Hutchison Whampoa

Hutchison targets the youth in new pitch for 3G mobile service

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 12 April, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 12 April, 2006, 12:00am

Despite razzle-dazzle campaigns by Hong Kong mobile service providers touting the benefits of multimedia 3G services, most people are sticking to their voice-based 2G services.

The penetration rate of 3G mobile services in the city is still only about 12 per cent of total contract customers, even though there are four service providers pushing mobile-phone users to switch to the new technology.

In this sluggish environment, Hutchison Telecom 3 Hong Kong, which has bet the kitchen sink on 3G being the iPod of the mobile-phone world, is trying everything to attract users, including a new television commercial that uses voice-over rather than the beaming face of a star to promote its service.

The distinguished voice in this case belongs to renowned Cantonese opera and comic movie actor Law Kar-ying (right), making his first outing for 3 Hong Kong.

The commercial, which was launched last week, delivers the hard-hitting message that 3 Hong Kong is the largest 3G operator in town, and that it boasts the strongest content in news, football and music.

It features a boy using a 3G phone to get news, football information and music, and carries the message that 3 Hong Kong's 3G service has been in town for more than three years ... and that mobile users would benefit if they subscribed.

'We have used Mr Law's voice to [convey] a different feeling to the audience, which makes it stand out among other commercials,' Aaron Lau, chief executive of Bravo Asia, the creative agency for Hutchison Telecom, explains to Media Eye.

'This is a corporate image campaign to strengthen Hutchison Telecom's leading position in the local 3G market,' Mr Lau says.

'It is quite a different feeling when we use Law's voice-over with the boy to deliver the message. It brings us interesting and humorous feelings.

'The message is no longer hard-sell.'

He says the commercial has prompted an instant response, resulting in an uptick in new subscribers.

'We hope that 3 Hong Kong will be a young brand in the market, attracting the youth segment,' Mr Lau says.

drums of war

Like everything in the mobile-phone field, nevertheless, the 3G business is proving competitive.

And with PCCW joining the fray, things have now become that little bit more difficult, especially as it has been winning friends and influencing people by giving out 110,000 3G handsets for free trials over the past three months.

CSL, for its part, is pushing its 3G offering for dedicated services, such as mobile television and video sharing during voice calls, while keeping its 1010 and One2Free brands separate to serve the business and mass markets, respectively.

SmarTone-Vodafone is offering exclusive handsets to lure advanced users. However, it recently started promoting its Sharp SX 313 handset using a zero handset price strategy,

Are these the opening shots in another price war?

Tv, or not tv?

With PCCW putting a lot of emphasis on its Now Broadband TV business, executive director Alex Arena announced on Monday that Janice Lee had been promoted to executive vice-president to oversee marketing and content development.

Ms Lee will report to Dominic Leung, the managing director of PCCW's television and content group.

The pair have built up a good partnership in helping to make PCCW No1 in the local broadband market over the past few years.

Ms Lee has successfully brought youth and energetic branding into the firm's Netvigator and Now Broadband TV services.

Media Eye was most impressed at Netvigator's use of Japanese cartoon character Dr Slump to promote its stable connectivity quality in 2003.

Monita Leung will take over from Ms Lee as a director of broadband service marketing.

Media Eye congratulates both.

no substitute for quality

In such a diverse information age, it is encouraging to find people are still willing to spend time on reading quality publications, like this one and others such as the renowned British business news weekly, the Economist.

Circulation figures for the Economist indicate that quality readership is growing all over the world. The magazine says its circulation for the six months to December last year was up 9 per cent over the previous year to 1.09 million copies.

The magazine did well in the Asia-Pacific with circulation of 117,247 copies - up 7.4 per cent, or 8,000 copies, on the previous corresponding period.

And the weekly successfully outpaced other international titles in terms of business readership growth last year.

According to the 2006 Asian Businessmen readership survey, the Economist's weekly readership has grown 41 per cent year on year. US news weeklies Time and Newsweek recorded only 4 per cent and 2 per cent growth last year, respectively.