The season for a new look and a new partner for old favourites

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 06 April, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 06 April, 2005, 12:00am

It's not even summer but the fashion focus is already on winter as the major labels flash their new looks to keep profiles high and lure sales.

But what do retailers which sell the same goods every day do for promotion?

Fast-food giant McDonald's recently launched a campaign for its Chicken McNuggets, one of its best-sellers.

With a new line of Asian sauces featuring flavours from Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Japan, advertising agency DDB created an animated character called Dip Jack to star in the latest television commercials.

Dip Jack - which sounds like Dim Jack in Cantonese or 'now what?' - cannot resist the new McNuggets sauces and resorts to some very devious behaviour to get his hands on them.

'Whenever Dip Jack steals someone's McNuggets, you can hear the 'victim' cry 'Dim Jack!', meaning both the name and an expression of dismay,' said DDB Hong Kong business director Karen Wong.

The execution is in the comic-strip style to build relevance to young working adults and to enhance the fun-eating experience at McDonald's.

The character is starring on the website, the advertising material and through all McDonald's outlets.

'With familiarity comes indifference, and the company decided it was time to re-energise the brand and remind everyone why they fell in love with Chicken McNuggets in the first place,' DDB said.

Meanwhile, Pizza Hut, backed by Ogilvy, has teamed up with HSBC to promote its evergreen pick. The restaurant offers buy-one-get-one-free for customers who order pizza and pay with HSBC credit card.

The response had been strong and the promotion was more effective than offering a 50 per cent discount, said Pizza Hut Hong Kong marketing director Eunice Wong.

'We have a mere 5 per cent drop in sales per transaction on average but double-digit increase in transaction volume,' Ms Wong said.

'We are doubling the value without doubling the effort.'

And since Media Eye is constantly short of cash, I'm smiling over a trial Pizza Hut is running on credit-card payment for deliveries.

Most customers are happy with the new payment method, although it takes 30 per cent longer in transaction time.

Cable reinforcements

Pay-television operator NOW Broadband TV has brought in an array of HBO channels to its premium offerings.

They include HBO Signature, dismissively known as HBO Rerun by industry players, and this will be followed by two genre-based channels later this year or early next year.

'We believe the additional HBO services will drive subscriber acquisition while improving retention for cable operators throughout the region,' said HBO Asia chief executive Jonathan Spink.

'The launch of these value-added services will also lead to a further rationalisation of cable markets throughout Asia.'

To survive in the highly competitive pay-television market, operators not only have to think global but also local.

The PCCW unit recently launched a television commercial starring Danny Chan Kwok-kwan to promote a monthly package of $138 for five premium channels.

Chan is the hottest young actor in town, gaining popularity by impersonating kung fu master Bruce Lee in his latest film Kung Fu Hustle.

'Isn't that a great one?' asked Dominic Leung, executive vice-president of PCCW's internet services. 'Before this commercial, audiences told us they thought we are a gweilo broadcaster and didn't know we provide Chinese-language channels.'

changing with the times

While employees of this humble newspaper have been working hard and helped it post better than expected earnings last week, workers at Hong Kong Economic Times have not been sitting on their hands, either.

The IPO candidate has asked them to sign a letter agreeing to work six days a week, instead of only alternate Sundays. Journalists are more than reluctant to sign the paper, believing the company is breaking a verbal agreement.

Industry watchers suspect it is preparing to print seven days a week as a pre-IPO expansion.

We hope our friends at North Point are offered a discount on shares in the year-end listing.