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TBWA\Hong Kong defies brand marketing austerity from city’s unrest with “Brave Bear Pack” product launch

While many brands have understandably reacted to Hong Kong’s civil upheaval by tightening belts, cutting costs, and battening down, TBWAHong Kong has stepped forward to announce the launch a product in opposition to this duck and cover mindset.

Titled the “Brave Bear Pack”, it focuses on hacking growth and providing cost-efficient solutions during times of economic insecurity, finding ways for brands to remain active instead of going dormant.

“During turbulent times, most turn to a bear-market-mentality, opting for austerity measures to wait out the storm,” said Jan Cho, managing director, TBWA Hong Kong. “We believe otherwise. We believe in going on the offensive because threats always present opportunities. That’s why we call it the Brave Bear.”

TBWAHong Kong is pushing the pack’s multiple components that take into account reduced budgets as well as the current climate.

“We’ve developed this product to encompass three essential areas in the user conversion funnel – firstly, disrupting the conventional customer acquisition approach, secondly having cost-efficient and effective content that drives conversion, and thirdly, providing proactive instead of reactive reputation management,” said Terence Ling, head of strategy, TBWAHong Kong.

The pack’s contents include live data identification of neglected white spaces, lead-generation and conversion using dynamic content, cost-efficient content creation at scale (provided by TBWA’s in-house filmmaking unit, BOLT Hong Kong), overseas shoots with filmmakers provided by FlareStudio, chatbot marketing, and pay-as-you-go crisis management provided by TBWA and Ketchum Hong Kong.

Simeon Mellalieu, partner, client development, Asia Pacific, Ketchum said, “An imperative for all companies is to ensure they’re in a position to manage their brands through times of uncertainty and risk. The Brave Bear Pack is a smart solution, which allows businesses to safeguard their brands with confidence via our risk assessment process, consumer sentiment tracking, crisis response and brand recovery strategies.”

Since citywide protests began in June 2019-  in opposition to a massively unpopular extradition bill – and was met with (globally criticised) levels of force the city’s police, business across almost every sector in the territory has been dented. Speaking off the record with Marketing, staff at several agencies and brands have voiced their concern about a lack of direction and that a siege mentality has taken root. It is certainly interesting to see a major industry presence like TBWA step up and offer some kind of alternative to turning turtle, though how effective it will be remains to be seen.

“Clients are increasingly looking to boost effectiveness as well as ROI, especially during times of economic uncertainty,” said Oliver Kunze, chief data officer, TBWAAsia. “With Brave Bear Pack spearheaded by demand mapping, we use data to identify, justify and better predict growth opportunities for brands, allowing us to provide clients more assurance to their investments.”

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