SHANGHAI (AdAgeChina.com) -- Tsingtao beer is a staple in Chinese restaurants around the world, making it one of the best-known and recognizable Chinese brands anywhere.
But Tsingtao Brewery Co.'s core target market has always been sales in China, the world's largest beer market by volume, and its ad campaigns at home are normally aimed at domestic consumers, not foreigners.
This summer, however, Tsingtao is tapping into rising tourism traffic to China, particularly Shanghai, site of the 2010 World Expo. The Qingdao-based brewery is promoting its iconic beer brand as a cultural ambassador for China and Chinese drinking culture.
Tsingtao has launched a series of cheerful and quirky cartoon illustrations to capture the attention, and thirst, of international visitors to China. Print ads created by Ogilvy & Mather, Shanghai greet visitors to the World Expo with the slogan, "Drink Tsingtao, Understand China," a variation on the World Expo's theme of cultural exchange.
One ad, for example, introduces the Chinese custom of penalizing a late-comer with three beers to chug, as illustrated by a cartoon character balancing three full mugs.
"Tsingtao is truly forging a new creative direction by leveraging unique aspects of Chinese culture to connect with the 70 million expected visitors from home and abroad in a playful and memorable way," said Joyce Chang, managing director, Ogilvy & Mather, Shanghai.
The campaign is running in English rather than Chinese, an unusual marketing decision for ads appearing in the mainland -- especially since they will, Tsingtao hopes, appeal to modern, urban Chinese consumers as well.
The brewery wants Tsingtao's image to appear more youthful and energized to domestic consumers at a time when young, trendy and increasingly well-off consumers are turning to foreign-made premium beer brands as well as imported spirits.
"Tsingtao has been a mainstay in the Chinese beer market for over a century," said Karen Liu, vice general manager and brand director of the brewery's sales and marketing center in Qingdao.
Ogilvy & Mather was hired by Tsingtao in March 2010, following a pitch. The Chinese brewery has worked with numerous ad agencies in the past, including Saatchi & Saatchi and Publicis Worldwide.
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