Yao Ming signs up for Shanghai ads

SHANGHAI: China's biggest basketball star, Yao Ming, will be taking a leading role in the third installment of an image-building campaign for China's top financial centre (Media, May 24).

The third in the series of an initial three-part television campaign crafted by Bates China is expected to break within the next two months.

Bates client Shanghai General Motors will back the Yao Ming campaign.

The Sino-US auto joint-venture had sponsored the campaign's first spot - 'World'- which ran in May.

Bates launched the second spot, 'The dream', which is backed by another client, HSBC, last month.

"HSBC is an ideal brand to sponsor the campaign because there are a lot of similarities between the bank and the essence of Shanghai," said Bates China strategy planning director Jenny Wang.

The spot serves as a brand campaign for the financial powerhouse, juxtaposing how the bank's drive to harness the best expertise and experience around the globe for its 'World's local bank' pledge is similar to Shanghai's ability to embrace the best of the world's top-class cities such as Paris, Milan and Tokyo. Based on this positioning, established in the first spot, Bates sought to show Shanghai as the place where people can achieve their dreams.

"We are digging deeper from the first spot, where we established Shanghai as the place that embraces and harnesses the best that the world has to offer," said Wang. "We wanted to focus on the people living in the city; people with dreams who go to Shanghai to achieve these dreams."

The city's leading media conglomerate, Shanghai Media Group (SMG), is airing the HSBC-backed campaign on its 11 channels during both prime and fringe time, according to Wang. SMG initiated the campaign, with local Government blessing, to present a correct perception of the city to a domestic and international audience. The city is looking to distance itself from its pre-Communist image as a decadent party town with shady overtones.

Wang said SMG had been inundated with feedback from viewers, saying they felt pride in seeing Shanghai portrayed as an international city.

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