Chinese marketers take branding to the streets

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BEIJING -- A marketing street fight has broken out in several major Chinese cities this summer as brand owners battle to get their names on as much outdoor merchandise as possible.

Sun umbrellas are being offered for free to the likes of bookstands, ice-cream sellers, fast food sellers and even the police, daubed with advertisements for both Chinese and foreign brands. Names such as Dairy Farm ice cream, McDonald's, Coca-Cola, Pepsi-Cola, Budweiser beer, Energizer batteries, and joint venture products like Taiwan-style Kangshifu instant noodles have all appeared in Beijing, for example.

In some cities, foreign cigarette brands like Philip Morris' Marlboro, which are banned by law from advertising in China, have taken advantage of the new technique.

In Guangzhou in South China's Guangdong Province, companies are offering so many t-shirts printed with their brands and company names that newspapers have reported the fashion as the new scenery of the city.

Copyright September 1996, Crain Communications Inc.

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