FCB Sings Hong Kong’s Praises

The group of shops enticing U.S. tourists to visit Asia gained another voice last week as FCB Southern California announced it will handle advertising in the Americas for the Hong Kong Tourism Board.

While FCB declined to disclose billings, the account—covering creative as well as media planning and buying—is estimated to be worth $2 million. There was no review. Irma S. Mann Strategic Marketing in Boston previously handled the account.

FCB was already the tourism board’s global agency, and Lily Shum, the client’s regional director for the Americas, said moving this regional account to FCB Southern California was “a matter of streamlining operations.” Irma S. Mann had been hired prior to the board’s relationship with FCB, she added.

“This was by no means a slam-dunk,” said FCB president Jim Harrington. “The board here was not required to use FCB.” The agency’s resources, including its destination experience through Hilton International, cinched the deal, he said.

In general, competition is heating up among Asian nations, including Singapore, Thailand and China, to become the destination of choice for the increasing number of tourists heading there. Just a few weeks ago, BBDO West in Los Angeles was tapped to handle advertising for the Singapore Tourism Bureau [Adweek, March 19].

The challenge for FCB, naturally, is to distinguish Hong Kong. The account, said Harrington, is “an important win here in the U.S. because of the size and importance of this market to Hong Kong.”

Executives at Irma S. Mann could not be reached for comment.

In addition to providing the opportunity to do “really great creative work,” the assignment “allows us to leverage the strength of working in a global network,” Harrington said. FCB Southern California, which moved into new space in Irvine last week, will work closely on the business with FCB’s office in Hong Kong.

FCB will use the “City of life” tagline created by its Hong Kong office. Creative will demonstrate the “East meets West fusion” of Hong Kong as a city with a rich history and modern attractions.

Print ads are scheduled to break this month in travel and enthusiast publications, including National Geographic, Condé Nast Traveler, Travel & Leisure and Reader’s Digest. TV spots are due to break in the fall.

The campaign will also include Internet ads, sales promotions and materials for travel agents.