Tales from the mall

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Olympic Mascots

Wandering around the Time Square complex in Causeway Bay yesterday gave me some food for thought:

  • Personal wellness here is big business – there is a couple of shops dedicated to mechanical massage machines. Some were like white leather lazy boy chairs, others looked like a foot bath. Add to that at least six shops that sold just a handful of skincare products including drinks (crossing the line into what would be considered OTC drugs in the UK), creams and other treatments
  • Electronics – HKG likes its TVs big, bigger than the UK. In mobile phones there was much more of a focus on feature phones rather than smart phones and the de-rigeur fashion accessory for the busy business executive is a leather mobile phone holster – nice…. Nokia has a huge presence as does Samsung under the Anycall brand
  • Brands – Causeway Bay is primarily providing shopping for the Asian locals rather than ex-pats so western sizes aren’t catered for. I couldn’t get a set of UK size 10 (US size 10 1/2, JP size 285) trainers in the four shops that I tried, let alone in the fly colourways that were available on the market here. If you are out here, its worthwhile checking out D-Mop in the Time Square centre for streetwear
  • Marketing – Some weirdness to the advertising here. HMV seems to only advertise in English and many other local brands only advertise in Chinese. It is the exception rather than the norm for dual copy ads. Chinese adverts use a lot of western models in the photography. Where there is an Asian model in beauty product pictures, her face is so made up that it looks very flat. I got lunch at a juice bar and all the packaging and signage was in English. Chinese speaking customers though welcome would not know that the clear plastic cup was made of corn starch and ‘good’ for the environment along with the rest of the packaging
  • Electronic payment – many of the main retailers including HMV and the cinema chains sell credit card-style gift vouchers on behalf of each other. I bought cinema tickets to go and see Blueberry Nights and there was a rack of cards from different retailers for sale. In addition, Octopus (the HKG version of Oyster) can be used as payment at the popcorn stand in the cinema
  • PR – PR is very different in HKG. Swarovski were launching a collection of crystal panda ornaments and had a bamboo-themed display in the lobby of the shopping centre. They did a launch which was five minutes of a blonde model holding the pandas, a speech by a Chinese gentleman and an over-excited Chinese lady. This merited six TV crews and a mass of reporters (I have an aerial shot of the press event here)

The picture on this posting is of the different Beijing Olympic mascots, there is a hoarding in the airport that shows the panda demonstrating shooting (an olympic sport) that I want to get hold of because he looks gangster :)