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Beauty companies hope to score a perfect 10 when it comes to cross-promotional Olympics marketing.
With almost four months to go until the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, team beauty has a good start in the branding games. Avon, Coty and L’Oréal, among others, are betting on this summer’s competition to grow their businesses in China’s booming market. “The Olympics will draw attention to China as a center of the world,” says Steve Mormoris, senior vice president of global marketing for Coty Beauty. In May, Coty’s Rimmel London brand will launch in limited distribution in China, while under its license for Adidas, Coty has developed a line of fragrances (two for women, three for men) emblazoned with 2008 in Olympics-style graphics, designed to appeal to Chinese consumers. Meanwhile, L’Oréal Paris is the cosmetics sponsor of the Chinese men’s and women’s badminton teams in an exclusive two-year deal. Ads breaking in May proclaim “Sports and Beauty. Because you’re worth it,” and show the world’s number-one men’s player Lin Dan taking a shot, in front of his team in similar action mode. In another campaign, three female divers from China’s national team, dubbed the “Dream Team of China” tout Avon products as part of a two-year sponsorship deal signed last year. Both the badminton and diving squads are among China’s strong gold medal contenders. Industry sources estimate beauty brands are investing around $10 million in media campaigns and $1.5 million to $2.5 million annually in team sponsorship. While the world’s biggest sporting event may not be an obvious partner for beauty, brands are keen to prove their willingness to invest in China. “The Olympic games are of huge national pride for Chinese people,” says Debby Cheung, managing director of Ogilvy Public Relations in Shanghai. “A lot of foreign brands will use the Olympics to be seen as a brand that is committed to China and supportive to Chinese consumers, and that could help them with governmental relations as well.”