TD Waterhouse Expands Annual Chinese New Year Campaign

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TD Waterhouse USA expanded its annual direct marketing campaign tied to Chinese New Year in an effort to reach more Chinese-Americans in New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles.


"We added some more media tactics, including TV and radio, and we did a more concentrated effort in [direct mail] and e-mail," said Paul Schell, senior vice president of customer communication and marketing at TD Waterhouse USA, New York. "The Asian-Pacific group has been growing, and we've noticed an increase in the opportunity to gather more assets and accounts in that customer segment."


New this year were spots on local Asian-oriented cable and radio stations as well as print ads in the major national Chinese-American newspapers. A direct mail piece dropped Jan. 9 to 30,000 TD Waterhouse customers. An e-mail went Jan. 12 to those direct mail recipients who have opted in to receive e-mail messages from TD Waterhouse.


"When you layer e-mail with direct, it just strengthens the response," Schell said.


Chinese New Year, the Year of the Monkey, begins Jan. 22.


TD Waterhouse has conducted mail campaigns tied to Chinese New Year for six years targeting customers at five branches in New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles with significant Chinese-American populations. This year, TD Waterhouse expanded its mailing to Chinese-American customers at 75 branches surrounding those five branches. One reason it did so was to reach Chinese-Americans who might speak English.


The four-panel postcard mailer is written in Chinese and English.


"Most of the Chinese-Americans are not American-born, and they prefer to speak Chinese at home," Schell said. "But very few marketers are talking to them in their language. Being culturally relevant and in-language makes it that much more meaningful to them."


The front of the postcard says, "Plan Now for the Year Ahead to take Advantage of this Golden Opportunity." It shows a picture of a gold pendant with a monkey emblazoned on it, a toll-free phone number and a Web site. The mail piece was personalized with the recipient's name.


Chinese New Year is a "time when people get their house in order, clean out the old and bring in the new," Schell said. "It's also an opportunity to get your financial investments in order and look toward the future."


Inside, recipients received more details about the premium. It reads, "TD Waterhouse welcomes the Year of the Monkey with gifts of good fortune for you." It explains that if a recipient opens a new account at TD Waterhouse, makes a new deposit to an existing account or refers a friend who opens a new account and makes a deposit from Jan. 5 to Feb. 28, they will get a 24-karat gold pendant or a glass monkey.


Customers who deposit $8,888 or more receive a hand-blown glass monkey. Customers who deposit $38,888 or refer a friend who opens an account for $38,888 get a 2.8-gram gold pendant, and customers who deposit $78,888 or refer someone who deposits $78,888 get a 6.8-gram gold pendant.


The number 8 was used so frequently in the deposit amounts because "eight is a very lucky number in the Chinese culture," Schell said. "This fits in with the idea of the new year, good luck and good wishes."


The pendants feature a "cartoonish-looking monkey," Schell said, "because we found that our customers give the pendants to their children or grandchildren as gifts."


TD Waterhouse has offered the pendant each year to reflect the Chinese New Year character.


There was no business reply card. The calls to action were the toll-free number and the company's Web site. Customers can sign up online, via telephone or in person at any of TD Waterhouse's 180 branches nationwide.


Kang & Lee Advertising, a Young & Rubicam/WPP company, created the campaign. It was TD Warehouse's first campaign with the company.


Cynthia Park, executive vice president and managing partner at Kang & Lee, said more marketers have begun unique communication programs to address Asian-American consumer segments.


"Asian-Americans have the highest median household income of any group, the highest level of education of all groups and one of the highest rates of entrepreneurial activity," she said. "Because they are highly concentrated in key geographic regions of the country, they can be reached in a cost-efficient manner to achieve a strong return on investment."


Moreover, she said, advertising to Chinese-Americans during the new year "conveys recognition and respect for the culture of these consumers and is, therefore, an annual mechanism for companies active in these markets to strengthen their relationships in these segments."


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