Yip's Chemical Revamps Bauhinia as Consumer Brand

First Chinese Campaign About Spring and Safety to Challenge Market Leaders Nippon Paints and ICI Dulux

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The TV spot shows a multi-generational Chinese family painting their home in bright colors
The TV spot shows a multi-generational Chinese family painting their home in bright colors

HONG KONG (AdAgeChina.com) -- Bauhinia Paints has launched its first major ad campaign in China to take on global paint giants Nippon Paint and ICI Dulux for a slice of that market's emulsion paints and wood coatings business.

Bauhinia is part of petrochemical giant Yip's Chemical Holdings, a family-owned business that is baed in Hong Kong, but gets 98% of its sales from mainland China, with its massive construction projects and furniture industry.

China is already the second largest paint and coating market in the world after the U.S. Paint and coating shipments reached 3.2 million metric tons in the first half of 2008, according to China's National Bureau of Statistics, up 11.8% over the same period in 2007.
Yip's Chemical has 18 manufacturing plants and over 300 distributors in China, but products were sold under multiple brand names.

The company "didn't do much marketing in the past, and when it did, it was mostly for industrial consumers and in trade press," said Viveca Chan, chairman & CEO of WE Marketing Group.

Yip's Chemical appointed the independent agency to help revamp Bauhinia's logo and packaging, create its first major marketing campaign in China and update its web site, www.bauhiniahk.com.hk. The company is also redesigning its stores to be more customer-friendly.

The decision to change tactics came from the company's new head of marketing, Francis Ip, the foreign-educated son of the chairman of Yip's Chemical. Mr. Ip worked for Shell Group before joining the family business. Founded in 1971, Bauhinia was named after a local flower, which also appears on the Hong Kong flag.

The campaign "gives our brand a fresh new start in our next phase of market development," said Mr. Ip, Hong Kong-based deputy general manager for Bauhinia and assistant to the director of Yip's Chemical.

Cheerful ads using the tagline "Painting your spring" show a multi-generational Chinese family painting their home in bright colors. The multiple meanings of the word "spring" in Chinese imply health, nature, warmth and color. The TV spot broke on China's national broadcaster, CCTV, in late July and the campaign is also running in print, outdoor and online.

Ads also highlight safety, a paramount issue in the mainland, where consumers, like many westerners, have doubts about the quality and safety of products made by local companies.

"Many people in China are afraid of buying local paint, so we present Bauhinia as a very trustworthy brand but also priced reasonably. We wanted to change the whole view of the brand," Ms. Chan said. "Safety in first-tier cites like Shanghai is especially important. Price is less important there."

Most of Bauhinia's sales are for wood coatings and related products, so the company has organized seminars for artisans and workers to demonstrate its water-based wood coatings line.

Most wood coatings used in China today are solvent-based, but Chinese are looking for wood coatings that are healthier and more environmentally friendly.

"We've spent the last few years developing our water-based wood coating and improving our formulation. Now we have a product that we are proud of, it can achieve the same effects as solvent-based coatings, while being environmentally friendly at the same time," Mr. Ip said.

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