FYI 6.9.2010

Linda Kovarik Will Leave Coca-Cola; J&J Hires OgilvyOne and Neo@Ogilvy; COFCO Appoints Raynet Ogilvy; MTV and GigaMedia Will Develop MMOG SpongeBob SquarePants Game; Saatchi & Saatchi Promotes Jenny Low and Cheong Yewfei; Astrix Partners With SinoTech

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Linda Kovarik
Linda Kovarik
Coca-Cola Co. has restructured its regional operations in Asia/Pacific.

As part of the changes, Hong Kong-based Linda Kovarik, currently regional creative officer for the region, has decided to resign from the company. Ms. Kovarik joined Coke in May 2007.

Previously, she was executive planning director at Beacon, Leo Burnett's joint venture in Tokyo with Dentsu. Before that, she was Leo Burnett's regional planning director for P&G brands in Asia/Pacific, based in Hong Kong. She has not disclosed her future plans.

Shakir Moin, currently Coke's brand director for Coca-Cola in Asia/Pacific in Hong Kong, will relocate to Manila as regional director of the Coke trademark in Asia for Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, Coca-Cola Zero. He will also serve as regional marketing manager for Coke brands in the Philippines, overseeing overall marketing plans and execution for Coke brands in that market.

Mike Shepherd will continue to serve as group director of Coke's non-carbonated beverages and its innovation pipeline in Asia, but he is believed to be relocating to Shanghai, where he will also hold a country marketing role for Coke in mainland China.

Johnson & Johnson has appointed OgilvyOne and Neo@Ogilvy in Shanghai to handle digital marketing for its vision care brand, Acuvue Define. OgilvyOne will handle overall digital communication planning, creative and production, while Neo@Ogilvy will oversee digital media planning and buying.

The win follows a three-way pitch. The names of the other agencies were not disclosed but are believed to be the incumbent, Agenda, which still handles digital marketing for other J&J brands in China, and Tribal DDB. OgilvyOne and Neo@Ogilvy will develop an online platform to drive awareness and understanding about Acuvue Define contact lenses, which enhance a user's appearance by making their eyes appear larger and more defined, and drive consumers to in-store trials.

China Oil and Foodstuff Corp. (COFCO) has appointed Raynet Ogilvy, an agency based in Beijing acquired by Ogilvy & Mather four years ago, to handle creative for a snack peanut product in development. The appointment was based on a pitch against JWT, Bates Asia, Euro RSCG and an undisclosed local agency.

Few details about the new product have been released but the brand will likely fall under the COFCO snack master brand, Meizizi. Raynet Ogilvy will assist COFCO, China's largest oils and food importer and exporter in China and a leading food manufacturer, with product positioning, consumer segmentation, package design for the new product.

The WPP agency has also won business this year from two J&J subsidiaries, Dabao Cosmetics subsidiary, the largest cosmetics company in China, and Xian-Janssen Pharmaceutical for its Motilium brand, as well as Du Pont's Pioneer Hi Bred agriculture division.

Viacom's MTV Networks Asia and the Asian online games company GigaMedia are developing a massively multiplayer online game (MMOG) based upon the Nickelodeon character SpongeBob SquarePants. The game -- which will launch in 2011 in multiple languages for players in China, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, Southeast Asia and India -- will be the first Nickelodeon TV property to be developed as an MMOG and Viacom's first to be developed outside the U.S.

The SpongeBob SquarePants creative team at the Burbank-based Nickelodeon Animation Studios will work with GigaMedia to develop the online environment and SpongeBob SquarePants avatars. The free-to-play model will include an online store. It will also feature a wide range of video and simple Flash-based games allowing users to share their SpongeBob SquarePants experiences online.

The game will allow millions of players throughout Asia to create, customize and personalize an MMOG version of Bikini Bottom, the underwater city where the show is set, said Jihee Nam, VP, digital for MTV Networks Asia in Singapore.

Saatchi & Saatchi has promoted Jenny Low to managing director of its Shanghai office from director of client service, a new position. The Publicis Groupe agency has also promoted Cheong Yewfei to exec creative director from group creative director.
China's passenger car sales in May jumped nearly 26% this month in year-on-year sales to 885,800 units, according to the China Automotive Technology & Research Center, an impressive performance by current global standards. But that's the lowest monthly growth rate so far this year in China, suggesting the mainland's booming car market is slowing down compared to last year's break-neck expansion.

Last year, China overtook the U.S. as the world's largest auto market. Sales began tapering off in April 2010, when new car purchases rose year-on-year about 33%, about half of the growth rate of the previous month, as falling stock prices erode personal wealth and consumer prices, including the cost of gasoline, are rising.

Astrix Corp. in Tokyo will become the first Japanese distributor of SinoTech Group's digital marketing technologies in Japan, the world's second largest online ad market. SinoTech Group, a performance-based digital marketing company based in Beijing, develops social media monitoring and search marketing platforms.

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