SHANGHAI--PepsiCo and Starbucks have partnered in China to create a romance series airing only in Shanghai’s subway stations. Similar to traditional TV soap operas, as daytime dramas are called, the series is an uplifting story about a group of young friends in Shanghai working together to make their dreams come true.
Called “A Sunny Day,” the branded entertainment series was produced by International Coffee Partnership, a global alliance between the two marketers to sell bottled Starbucks’ coffee drinks like Frappuccino through Pepsi’s distribution channels. The partnership debuted in China earlier this year but will be rolled out in other markets worldwide.
The 40-episode series was created in collaboration with Digital Media Group (DMG), which operates digital media networks inside subway systems in China. It stars Huang Xiao Ming, a well-known actor in mainland China and a rising musical talent, Liao Junjia, who plays the title role, Sunny.
Each day starting in late November, a new two-and-a-half minute episode launches, and each show airs several times during the day on TV screens located inside the subway platforms. The show contains shots of the characters drinking bottled Frappuccino coffee.
“This broadcast strategy is timed perfectly to appeal to subway commuters’ attention span while waiting for the subways. The subway soap opera will lock the passengers’ attention for two consecutive months,” said Chris Tung, Pepsi’s marketing director, non-carbonated beverages, China beverages business unit in Shanghai.
Episodes are also broadcast on the internet and the story’s online blog will be updated at the end of the day, capturing the lead characters’ fictitious daily encounters and experiences.
This “multi-touch point experiential marketing tool” enables ICP “to reach out to the young professionals in China more effectively. It also aims to engage consumers to interact with the story leads via an online blog and be part of their everyday rich experiences,” added Mr. Tung.
Uni-President taps Grey Shanghai for Green Tea brand
SHANGHAI--The Taiwanese marketer Uni-President has handed the strategic and creative business for its Green Tea brand in China to Grey Group in Shanghai. The win followed a five-way pitch against three independent agencies, M&C Saatchi, Nitro and ADK, and WPP Group’s Bates Asia. The previous agency handling Green Tea, Shanghai Guantang Advertising Co., did not take part. Uni-President, Taiwan's largest food conglomerate, is the second leading branded foods maker in China, and its Green Tea brand is distributed throughout Asia.
Hurray merges with Enlight in effort to create Chinese media giant
BEIJING--Hurray! Holding Co., an online distributor of music and music-related products such as ringtones, ringbacktones and truetones to mobile users in China, will merge with Enlight Media. After the all-stock transaction is completed, the company will be renamed Hurray! Enlight Media Group.
The merger creates one of the largest domestic entertainment content and distribution companies in China, particularly in entertainment content and music production, event organization, mobile gaming, movie and television drama, and wireless services. Both companies have been diversifying recently in a market rife with competition and declining revenue.
Founded in 1998, Enlight is one of the largest private entertainment program producers and publishers in China. In addition to its wireless operation, Nasdaq-listed Hurray handles artist development, music production and offline distribution in China through numerous record labels.
“The combined company platform presents excellent potential for growth,” said Wang Changtian, Enlight’s president-CEO in a statement. “We believe that China has room for a huge domestic media giant such as Time Warner or News Corp. in the U.S., and we intend to fill that position.”
China’s TV market is highly fragmented and industry analysts have long urged consolidation. Mr. Wang is known to want Hurray! Enlight Media Group to group local channels into a single network. He becomes chairman-CEO of the merged company. Sean Wang, president-CFO of Hurray will be co-president-CFO, and Li Xiaoping Li, VP of Enlight, becomes co-president.
Youku.com receives $25 M financing
BEIJING--YouTube-like Chinese online video-sharing site Youku.com has completed a $25 million round of private equity funding. The capital will be used to speed up growth, expand sales and marketing, and upgrade the video service of Youku.com, according to the company’s founder and CEO Victor Koo, a Chinese internet veteran who helped start Sohu.com, one of the mainland’s leading web portals.
(Mr. Koo will give a keynote address at AdAgeChina’s Digital Marketing conference on Dec. 6, at the Westin hotel in Shanghai. For further details, an online program is available at www.adage.com/events.)
Officially launched in December 2006, Youku lets Chinese web surfers watch and share short-form videos all over the world, and delivers more than 80 million video views on a daily basis. Advertisers include Dell, Samsung Electronics, Ford Motor Co. and Hewlett-Packard. Youku also has a strategic cooperation agreement with Sohu.com and is the exclusive provider of video game support to Shanda, a Nasdaq-listed online game operator in China.
Coke gives away a half million free tea drinks in Hong Kong
HONG KONG--To promote the Authentic Tea House brand launched by Coca-Cola in Hong Kong in August 2007, the U.S. marketer is running a massive sampling promotion from mid-November through Dec 6.
Coke will give away 500,000 bottles of Authentic Tea House products--plain Chinese tea and green tea--for free in exits of Hong Kong’s MTR (subway) stations and other high-traffic hot spots around the territory. The products are distributed from booths decorated like a Chinese teahouse and staffed by women dressed as “tea ladies.”
The beverage giant created the product line for the Chinese market this year, to meet “a growing demand” for non-sweetened ready-to-drink tea in increasingly health-conscious Hong Kong.
FED footwear appoints M&C Saatchi
SHANGHAI--Womens' footwear marketer FED has appointed M&C Saatchi to build its brand in China and overseas. FED (which stands for “Fashion, Exclusive, Design”) is part of Taiwan's Sunny Group. The FED brand debuted in 1997, and was created for the mainland Chinese market, but it is now sold in Taiwan and Japan as well.
Until now, brand communication was handled internally but Kate Yang, head of the brand design team at FED, said, “We now need to take a more professional and global approach to building our brand, from our debut in Asia to Europe, the U.S. and all over the world.”