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Unilever Returns to Prime Resource to Promote 5 Key Brands

2010-02-04 09:40 BJT

Interview with Patrick Zhou, Media Director of Unilever Greater China

On November 18, 2009, Beijing Media Center, the bidding results for CCTV Special A time slot were disclosed, Unilever won Unit1, Unit4 and Unit5. Special A is a period of air time between CCTV-1 Weather Forecast and Topics in Focus; it is the most valuable ad resource competed by the fast consumables industry. This is the first return of Unilever to CCTV Prime Resource Bidding after it won Topics in Focus in 2005 and the first time to take part in an open competitive bidding. Immediately after the advent of the New Year, we interviewed Patrick Zhou, Media Director of Unilever Greater China, to deepen our understanding of the advertisement strategy of Unilever at CCTV Prime Resources in 2010.

Reporter: How was Unilever’s performance in the Chinese market in 2009? Patrick Zhou: In 2009 Unilever achieved satisfactory results in the Chinese market. After a certain period of economic downturn, starting from the second quarter and from the third quarter onwards, our market sales rebounded rapidly, and very quickly returned to the rapid growth momentum as seen in several consecutive years before 2008. Under such economic environment, such results are very satisfactory.

Reporter: How has Unilever arranged its market planning in 2010? Particularly in the aspect of brand marketing what new ideas does it have for the New Year?

Patrick Zhou: For 2010 the Company has drafted a market target with faster growth. This is because Chinese economy has fully recovered and presented stronger growing momentum than anytime in the past. Unilever has maintained fast growth in the recent several years, in 2010 or even five to ten years in the future, it will continue to target at keeping fast growth. In the aspect of brand marketing, apart from continual operation of some of our very mature brands, while hoping the market share and sales volume corresponding to each brand keep growing, the company also is constantly introducing new products and new brands, in order to meet the demand of Chinese consumers in a more all-inclusive manner. In 2010 we will introduce one to two new brands step by step to develop different product lines.

Reporter: Unilever shifts its focus of media expenditure to CCTV Prime Resource in 2010, is this also based on the above consideration? Patrick Zhou: We launch advertisements on CCTV almost every year. Our advertisement in the Prime Resource started in 2005, and later we focused on putting advertisements in other channels of CCTV. In November 2009, we again took part in the bidding of CCTV Prime Resource, and acquired multiple time slots during Special A section. The change in our media strategy is based on the following several reasons, firstly it is related to the target market for overall brand expansion. After several years of development, more brands of our Company have developed into nationwide brands, the core market target of the brands is to build up a truly nationwide brand, and CCTV is a national platform, which coincide perfectly with our wish to build up national brands. Secondly, the Prime Resource of CCTV-1 is a resource with very high influence and media credibility; our brands need to use this feature of CCTV to further enhance the influence and credibility of the brands. In my view this point is also very important.

Reporter: This year how many Unilever brands will show up in CCTV Prime Resource, and why do you choose these brands?

Patrick Zhou: This year we will focus on promoting Zhonghua, Lux, Comfort, Clear, Omo brands in Special A. They are all representative leading brands in their respective sectors, and also brands accounting for our largest sales, therefore they occupy very important position in the whole company’s product system. For instance, our Clear shampoo, it has a short marketing history, but it occupied market quickly, since its marketing in 2007 it is rapidly growing into a national brand. This time we will also highlight the promotion of Omo laundry powder during the Prime Resource, the brand of Omo originally enjoyed strong popularity in East China, with top ranking market share. By using the platform of CCTV, we hope to promote it into a powerful national brand; even such brands as Lux and Zhonghua will all strengthen promotion efforts across the nation by utilizing this opportunity. Comfort basically dominates the fabric softener market. Lux and Zhonghua are two old brands. Lux shampoo is already a national brand, and this year marks the 85th anniversary of the birth of Lux brand. We hope to make these brands more fashionable and more oriented toward the younger generation.