TBWA becomes first Chinese agency to win a Gold Lion at Cannes

More breaking news in Greater China

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CANNES, France--Global advertising agencies have plugged as much creative firepower into China's fast-growing economy as they can in recent years, by transferring some of the hottest young talent from around the world into their Shanghai and Beijing offices. Now, the results are beginning to show.

Last week at the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival in the south of France, TBWA Worldwide, Shanghai picked up the first Gold Lion ever awarded to a Chinese agency. The Omnicom Group agency won a Gold Lion in the corporate image section of the Outdoor category for its "Together in 2008, Impossible is Nothing" campaign for Adidas, which is sponsoring the upcoming 2008 Summer Games.

The campaign's three executions featuring Chinese Olympians Hu Jia, Shui Fei Fei and Zheng Zhi. It celebrates China's hosting of the 2008 Olympic Games and underscores the support and pride that the entire nation feels for its Olympic heroes with a blend of live photography and pencil drawing. (See also, "Adidas kicks off Olympic ads," AdAgeChina, Dec. 5, 2007.)

"It's the largest campaign we've ever created and rolled out in a single country," said Jochen Haase, Adidas' communications director, Greater China in Shanghai. "The campaign focuses on the support the Chinese nation gives to its athletes to make the impossible possible, while inspiring the Chinese people to follow the example of their Olympic heroes in challenging their own personal impossibles."

China also won two Bronze Lions. Both prizes were awarded to Ogilvy & Mather, Beijing, for its work for the World Wildlife Fund. Ogilvy picked up a Bronze Outdoor Lion for the ad "Black Cloud" and a Bronze Cyber Lion for "Tiger E-mail."

Addressing the vast amount of air pollution in China's major cities, the outdoor ad depicts a huge balloon-like black cloud coming out of a car's exhaust pipe with the copyline "Drive one day less and look how much carbon monoxide you'll keep out of the air we breathe."

The cyber winner was a viral emailed to the WWF's database of supporters with the subject line "One billion years in a flash." The message was that after one billion years of evolution, the tiger is nearly extinct--not because it's unfit to survive in its environment, but because of human selfishness.

Hong Kong picked up two Lions, a Bronze in the Lions Direct category for Grey Worldwide, Hong Kong, and Amnesty International and another Bronze for JWT in the Press category for a Monster.com ad.

China sent 307 entries to Cannes this year, a big increase over the mainland's 200 entries in 2006, when the nation also won two Lions. About one-third of China's entries--101--were in the Outdoor category, followed by Press, with 86, and Cyber at 42.
--by Laurel Wentz, international editor of Advertising Age


Yili retains Euro to handle its yogurt business
BEIJING--After a review that lasted over four months, China's leading dairy, Inner Mongolia Yili Industrial Group, has retained Euro RSCG as the creative agency for its yogurt business.

The company, based in Hohhot, Mongolia, built its business through traditional milk products, including sterilized milk and fresh milk, ice-cream and milk powder marketed under the Yili brand. Yogurt sales have risen dramatically in recent years. Chief rivals China Mengniu Dairy Co. and Bright Dairy & Food have also invested in yogurt and yogurt-based drinks.

Yili, a sponsor of the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, first appointed Euro RSCG, Beijing to handle its yogurt business in late 2006. The decision to retain the Havas Groupe agency, which also handles creative for other Yili milk brands--Yili Pure Milk, Yili LHT Milk and Yili Breakfast Milk--followed a pitch that included JWT, McCann Erickson and Grey Global. JWT continues to handle creative for other Yili brands in China, as well as the company's corporate advertising.


Pepsi's Gatorade campaign looks beyond Olympics
SHANGHAI--PepsiCo has launched a TV campaign to market its Gatorade sports drink brand as summer weather hits China. Sports are particularly topical this year, since the Aug. 8 start of the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing is just a few weeks away.

The spot, created by DDB Worldwide, Beijing, depicts Chinese taking part in various sports activities, such as kicking a ball, skipping, somersaulting and jumping on a trampoline. But Pepsi isn't just tapping into Olympic mania, said Rebecca Preston, VP of non-carbonated beverages in China at PepsiCo. The food and beverage giant hopes the campaign, called "Sports beyond 2008," will promote an ongoing presence of sport in consumers' lives beyond the Olympics. "Sports in China is not just about 2008 [and] Gatorade is about re-hydrating your body and refueling your passion while you are active any time, anywhere," she said.

Gatorade has traditionally been associated with professional athletes such as the Russian tennis player Maria Sharapova, soccer star Ronaldinho and NBA basketball players like Kevin Garnett and Dwayne Wade. In China, the brand is also linked to Zhang Yining, one of China's top table tennis players, badminton champion Lin Dan and Li Xiaopeng, a Chinese gymnast.

Rather than starring famous athletes, Pepsi's latest campaign for Gatorade features the brand's target market--young and social Chinese who like to exercise and play sports, but who are driven by different incentives and goals, said Ms. Preston. "Some play with friends as a social activity, others exercise to stay fit, and there are those who like to challenge themselves."


Saatchi & Saatchi partners with digital agency Energy Source
SHANGHAI--Publicis Groupe has formed a joint venture between its Saatchi & Saatchi advertising network and Energy Source, one of China's leading interactive marketing agencies specializing in integrated interactive solutions, customer relationship marketing and online public relations. Energy Source was founded in 2001, has 240 employees and has annual sales of $29 million.

The joint venture, if approved by government regulators in China, will be called Saatchi & Saatchi Energy Source Integrated Interactive Solutions, and will merge Saatchi's scale and creative expertise with Energy Source's digital and interactive capabilities. The agency will work with advertisers such as Intel, Mead Johnson, Nippon Paint and Nissan in areas like online communication, digital Olympic marketing, CRM solutions and viral video campaigns.

Energy Source's CEO Ken Ying will become vice-chairman of the company, which has offices in Shanghai and Guangzhou, while Anthony Yang, currently head of interactive at Saatchi & Saatchi will be the general manager. The agency will be chaired by Pully Chau, Saatchi & Saatchi's Shanghai-based CEO, China.

The deal follows Publicis Groupe's acquisition of Betterway Marketing Solutions and Emotion events management group in 2006, Yong Yang and CCG in 2007, and EmporioAsia earlier this year, although the agreement with Energy Source is a joint venture and not an acquisition.

Digital media is growing fast in China. Advertisers in China will spend an estimated $2 billion online this year, about 7% of China's estimated total 2008 adspend of $29 billion, according to ZenithOptimedia.


Air China splits media between MindShare and ZhongHang Advertising
BEIJING--Air China has split its media business between WPP Group's MindShare division and ZhongHang Advertising, an in-house agency that also handles all of Air China's creative business. Billings were not disclosed but the state-owned company is the national flag carrier of China and the country's second-largest commercial airline after China Southern Airlines.

MindShare will handle Air China's overseas media planning and buying, while its domestic media business will be split between MindShare and ZhongHang. ZhongHang will handle the bulk of the domestic business, but most of Air China's media spending is outside the mainland. The decision follows a pitch against Aegis Group's Vizeum arm and two unidentified local agencies. Previously, all media was handled by ZhongHang.
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