Shanghai mall links retailers and shoppers through phones

And other news in Greater China

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SHANGHAI--One of China's largest commercial, retail, dining and entertainment complexes, the Super Brand Mall in Shanghai’s Pudong district, is using mobile phones to help retailers connect with customers. It has launched an interactive store guide that offers information as well as advertising and sales opportunities like mobile coupons redeemable at outlets within the mall.

The mall’s owner, Shanghai Kinghill Limited, the real estate subsidiary of Thailand’s Charoen Pokphand Group, said kiosks located at the entrances allow the mall and its tenants to communicate with customers almost in real time.

“Instead of sending our customers direct mail, we are using the system to send them text messages and coupons, which can be very personalized and cost effective at the same time,” said Kesrin Ariyapongse, the mall’s VP of marketing in Shanghai.

With 13 floors and a combined gross floor area of 250,000 square meters, the mall attracts up to 400,000 people daily. Since the kiosks were installed two months ago, they have handled half a million transactions for marketers like Toys “R” Us, Segafredo, the children's publisher Scholastic, Will's Yoga, English First teaching school and Stellar cinema.

The backbone of the system is a freestanding coupon-dispensing unit called the TxtLink Kiosk, a multimedia terminal linked to a mobile marketing platform. Customers register to become a member of the Super Brand Club, giving their preferences regarding the type of product categories they are interested in. Then they receive electronic coupons on their mobile phones. The kiosk recognizes the code on the mobile phone's display and prints out a coupon that can be used at checkout.

"Results have been very positive so far and we are expecting to drive significant incremental business when we have fully engaged with all Super Brand Mall outlets,” said Stephane Vidaillet, general manager, China, Shanghai, of Puca, a Dublin-based mobile marketing network that developed the marketing system.

Mizuno appoints Zou to connect with Chinese youth
SHANGHAI--Mizuno has appointed Zou Marketing in Shanghai to develop a creative campaign that will help the Japanese brand grow in China ahead of the Olympic games, particularly among young consumers. Many of the 400 million Chinese under the age of 20 live in middle class homes with rising income.

The $3 million win follows a pitch against Nitro, an independent global agency network based in Shanghai, and Red Wasabi, a division of Ogilvy & Mather focusing on non-Western foreign brands in China.

Nike dominates China’s sportswear market with sales in the mainland worth about $700 million this year, according to industry sources. Adidas ranks second with sales of approximately $600 million, followed by local brand Li Ning at $400 million. Although Mizuno is a hip, Japanese brand in developed markets and has 700 stores in China, its market share in China is small.

“Mizuno is not strong in brand equity and brand presence with young consumers in China across the board, in all sports categories,” said Terry Rhoads, general manager of Zou, a sports branding consultancy based in Shanghai.

“While Li Ning is within striking range of Adidas and Nike, the rest like Mizuno, Puma and New Balance are in the back of the pack. Mizuno wants to emerge from that pack by repositioning its brand and refocusing its strategy through integrated marketing, bringing its products together with events, retailing, advertising and below-the-line marketing,” he added.

ICI Paints consolidates media with MediaCom
HONG KONG--ICI Paints has consolidated its $40 million media business in Asia/Pacific with WPP Group's MediaCom division. According to the GroupM media agency, Greater China accounts for most of ICI’s media spending in Asia. The media agency already worked with ICI in Greater China, but in other parts of the region, it won the business from OMD, Starcom and Zenith Media.

Cohn & Wolfe opens in Shanghai
SHANGHAI--Cohn & Wolfe has established an office in Shanghai to handle brand marketing and public relations for marketers in consumer goods and services, healthcare, and technology.

Vice Chairman Doug Buemi, who plans to open offices in Hong Kong and Beijing “within a few months,” leads the agency. Previously, he was global vice chairman in charge of Cohn & Wolfe's office in Los Angeles, Ca.

“Clearly we need to be in the region to service our multinational and to grow our own business by capitalizing on obvious opportunities in the Asian marketplace,” said Cohn & Wolfe's New York-based CEO, Donna Imperato.

Although it will operate independently, it is closely aligned with JWT, a sister company in the WPP Group network. It has been operating in Shanghai as a representative office of the international firm since March, working with global clients such as Hilton Hotels Corp. by providing support in China for its Olympics program. It is also assisting JWT clients like Kellogg Co., which is relaunching its cereal products in China, Rolex and Anta Group, a local sportswear marketer.
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