Mooncake ad spending slips

Kee Wah remains the city's leading advertiser for the traditional, Mid-Autumn Festival treat as economic woes result in tighter budgets

PUBLISHED : Monday, 22 October, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 22 October, 2012, 4:47am

Advertising spending on mooncakes, the time-honoured Mid-Autumn Festival delicacy, have slipped this year after reaching a record a year ago.

Media-monitoring firm, admanGo, estimated that expenditure for mooncake campaigns in Hong Kong from the week of August 20 to the week of September 24 reached HK$91.534 million, down slightly from the record HK$93.398 million posted during the week of August 1 to the week of September 5 last year.

The calculation was based on the period of around six weeks of so-called peak mooncake advertising activity before the exact day of the festival in 2011 and 2012, according to admanGo.

This year's festival fell on September 29, while it was on September 12 last year. The festival takes place each year on the 15th day of the eighth month in the lunar calendar, when the full moon is supposed to be at its biggest, brightest and roundest.

Jennifer Ma, the director of sales and marketing at admanGo, said mooncake campaigns declined this year in every media category, except online, owing mostly to "a general economic malaise" that prompted companies to trim their advertising budgets.

Mooncake campaigns on television continued to generate the most spending at HK$42.221 million this year, compared with HK$44.131 million a year earlier. Online campaigns rose to HK$7.969 million, up from HK$1.401 million the previous year.

Despite the general slowdown in media campaigns, the city's well-known mooncake brands still enjoyed a surge in demand from mainland shoppers. The South China Morning Post reported last month that counterfeit mooncakes were being sold across the border in the days leading up to the Mid-Autumn Festival.

Poor-quality counterfeit mooncakes labelled Wing Wah and Maxim's, two of Hong Kong's most popular brands, were being offered on mainland websites at significantly lower prices than those of the authentic products. That prompted mainland shoppers to buy directly from official shops in the city.

Advertising for traditional mooncakes - the old-fashioned, cholesterol-packed treats with egg yolk and red bean or lotus seed paste - made up 56 per cent of total spending this year. The rest were for campaigns of non-traditional mooncakes, which are typically chilled and made with fruits, chocolate or ice cream.

Kee Wah Bakery, the city's perennial top traditional mooncake advertiser, spent HK$14.062 million on campaigns this season. The Taipan Bread & Cakes chain, which pioneered the diet-friendly "snowy" mooncakes in 1989, led advertising for non-traditional mooncakes, with campaigns worth HK$10.68 million.