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Giant duck returns to HK after a decade: How could it have been marketed better?

Giant duck returns to HK after a decade: How could it have been marketed better?

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The recent DOUBLE DUCKS exhibition in Hong Kong has taken the city by storm as the return of the giant inflatable rubber duck after 10 years with a new friend has drawn 3.5k mentions over the past weekend, with 50.8% positive and only 2.8% negative sentiments, according to media intelligence firm CARMA.

Co-organised by creative brand AllRightReserved and Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman, the two giant inflatable ducks are said to resemble the symmetrical Chinese characters "囍" (happiness) and "朋" (friends). The two-week long project aims at conveying the healing power of art and a positive message of friendship and unity.

Don't miss: ZA Bank promotes widespread use of NFTs with DOUBLE DUCKS-themed promotional events

The exhibition also comes along with loads of promotional activities and campaigns introduced by brand sponsors to create a one-of-a-kind, city-wide tourism push. For example, Ngong Ping 360 has brought the “Flying Rubber Duck” cable cars and the “Bubble Bath-themed" cable cars. Both styles of cable cars mirror the DOUBLE DUCKS exhibition and wish to ride on the DOUBLE DUCK frenzy.

The recent launch of “Double Ducks-Themed Station” and the mini duckies across 24 MTR stations are also one of the examples of brand sponsors trying to align the exhibition with their campaigns. 

What more can be done to market the duck better?

On the creative front, adland creatives MARKETING-INTERACTIVE spoke to agreed that the exhibition has been promoted very well, and it has already made a lot of noise in the market.

To make it more appealing, Hugo Yiu, group creative director of Uth Creative suggested the presentation of DOUBLE DUCKS should incorporate more surprising elements. “For example, by adding technology and multimedia, such as lasers, projections, and music at night, it could bring even more enjoyment and happiness,” he added.

Regarding publicity, in addition to placing advertisements on MTR stations, tram bodies, and other traditional media, it could also consider unconventional media placements like street floors, park benches, street basketball courts, amongst others, said Yiu.

Incorporating technology to create a more immersive digital experience might also work to wow consumers. Andy Chan, managing partner of creative agency Durian HK, said: “Would it be possible to put an 8K camera inside Double Duck's eye so people could see it as the duck does? Creating an AR installation at Habour City to compare Hong Kong over the last 10 years since its first visit? How about inviting Hins Cheung (Friends Of ARR) to climb the duck and ride it?"

On the other hand, good storytelling skills are also key to resonating with a wider audience. Ashvin Anamalai, CEO of DNA Creative Communications said that it is essential to approach the marketing of the ducks with a fresh and innovative mindset.

By crafting a compelling narrative that revolves around the ducks' journey and their significance in Hong Kong's cultural landscape, the campaign can establish a strong emotional connection with the audience.

True enough, the marketing idea around the ducks is not the fact that it's designed by Hofman, but what the duck means to Hong Kong people, said Alvin Lam, business director of Eighty20. “The duck is truly something close to our hearts...We want to foster these ideas in our next generations and for them to create times and memories with families and friends close to us,” he added.

With so many brands incorporating art into campaigns, how can the exhibition stand out? 

Incorporating art in branding campaigns is a common tactic for brands in today’s marketing world, but most of the industry players MARKETING-INTERACTIVE spoke to believed that the exhibition has not lost its shine amid the stiff competition.

The debate on "Mass VS Niche" is always prevalent in the art world. However, Durian’s Chan didn’t think there is another piece of art that can arouse the same level of awareness and engagement among Hong Kong people as the DOUBLE DUCKS exhibition.

“Nevertheless, I see the giant duck as a symbol of happiness, collective memory of Hong Kong along with the first wave of Instagramable user generated behaviour in 2013, so both Gen M and Gen Z must come across this exhibition and become inspired by it. Furthermore, how does displaying a cute and adorable art piece at Victoria Harbour compared to putting on an exhibition at M+ museum? From a creative and execution standpoint, it still remains unbeatable,” he added.

Agreeing with his view was Uth Creative’s Yiu, who said the DOUBLE DUCKS event is a pure art exhibition for the public to enjoy free of charge, and it attracts people through its content and word of mouth.

“Although other brands have tried to incorporate art into their campaigns, they're still commercial. The audience know that they're being sold something and pushed to see it. Without this barrier, the audience is more willing to embrace DOUBLE DUCKS.

Community involvement is also important for the success of the exhibition as it brings people together in a meaningful and personal way. DNA Creative’s Ashvin said when members of the local community feel included and valued, it creates a sense of belonging and pride. “It's as if inviting neighbours and friends to be part of something special, where they can contribute their unique talents, perspectives, and experiences,” he added.

After all, when it comes to using art in branding campaigns, it's essential to ensure that the art piece aligns with the brand's values and messaging.

Tony Hon, executive creative director of Turn Creative said: “Simply using popular art or artists may generate some initial buzz, but it won't necessarily result in a long-lasting and memorable campaign,” he added.

In contrast, when a brand chooses an art piece or artist that resonates with its values and messaging, the campaign will have a more significant impact on the audience, said Hon.

The artwork will help reinforce the brand's message and create an emotional connection with the audience, resulting in a more memorable campaign.

Related articles:

HK's giant duck deflates: Could organisers have handled it better?
How are brand sponsors and supporter measuring ROI from their DOUBLE DUCKS investment?
Promotional activities unveiled ahead of giant inflatable DOUBLE DUCKS exhibition on 10 June
Prudential HK sponsors 'DOUBLE DUCKS' exhibition as part of 175th anniversary celebration

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