Product / ServiceHTC ONE CELL PHONE
CategoryA06. Best Use or Integration of Music
Entrant Company ZENITHOPTIMEDIA Shanghai, CHINA
Production Company NEWCAST Shanghai, CHINA

The Campaign

Traditional media in China such as TV, outdoor, print and radio is highly fragmented and often requires massive budget. As a result, branded content; a relatively new advertising technique in China; is growing fast. It offers a cheaper solution but often deeper and more engaging way to communicate with consumers. Due to limited regulations which govern the practice of branded content, brands tend to be more blatant and often lacks the sophistication of western counterparts. Another key market practice is celebrity endorsements in China. The likes of WARC and BCMA purport from research that celebrity endorsements has stronger impact on Chinese consumers than other channels. Many brands including big brands like Coke Cole,Pepsi or P&G etc. choose to use this (often combined with product placement) to create more brand preference and relevance with their audiences. For smaller advertisers with limited budget doing branded content advertising, coupled with use the borrowed equity and relevance from a celebrity, is a more effective way to tell their brand value. This strategic approach needs to be started very early on, in partnership with the chosen talent and developed on the base of a good distribution strategy to ensure that content is easily found and accessible.


At the end of 2012, China became the world’s biggest smartphone market. HTC was late to enter a market dominated by Apple and Samsung, with budgets many times greater. HTC launches its new “HTC One” device with a distinctive Authentic Sound feature. The objectives of our campaign are to promote this new device with limited budget, driving brand and product awareness, preference and impacting sales on the long term. Based on our research and media insights, we decided to create content that would make our audience not only know about HTC’s sound feature, but also experience it. In China, karaoke is part of the culture, it’s one of the most popular social activities among every age and social class, and there are karaoke bars almost every 200 meters in most major cities. We decided to use karaoke bars as a key touchpoint to seed our brand content. To make HTC One part of this experience, we firstly approached pop singer Zhangjie, the Justin Bieber of China, and asked him to write an inspiring song for HTC that would appear to the TA while resonating with HTC’s brand values. We produced the song called “One Chance” and the music video. We then partnered with a KTV chain to make the song part of karaoke bar set-lists, playing a teaser version during breaks between songs. The partnership also included a joint promotion, enabling HTC to sell the phone directly through the KTV staff. We released and promoted the song on radio at key listening hours, right before KTV time. We promoted the MV on online music websites and social networks, leveraging brand owned accounts and ZhangJie’s; we arranged outdoor new phone launch parties combined with Zhangjie’s PR activities including fans meeting, mini concerts and magazine interviews.

China is a nation of music lovers and singers, and HTC’s target audience, active urban and young, are typically people who like to listen to the latest bands and go out to karaoke bars to sing with friends. Clearly more active on internet and in social activities, we also found that HTC’s targets were strongly influenced by two touch-points in particular: music celebrity endorsement and product placement.

This campaign lasted for three months. As the result of this campaign, firstly the song “One Chance” was a huge hit, extending far beyond karaoke bars. It went to No.1 on four different Chinese national radio charts and online music channels. After three months, the brand awareness of HTC jumped 20 points to 87%, the brand preference increased 6 points to 19% and the sales of HTC phone grew by an incredible 400% vs. year ago.


Name Company Position
Linda Yu Zenith Project Planner
Ruey Ku Zenith Project Director
Aya Sheng Zenith Asso. Planning Manager
Amber Wong Zenith Asso. Planning Manager
Rick Shao Zenith Planning Director
Arthur Sun Zenith Deputy General Manager