FYI 7.28.2010

Hakuhodo Launches PR Consultancy; SinoTech Appoints Paul McNeill; OgilvyOne Hires Jerry Smith; Shanghai VW's GM Killed in Car Accident; Sun Life Financial Appoints Tequila; RAPP Hires Vivien Huang

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Hakuhodo DY Holdings will introduce a corporate branding service in China to help Japanese companies improve their corporate image in the mainland. Hakuhodo has created the new service in collaboration with Shanghai-based Ideal Marketing Strategist Co., which tracks 3,000 newspapers, magazines and internet news sites in China.

Many Japanese companies produce products that are known and respected in China, but they still suffer from less-than-stellar sales due to public image problems. Chinese consumers are increasingly concerned about the quality and safety of products, whether they are produced locally or overseas.

Hakuhodo's service, created to help companies understand and handle public opinion issues in China, was created specifically to work with Japanese companies, which face additional challenges in the mainland. The divide between Japanese corporations and Chinese consumers drew attention in recent months when factory workers at plants run by Japanese car makers like Honda Motor Co. went on strike for better conditions and wages.

Tensions between China and Japan aren't new and often have little to do with Japanese companies. They reflect flare-ups in anti-Japanese sentiment in China that can be traced back to World War II, when China was brutally defeated by Japanese invaders.

Hakuhodo's service will analyze how Japanese companies are portrayed by local media and offer advice on working with local journalists and engaging in corporate citizenship activities.

Hakuhodo told Ad Age China it "hopes to sign at least five service contracts" for the new service this year.

Paul McNeill
Paul McNeill
The Chinese digital marketing agency SinoTech Group has appointed Beijing-based Paul McNeill as VP and president-alliances and partnerships.

Most recently, he was CEO of Havas Group's MPG division in Greater China, also in Beijing. Before that, he was based in Singapore where he founded XS-Media, Asia's first online media trading platform. He has also worked at Aegis Media's Carat division in Asia/Pacific.

Jerry Smith
Jerry Smith
OgilvyOne has appointed Hong Kong-based Jerry Smith as its new regional president, Asia/Pacific, overseeing the OgilvyOne operations in 12 markets across the region.

Mr. Smith previously worked as chief operating officer of OgilvyOne in Asia and more recently as president of Ogilvy's Red Works operations in the region.

The general manager of Shanghai Volkswagen Co. and three other people were killed in a vehicle accident, the automaker said in an e-mailed statement. Liu Jian, 45, died in the July 17 accident in China's northwest province of Gansu, where he was at a company event to meet dealers and attend a test drive, the company said. It's not clear from the statement if the accident happened during the test drive or if the other three killed were in the same vehicle.

Spokespeople at Shanghai Volkswagen, contacted by phone, wouldn't comment on the incident. Mr. Liu had been general manager since October 2007, according to Xinhua News Agency. Liu previously worked at units of Delphi Corp and ArvinMeritor Inc. in Shanghai.

Shanghai Volkswagen, Volkswagen AG's car venture with SAIC Motor Corp., was China's second-biggest carmaker, excluding multipurpose vehicles, in the first half of 2010. Sales grew by 36% in the first six months to 415,796 units over the same period last year, according to China's Association of Automobile Manufacturers.

Sun Life Financial has appointed TBWA Group's Tequila digital marketing arm in Hong Kong to handle its digital strategy and communications business across the region, with a focus on Hong Kong, Indonesia and the Philippines.
Vivien Huang
Vivien Huang
DDB Group's direct marketing division RAPP has appointed Vivien Huang as CRM strategist, a new position based in Shanghai.

She will work with RAPP's data analyst team as well as planning teams at DDB and Tribal DDB, developing CRM strategies for marketers such as Diageo, Philips Electronics and Volkswagen. Previously, she was a data analyst at Wunderman, Shanghai.

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