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Hongkongers want ads to be funny and practical

As an industry we better brush up on our jokes, as Hong Kong consumers do expect funny (47%) and practical (57%) content from brands, the latest global relevance review from Golin reveals.

The three-year study, in partnership with the USC Annenberg School for Journalism and Communications, studied 13,000 people in 13 markets on four continents to uncover what drives relevance for categories and brands across the globe. The survey population encompassed millennials (18-34), Gen X (35-54) and boomers (55+).

Compared to the global statistics, which indicate only 35% have the desire for funny content with the main driver being practical at 57% and informative at 54%, Hong Kong is the only market where being practical yet funny is a must for brands. Inspiring and informative content didn’t even get a look.

Hong Kong’s leading social platform is also perceived as popular, influential and entertaining, indicating people don’t head to the platform for the truth. Both male and female correspondents regard politics as the most relevant topic on the platform, while contents related to celebrities or finance rank second for men and women, respectively.

As for brand attributes, Hong Kongers expect retail banks to be a trustworthy, transparent and effective, yet the most relevant bank in Hong Kong is seen as prestigious and influential. Meanwhile, the leading automotive brand in Hong Kong is deemed popular and effective. This category was much different to the other two in that most car brands in Hong Kong are perceived to have the same values, meaning there’s a clear opportunity for one brand to break away, and be the most relevant.

Certain categories had interesting results when it comes to action versus sharing. Take beauty for example, 66% of Hong Kongers would act on relevant content, but only 22% would share. Which poses the question, is engagement and sharing a reliable or necessary metric? Or should we just be solely focusing on the business action?

“This research shows a huge disconnect with what consumers want and what they are being given,” said Jane Morgan, managing director, Golin Hong Kong. “Our role as marketers has never been so important. Brands need to listen to their audience, spend more time understanding them, and give them what they want. If they don’t, their key attribute may well end up being irrelevancy.”

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