Chinese brands invest in Hollywood

21 July 2011

BEIJING: Chinese marketers have embarked on one of the world's biggest ever product placement campaigns with the new Transformers movie.

Brands including clothing firm Meters/bonwe, electronics specialists Lenovo and TCL and dairy company Yili all feature in Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon, the Financial Times reports.

The "unprecedented" initiative is aimed at raising the profile of Chinese brands both at home and worldwide.

Meters/bonwe - one of the first Chinese brands to strike a product placement deal with Hollywood, with its products appearing in Transformers 2 in 2009 - provides clothing for the film's hero, played by Shia LaBeouf.

Meanwhile, the film includes a cameo from a TCL flat-screen television, a reference to Yili's Shuhua Low Lactose Milk, and a robot transforming into a Lenovo Edge laptop PC.

Speaking to the newspaper about Lenovo's involvement in the movie, Didi Zhang of Ogilvy & Mather Beijing said: "The main motivation is to expand their brand recognition in foreign markets, but for others the focus is on the domestic market because the effect with foreign movies is better."

Ms Zhang also said that the Transformers 3 product placement effort would "speed up the trend" for Chinese brands to strike deals of this kind.

Xie Wei of Meters/bonwe added: "In the beginning, the director and the producer [of the Transformers movies] had some prejudice against China because they'd never been here.

"We invited them to China to come to visit Shanghai and our company, and then their impression of China changed."

At the box-office, Transformers: Dark of the Moon made $382m in its first weekend on opening in June 2011 - the second-highest weekend gross to date.v

Data sourced from Financial Times; additional content by Warc staff