FCB Helps Hong Kong Recuperate From SARS

LOS ANGELES The Hong Kong Tourism Board yesterday launched a global marketing campaign aimed at sustaining the city’s tourism recovery in the wake of the SARS epidemic.

The campaign was created by Interpublic Group’s Foote, Cone & Belding in Hong Kong, and adapted by the agency’s Irvine, Calif., office for the U.S. Spending on the campaign, which includes TV, radio, print, online and outdoor advertising running worldwide, could not be determined. The HKTB spent $1.5 million on ads in the U.S. in 2002, and $400,000 through June 2003, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus. The organization’s U.S. headquarters is in Los Angeles.

The effort introduces “Live it, love it” as a tagline and features Hong Kong native and actor Jackie Chan. One TV spot, which was cut in 60- and 30-second versions, has Chan playing host as he appears to direct the commercial. He invites visitors to enjoy Hong Kong’s hospitality, diversity of attractions and cultures, cuisine and shopping as the spot shows a series of vignettes in which a Western couple meets an Asian couple at various places throughout the city.

The campaign will run in the U.S. through November, said Mike Parise, senior vice president and group management director at FCB in Irvine. The TV spot will air on cable news networks such as MSNBC, Fox and CNN, as well as on stations like A&E, Bravo, The Discovery Channel and The Travel Channel, he said. It targets adults ages 25-54, with an emphasis on those who are 35-54, said Parise.

The HKTB debuted the commercial yesterday on the Reuters Jumbotron in New York, while tourism board officials, travel industry leaders, media and onlookers mingled with people dressed in Chinese costumes. In addition to the U.S., the spot will be screened in Canada, the U.K., Australia, China, Taiwan, India, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, Singapore, Japan and Korea.

According to the HKTB, Hong Kong had 1.6 million visitors in August, which represents a return to year-on-year growth of 9.6 percent.