FYI 09.10.08

Coke Reviews Minute Maid Creative; DDB Guoan Wins "Made In China" Pitch; Alibaba Combines Taobao and Alimama

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Coca-Cola Co. is reviewing the creative business for its Minute Maid juice brand in China. The pitch includes the incumbent Leo Burnett Worldwide as well as Ogilvy & Mather and Bartle Bogle Hegarty. Coke launched the juice brand in China last year as part of its aggressive expansion into non-carbonated beverages, such as water and tea products.

Juice and vegetable drinks are particularly popular in China. Sales were valued at $10.6 billion in 2007, while carbonated drinks only reached $7.4 billion, according to Euromonitor. To increase it share of juice sales in that market, Coke made a $2.3 billion bid for China Huiyuan Juice Group earlier this month. The deal is pending government approval.
China is looking for an image upgrade. The country's Ministry of Commerce has selected DDB Guoan, a joint venture between Omnicom-owned DDB Group and one of China's largest state-owned companies, Citic Group, to create a Made in China campaign designed to change the perception of Chinese-made goods in western markets. Advertising that will launch later this year in global print and TV media will emphasize the quality and safety of products made in China.

The appointment followed a five-way pitch. Participants were not disclosed, but are believed to include two multinational networks, Publicis Worldwide and DraftFCB as well as two local agencies, Guangdong Advertising Co. and DSCD Advertising Co. in Beijing.
Alibaba Group has combined the operations of two of its fastest-growing businesses, Alimama and Taobao.

Taobao is China's largest consumer e-commerce company, with transactions valued at $6.3 billion traded through its web site in 2007, and year-on-year growth of over 150%. Alimama is a network of web publishers and advertisers, serving 3 billion ad impressions that reach 80 million consumers every day.

There is a lot of synergy between the two businesses, according to Jack Ma, Alibaba's chairman-CEO based in Hangzhou.

Launched in 2003, Taobao has more than one million online merchants and has become China's largest online community of merchants and consumers. According to iResearch, 26% of China's more than 250 million internet users have purchased items online.

With the addition of Alimama, the combined network will include over 400,000 third party web publishers. Sellers on Taobao can now gain added exposure to millions more consumers through Alimama's web publisher partners, while these publishers can tap new revenue sources from among Taobao's merchants.

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