FYI 04.01.2009

China Takes Part in Earth Hour; Universal McCann Hires Chris Skinner; Star Expands Home Shopping Business; FutureBrand Appoints Monica Lee and Andre Hsieh

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On Saturday, March 28 at 8.30 pm local time in more than 4,000 cities and towns, including many in Greater China, took part in Earth Hour. The total number of people taking part around the world is thought to be one billion, although the WWF, which organizes Earth Hour, has not announced an official number.

In China, thousands of public buildings switched off their lights, including the Bird's Nest stadium, site of the opening and closing ceremonies for the 2008 Olympic Games, and the neon lights across Hong Kong island.

Lights also went out over many other global icons including the Sydney Opera House, Greece's Parthenon on top of the Acropolis, the Las Vegas strip, New York's Empire State Building, the Eiffel Tower, London's Big Ben, Piccadilly Circus, the statue of Christ in Rio de Janeiro and San Francisco's Golden Gate bridge.

The effort was supported by a global "Vote Earth" campaign, created by Leo Burnett Sydney. When Earth Hour was launched three years ago, also with advertising support from the Publicis Group agency, it was a global call to action against climate change. This time, the WWF encouraged people to view Earth Hour as a global election between the Earth and global warming.

In the lead up to Earth Hour, people were urged to literally support Earth by using their light switch as a vote. The campaign was seen by millions of people worldwide through TV, radio, posters, press, ambient media and online advertising. It was also supported by a social networking campaign.

Early reports suggest nearly one in seven people in the world took part, "making this an event unlike any other ins history. The bar was set very high, one billion votes for earth," said Andy DiLallo and Jay Benjamin co-exec creative directors of Leo Burnett, Sydney. "Hopefully this will go a long way in making our case to lower emissions targets at the [United Nations] climate change conference" in Copenhagen in December 2009.
Chris Skinner
Chris Skinner
Universal McCann has appointed Chris Skinner as managing director of its Hong Kong office, succeeding Alice Lam, who is retiring after two-and-a-half years with the agency.

Previously, Mr. Skinner was managing director of the Interpublic Group of Cos.' sister media agency in Hong Kong, Initiative. Interpublic has not named a new director for Initiative, Hong Kong.
Hong Kong-based Star Group has formed a joint venture with CJ Home Shopping, a Korean-based regional home shopping group, to launch and operate a home shopping network in India. The first stage of the partnership, the launch of the STAR-CJ home shopping channel, is slated for the second half of 2009.

With a population of 1.1 billion, India "offers a blue ocean opportunity in home shopping," said Seoul-based Harri Lee, the CEO of CJ Home Shopping, which already operates in other Asian markets such as Korea and China. "We plan to offer a trendy and stylish home shopping television experience."

In China, CJ Home Shopping operates the Dongfang CJ distribution network in Shanghai and Tianjin.
Interpublic Group of Cos.' brand consultancy FutureBrand has appointed Monica Lee and Andre Hsieh as co-managing directors of its Greater China operation. Previously, Ms. Lee was general manager of The Brand Union (previously called Enterprise IG) in Shanghai, while Mr. Hsieh ran a brand consultancy he founded in in Taipei, SALT Designworks. Before that, he was managing director, Taiwan and chief creative officer, China at The Brand Union.

FutureBrand has also promoted Po Cheung to executive director, southern China from managing director of its Hong Kong office and Edward Chau in Beijing to executive director from business development director. In Greater China, FutureBrand works with brands such as Procter & Gamble, Yili and Anheuser-Busch InBev.


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