FYI 3.10.2010

Hong Kong Advertisers Expect Spending to Increase; GroupM Promotes Andrew Carter; Ping An Appoints Grey, Shanghai For Credit Card Creative

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Just over half of Hong Kong's advertisers expect their ad budgets to increase in 2010, most ranging from a modest 1% to 20%, according to a study initiated by the Hong Kong Advertisers Association and conducted by Nielsen Co.

At the same time, 75% of respondents expect media costs to increase by 1% to 10%. The budget allocation in 2010 mirrors that of 2009, with newspapers and TV continuing to enjoy the biggest share at 50% of overall advertising budgets. The internet ranked third, and 84% of advertisers say they are using social media more often to engage customers and build brands.

"Although advertisers and marketers are optimistic about the economic conditions in 2010, they are still cautious in their spending. Only 21% of respondents said they would increase their budget by 11% to 20%. To garner a bigger share in advertising spending, media owners need to be more flexible in inducing trial by providing creative solutions to clients," said Celia Fan, Nielsen's director of media research.

GroupM has appointed Shanghai-based Andrew Carter, 38, as national tactical planning head, leading the national tactical planning teams across GroupM agencies in China. He will also oversee the development of new planning tools and products for GroupM' in China.

Previously, Mr. Carter was a leader at GroupM's Mindshare, responsible for the strategic growth and operations of the Shanghai agency. He was promoted to that position in 2008, after a year as national tactical planning head for China.

To succeed Mr. Carter, Mindshare is promoting Linda Lin to managing director, Shanghai from deputy leader. Mindshare is also promoting Asmita Dubey to managing director from deputy leader in Beijing. She succeeds SiewPing Lim, recently named VP, China.

Another GroupM agency, Mediaedge:cia has hired Theresa Loo in Shanghai as head of strategic planning, analytics and insight across the agency's three offices in China. Previously, she was an account director at Research International in China, working on research projects for advertisers such as Johnson & Johnson, Unilever and Accor.

Ping An Insurance Group, a Shenzhen-based financial services and insurance company, has moved the above-the-line creative business for its credit card services in China to Grey Group's Shanghai office, following a three-way pitch that also included Saatchi & Saatchi, Shanghai. The identity of the third agency in the review was not disclosed, but the incumbent is McCann Erickson, Guangzhou. Grey already handled below-the-line marketing for Ping An's credit cards in China.

The agency is charged with helping Ping An expand its cardholder base, said Bernard Wong, general manager of Grey, Shanghai. Ping An launched its branded credit card in 2007, and now offers six cards targeting different consumer segments including young people, car owners and frequent travelers.

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