HONG KONG (AdAgeChina.com) -- Johnson & Johnson is starting a year-long branded content initiative to market Clean & Clear in Asia, a tough region for western marketers of skin care and cosmetics.
The U.S. company is partnering with News Corp.'s Hong Kong-based Star World entertainment channel for a reality show called " Clean & Clear Top Best Friends Models" about teenage girls from seven Asian markets.
Seven pairs of best friends from Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam will be chosen by J&J and Star TV to participate in a three-day Clean & Clear-sponsored "confidence bootcamp." Pairs of girls who want to take part can register on local Clean & Clear pages on Facebook through the end of May, such as the Hong Kong page at www.facebook.com/cleanclearhongkong.
All fourteen girls will go through grooming workshops about make-up application, skin care, deportment, style, fashion tips and image makeovers.
Their transformations will be filmed and aired as webisodes featured online. The public will be invited to vote for their favorite pair of best friends.
In October 2010, the winning pair will be crowned Top Best Friends Models of Clean & Clear. The winners will get a cash prize of $3,640, shopping vouchers from Forever 21, an American apparel retail chain with outlets in Asia, and the chance to appear in the next Clean & Clear ad campaign.
Engaging young consumers through reality show
The campaign "is based on the insight that clear skin gives teenagers the confidence they need to take on life. This is also the phase of life where girls rely heavily on their best friends to embrace life's possibilities and discover their identities together," said Aruna Natarajan, a media director at OMD in Singapore.
"The reality show platform is a relevant way to engage younger consumers, and it gave us a way to have an ongoing dialog with them. It extends the life the campaign and gets others involve through watching the show and voting," Ms. Natarajan said.
Asian women are extremely careful about skin care and often don't trust products made by European and American companies, because many believe western women appear to age more quickly.
That belief has helped North Asian brands like Shiseido Co. and Procter & Gamble Co.'s Japanese-produced SK-II line, but makes Asia a tough sell for western marketers. Also, many Asian women prefer "whitening" products to lighten skin tones, prompting marketers such as P&G and L'Oreal to develop products specifically for Asian markets rather than importing European or American brands.
Focus more on acne than whitening
J&J is trying to buck this trend with Clean & Clear, a skin care product line that is less expensive than its Neutrogena line and aims at younger consumers.
"Clean & Clear is a very globalized brand, but we need to be a bit more nimble here in the marketing and product forumalations," said Kim Das, VP-regional director, Asia/Pacific of DDB Group in Singapore.
For example, J&J has developed a whitening range specifically for Asian women called Clear Fairness, "as this is a very important segment in Asia," Mr. Das said.
J&J also uses Asian faces in ads running across Southeast Asia more than western women, as do P&G, L'Oreal and other western skin care marketers.
But the stigma attached to European skin care brands is less of a problem for Clean & Clear, because the brand targets teens share western consumers' problems.
"The focus is young skin, so acne is a bigger concern than whitening, compared to the concerns of older Asian women," Mr. Das said.
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