Greater China: Chinese diver fronts Red Earth push

SHANGHAI: Cosmetics and skincare brand Red Earth is looking to make a marketing splash, hiring Olympic gold medallist Guo Jing Jing to front a print-led campaign.

Action China, a sport marketing company owned by former Chinese gymnast cum sports apparel company founder Li Ning, lined up the co-operation between Red Earth and Guo. Action China's director Rey Chiu said Guo's appearance marked the first time an international cosmetic brand had used a Chinese gold medallist for marketing in China.

Developed by Red Earth's in-house creative team, the campaign juxtaposes Guo as a modern woman against old Beijing buildings. Red Earth's spokesperson Miranda Cheung said the campaign had been created to highlight the brand's philosophy of 'premium beauty made easy'. She said that Guo was chosen as its spokesperson because the diver projected a healthy, smart and attractive image. Guo's gold medal haul at the Summer Olympics gave the brand added value.

Market observers believe Red Earth's strategy of using a Chinese Olympic gold medallist rather than a model or movie star would help it differentiate itself from rivals.

Red Earth faces keen competition from international cosmetic groups, which are stepping up operations in China. Cheung cited L'Oreal and Maybelline as key rivals in the colour cosmetics category and Biotherm and Shiseido in skincare. Red Earth has 144 shops or counters in China, rising to 149 by year-end.

Action China's Chiu said more brands were starting to feature China's Olympic stars in their campaign. "Some of our clients have asked us to spot the athletes who will become the next legends in the 2008 Games as they want to set-up long-term cooperation with these athletes."

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