Tuesday, January 10, 2012

"Find Me": Oppo's Bold Media Campaign for a Smartphone

As I've mentioned before, while China's mobile phone industry continues to include explicit copying of global brands, a number of Chinese brands, such as K-Touch and BBK, are trying to grow their own identities. One of the brands that I think is particularly worth following closely is Oppo. It can often be found next to popular global brands such as Nokia, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, etc. at mobile phone stores across China.

Oppo section at Mobile World (通信天地) in Shanghai

Oppo store in Guangzhou, Guangdong province

Oppo offers a variety of phones, some of which can be seen here:

Oppo mobile phones

Oppo mobile phones

Oppo mobile phones

Maybe even more than its broad availability and wide variety of phones, something that highlights Oppo's ambitions has been its recent marketing campaign for its Android-based Find X903 mobile phone. It's not hard to notice the advertisements which can be found in many places in China, whether in the larger cities:

Oppo Find advertisement in a Shanghai subway station

or those much smaller:

Oppo Find advertisement in a shopping district in Heyuan, Guangdong

And yes, that is Leonardo DiCaprio appearing in most of the photos above. He was reportedly paid 5 million dollars (US) for his role in the Oppo campaign. A brief (in English) describing the media campaign can be found here. The brief provides a useful (although presumably biased) overview and is worth checking out. One note though: while there are repeated mentions of "Twitter", Twitter was of course not part of the campaign as it is currently blocked in China. Replace "Twitter" with "Sina's and Tencent's micro-blogging services" (roughly similar in concept to a hybrid of Twitter and Facebook) to clarify that issue.

The video included in the brief poses the problem of how Oppo can stand out in a market that is dominated by global brands. It says research indicated:
...male consumers enjoy exploring the unknown, they don't like to be simply told the facts but instead they like to find out the truth by themselves. Therefore, we should challenge their knowledge to search for our product rather than just present our product in front of them.
The rest of the video and other information on the page explains how this intriguing claim guided the design of an interactive media campaign. Oppo's targeting of male consumers for this campaign is notable since in the past it has often targeted female consumers.

Oppo's "Find Me" website is here (Chinese) and as described in the brief includes many interactive experiences and also several trailers & TV commercials which were directed by Jeremy Haccoun. The movie-like style of the videos is obvious and many have commented on their similarity in style with a film in which DiCaprio starred -- Inception. There is a video on several Internet sites that combines the videos but some sections aren't exactly the same as what's found on Oppo's websites. Since it's simpler to present, here's a version on YouTube:

On the "Find Me" website you can find videos of the 3 trailers here and the 2 TV commercials here (note: in addition to the audio for the videos there is music playing in the background of the webpage which can be turned off by clicking on the gramophone icon). Oppo's website for the Find X903 phone (here) seems to only have 2 of the trailers and neither of the commercials.

The campaign, which was created by NIM Advertising, has won several awards such as the Digital Media Awards Asia's award for Technology and Telecoms and earlier received some buzz on advertising news websites such as chinaSmack, Adweek, and brandchannel. Peter Fuhrman, Chairman of China First Capital, Ltd., commented on Oppo and this media campaign last August:
It’s a bold move by a little-known Chinese mobile phone company to storm into the big time, and grab market share from Nokia, Samsung, LG and Apple. None of these global brands uses a big name to front its ads in China. Oppo is determined to compete as equals with these larger companies. It’s still learning the rules of building a successful brand. Its tactics and ad strategy are a little off-beat. But, Oppo has the resources and distribution in China to challenge the large global mobile phone brands, and so cause them headaches in the world’s largest mobile phone market...

Oppo is trying to pull off a challenging feat: to catapult above the hundreds of no-name mobile phone manufacturers and brands, and establish itself as a premium brand in China. The other Chinese mobile phone brands do little to no advertising, and instead compete mainly on price.
There are a number of curious or problematic issues I could address regarding the campaign, ranging from strategy to website usability, but I'll put them aside for now. What is most significant is that Oppo attempted a campaign of this scope and nature. Its competitors, both Chinese and those abroad, would be wise to pay close attention to Oppo as it attempts to grow.

There are reports that Oppo will soon release the next version of the Find phone (so far being given the name Find 2). It appears that not all of the videos for "Find Me" have yet been released so it will be interesting to see if they're used for the advertising campaign of the next Find phone. For now, we'll just have to wait to see if the "Find Me" theme continues. However, if Oppo decides it wants to make the phone more easily discovered, an advertisement for a large upscale mall in Guangzhou may have already beaten Oppo to a potentially appropriate follow-up theme:

advertisement with words Here I Am
Inspired by Oppo?

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