Lipton Steams Ahead in China


While some brands may be stymied by Chinese consumers, others are moving full steam ahead into the Chinese market. Take Lipton Tea, for example, which is already on its third campaign for Lipton milk tea. All three campaigns feature renowned actor Takeshi Kaneshiro.

On September 1, Lipton released its “Sunshine Steam” commercial (watch after the jump) in 22 cities throughout China, and “Royal Moment” will launch on September 15. Both ads feature special effects and highlight the brand as a “world tea expert.” DDB Shanghai, the agency responsible for the Lipton milk tea campaign, says the ads use “travel, imagination and fantasy to conceptualize the key creative concept of ‘transformation.'”[more]

Lipton China began marketing its Lipton milk tea using a “steam” icon in early 2010 with a campaign that leveraged the Chinese New Year. Part of that campaign included a unique viral component, in which a consumer could insert his or her own face into a  video and send it as a greeting to a friend. When the friend virtually “blows” on a cup of Lipton milk tea to cool it, steam with a customized message is revealed wafting up from the cup. Then the personalized video greeting is launched as a gift celebrating the New Year.

The unusual viral campaign reportedly engaged over 100 million consumers. The Lipton brand is owned by Unilever, a major international consumer goods conglomerate representing some 400 brands, including Dove, Knorr, and Wall’s.

Lipton also worked with DDB Hong Kong to create brand guidelines “that are actually fun and engaging.”

In order to create what DDB calls “the most engaging brand guidelines ever,” a metal suitcase was sent to every Lipton brand manager across Asia Pacific. Inside, they found “a stack of cash and an iPod Touch, pre-loaded with ‘Lipton Millionaire’ — a fun, interactive app that challenges their knowledge of the Lipton brand.”

The opportunity: Lipton’s Asia-Pacific brand managers could win a million dollars in virtual sales to show that they truly understand the brand. “Of course, the better they know the brand, the better their chances,” notes DDB HK. “So we also included an interactive version of the ‘Lipton Voice’ Guidelines to help them brush up on their knowledge — giving them the best chance possible of becoming a virtual millionaire.”

As a result of the exercise, DDB HK says “knowledge of the Lipton brand is at an all-time high” in the region, “with their position as the world’s no.1 tea brand reinforced with a single voice. More importantly, the way that brand guidelines are presented has changed forever.”


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