City Chain uses Giggs in US$8m campaign

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 14 May, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 14 May, 1997, 12:00am

City Chain will spend US$8 million on a year-long advertising campaign to launch its new Solvil et Titus watch series in six Asian countries.

The campaign, featuring Manchester United footballer Ryan Giggs, begins at the end of this month and involves five variations of one television commercial to be broadcast on TVB Jade and ATV Home.

The 60 and 30-second commercials, in English with Chinese sub-titles, were produced by the creative team at Ogilvie & Mather Advertising Hong Kong at a cost of more than $15 million.

The storyline features Giggs in a flashback role in 1968, the year United last won the European Cup, and the girl who has supported him throughout his football career. United manager Alex Ferguson also appears.

The adverts are the first time City Chain has used a Western personality after previous campaigns with pop stars Andy Lau Tak-wah and Anita Mui Yim-fong, and actor Chow Yun-fatt.

Eric Wong, City Chain's regional operational controller, said the retailer had no reservations about using a Westerner to promote the stainless steel watch in Asia as both Manchester United and Giggs had a high profile in the region.

'We found Ryan's character matched perfectly with the new watch series. We're targeting 25 to 35-year-olds who are outgoing and want a watch that has simple design,' he said.

'It helps to use a well-known personality because people recognise the face and sometimes they will project themselves to be the hero in the commercial. We're selling watches but we need the person to represent the watch. They have more credibility than ordinary actors,' Mr Wong said.

Giggs, a marketing machine in Britain where he endorses several products ranging from soft drinks to cellular phones, said he was attracted to the idea because of the storyline and the chance to increase his marketability in Asia.

'Most of my commercials and the offers I get are British-based and the chance to do something in the Far East was really appealing. We have a lot of fans in the Far East and, when we toured Malaysia two years ago, we were mobbed everywhere. It's a good chance to increase the profile of the team and myself,' the Welsh international said.

The campaign also features posters on the MTR and adverts in Chinese publications Next, Eastweek, Ming Pao Weekly, Oriental Sunday and Cable Guide.