FYI 11.19.08

Fujian Daimler Hires Mindshare For Broad Marketing Assignment; Saatchi & Saatchi X Appoints Charlise Chen and Patrick Subhapholsiri; Synovate Promotes Brendan Shair to Hong Kong Managing Director; PCCW Will Launch Infotainment Channel, Now Hong Kong

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Fujian Daimler Automotive has handed a broad marketing assignment to Mindshare in Beijing. Although the GroupM division is a media agency, it will handle the bulk of Fujian Daimler's marketing assignments in China, including brand strategy, replacing the usual creative agency appointment.

Fujian Daimler is a joint venture formed by German automaker Daimler in October 2007 with partners Fujian Motors Group from China and China Motors Corp. from Taiwan. Fujian Daimler Automotive produces Mercedes-Benz Vito and Viano models and Sprinter transporters in eastern China's Fujian province.

Following Mindshare's recent restructuring in China, the agency's new business planning unit will handle research management and brand strategy, its Invention department will do media planning and its new implementation division, The Exchange, will buy media and manage public relations. Until this year, Mindshare worked with Ford Motor Co. in China.

Creative execution for Fujian Daimler will be handled by another WPP Group agency, Ogilvy & Mather, Fuzhou, following a pitch that also included BBDO Worldwide, Japanese agency ADK and an unnamed local agency.
Saatchi & Saatchi has appointed Charlise Chen as creative director and Patrick Subhapholsiri as planning director in Greater China for its specialist retail division, Saatchi & Saatchi X. Both executives are based in Guangzhou.

Previously Mr. Subhapholsiri was planning director at OgilvyAction in Bangkok, where he worked with advertisers such as Coca-Cola Co., Nestle and Bacardi. Ms. Chen was creative group head at Grey Group in Shanghai, overseeing creative for brands like Kent, Dunhill, and Lucky Strike into Malaysia, China, and Vietnam.

China's retail sector "has entered its next chapter of growth as international and local retail groups expand beyond saturated metro cities into tier one, two and three urban environments," said Barney Hylton, who was recently appointed to the newly-created role of regional CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi X for Asia/Pacific. Shoppers' familiarity with categories "varies dramatically."
The Aegis Group-owned research firm Synovate has promoted Brendan Shair to managing director of its Hong Kong office, effective Jan. 2009.
Brendan Shair
Brendan Shair
Currently executive director of Synovate in Hong Kong, Mr. Shair joined Synovate in 1997.

He succeeds Jill Telford, currently CEO of Synovate for Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea, who will relocate to London in January 2009 as CEO of Synovate's U.K. business.

The U.K. role is currently held by Michelle Norman, who resigned for personal reasons.
Hong Kong-based PCCW Media will launch a Cantonese-language infotainment channel, Now Hong Kong, on its pay-TV network, Now TV, on Dec. 12, 2008.

Available in high-definition and standard-definition formats on its broadband Internet service, Now TV, as well as on PCCW's mobile phone, IPTV and the PCCW eye VoIP services, the channel will carry programs and talk shows featuring Hong Kong celebrities such as Albert Cheng, Sandy Lamb, Lawrence Cheng, Richie Jen, Paul Wong and Alan Tam.

The channel will be available to Now TV subscribers for free trial until Jan. 31, 2009, then sold by subscription starting at HK$15 ($1.94) per month.

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