced by Chinese women, who are entering the work force with few older role models, on topics ranging from skin care, cosmetics and hair care, fashion, job issues and relationships.

The online effort, "Journey to True You," throws dares at two outgoing young women who are well known but not celebrities, in online webisodes. Zhao Shi Meng, a fashion model with a degree in architecture design, is the host of the “Shopping Street” program on CCTV 2, the business channel on China Central Television, the state-run national broadcast network. Yin Yuan Yuan is an English teacher who has become one of China’s most popular bloggers under the name "Michelle" Yin.

“By facing challenges and obstacles in life, we learn the most about ourselves. So, to learn about ourselves, we need to challenge ourselves. Smart women will understand [the campaign] and they tell other women to change too. This is a potential for a viral effect,” said Ms. Wszelaki.

The webisodes are similar to reality TV segments. Few of the lines are scripted and the dares are challenging but not impossible. In the “date bonding” segment, for example, Ms. Zhao chooses a date, then completes a simple activity with him, shopping for food and preparing a meal together. However, she is allowed to choose her date based on either his photo or his personality description, but not both, and they are handcuffed during the entire date. Both twists require the pair to collaborate, communicate, compromise and be patient.

Afterwards, experts speak with the women and comment on what they learned from the challenge. In this episode, for example, would the guy want to go out with Ms. Zhao again? Would she choose the guy next time based on looks, or personality? The experts also give advice on beauty issues, including skin care, as well as relationships and career. The webisodes also contain very subtle product placement.

The initiative is also a departure from advertising for other skin care brands that build campaigns around scientific claims or glamour and prestige, said Ms. Wszelaki. Instead, J&J hopes to build an emotional bond with Neutrogena users as well as generate “substantial consumer involvement, allowing our consumers to be the messengers."

Many of the women who follow Michelle’s online blog have supported her on the Neutrogena site as well. Viewers can submit ideas for upcoming challenges through the web site and share comments about past webisodes. To date, 40,000 people have viewed the site, which is also promoted with a TV spot created by DDB Worldwide, Shanghai. Nitro also assisted with strategy and above-the-line visuals.

Other Chinese bloggers whose digital entries focus on relationships and skin care have been invited to come and comment on the program and give their views on the webisode challenges. Besides the webisodes and advice columns, the site also has a “help me choose” section detailing Neutrogena products, call-to-action notices such as coupons and information about on-the-ground events and a store locator.

Volvo appoints Nitro in China
SHANGHAI--Volvo has appointed Nitro to handle its creative and strategy business in China. The independent network has also picked up the Nitro business in Europe, including the U.K., to work alongside Havas-owned Arnold Worldwide, which leads Volvo's advertising in the U.S. But China was not included in the global appointment. Previously in China, Volvo's creative was handled by Euro RSCG Worldwide, Shanghai, also part of Havas, which will continue to work with Volvo on CRM and digital media activities.

Motorola and MTV plan to rock China
BEIJING--Motorola Corp. is expanding its music marketing strategy in China by partnering with MTV Networks in an initiative they hope will bring about a revival of rock music in the mainland. “Back to True Music” is a series of live concerts entitled MTV-Moto Rokr Concerts.

The events will take place in Qingdao, Hangzhou and Chengdu from June 22-24, 2007, and will be seen by up to 100,000 people. They will feature Taiwanese pop star Jay Chou, who has a long relationship with Motorola in China, and Cui Jian, who is widely considered to be the father of rock and roll music in the mainland. They will perform with other local rock musicians, Zheng Jun, Yang Kun, Lao Lang and Wang Feng.

MTV and Zhejiang TV will jointly produce the shows and one of the three concerts will run on air throughout China, reaching an estimated 383.8 million households. Zhejiang TV, a provincial channel based north of Shanghai with national reach through cable and satellite systems, will broadcast it throughout July. It will also air on MTV's 24-hour Mandarin-language MTV China feed, which is legally distributed to 13.8 million TV households in Guangdong province, just over the border from Hong Kong, and through day-part programming distributed to 190 million households through pay-TV systems in 459 cities across China.

Softbank invests in 3D Media China
SHANGHAI--Softbank China Venture Capital has become a strategic investor in 3D Holdings, the parent company of 3D Media China, creator of the first 3D "mediatainment" platform in the mainland. 3D is constructing media networks at mid-to-high end shopping malls, stylish nightlife entertainment spots and upscale internet cafes.

Established in 2006 in Shanghai, it has secured contracts with Chinese internet cafe chains to install more than 20,000 sets of 3D gaming facilities, and expects to install one million sets within three years through the setting up of 3D gaming zones in internet cafes. More than 20 popular 3D games will be launched this year.

The strategic partnership with Softbank will enable the group to speed up its expansion, said Chauncey Shey, president of Softbank China Holdings. "Our visual experience has been enriched by the progress from black and white to color TV, and now to high definition. 3D screens will be next, a natural evolution."
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