Ad war breaks out in China ahead of national holiday

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BEIJING -- An advertising war has broken out in China as competition for sales among both local and foreign companies hots up in the run up to the most important holiday in the Chinese calendar: the Spring Festival on February 7.

Almost half of the 24 pages of the Beijing Evening News - a much higher proportion than normal - have been given over to ads this week, for products as diverse as soft drinks, clothes, household electronic appliances and new apartments.

And firms are vying with each other to offer the most attractive discounts, bonuses or free gifts to lure custom.

Beck's beer, which is promoted with the tagline: "Drink Beck's, Listen to Yourself", is advertising its newly-designed 24-can pack, along with a free, Beck's-branded electronic calculator, for example.

And audio system manufacturer Marantz is aiming to boost sales by giving away a stylish Marantz watch to every customer that buys a Marantz Pro-Logic sound system before the end of January. The company plans to tap the higher income Chinese families with its so-called family-cinema sound systems. Marantz sound systems are sold at more than 20 stores in Beijing.

Copyright January 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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