China’s Online Ad Boom – Dexter Roberts

From BusinessWeek (link)

When Motorola Inc. launched a new line of youth-oriented mobile phones in China last year, it didn’t bother advertising on TV or in newspapers and magazines. Instead, it hired a pair of college students from the southern city of Guangzhou who had become an Internet sensation with their homemade videos of themselves lip-synching Western pop songs. Dubbing the duo the ‘Back Dorm Boyz,” the phonemaker built an online marketing campaign in which the two lip-synched As Long as You Love Me by the Backstreet Boys.

The response was overwhelming: A related lip-synching and song re-mixing competition garnered 14 million page views, with the surge in traffic at one point crashing the site. Visitors cast more than 1.3 million votes to determine the winner of the contest — and sales of the new phones soared. “This was a grassroots, guerrilla way to relate to the youth of China,” says Ian Chapman-Banks, Motorola’s phone marketing chief for North Asia.

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