Sky-High Stakes in Hong Kong’s Out of Home Arms Race

Dsc04043Mediation is on tour in Australasia for a few weeks.  whilst on it’s first stop in Hong Kong it noticed this little poster for Calvin Klein’s Steel range.  towering above the island’s Central district, the building wrap dwarfs many of the surrounding buildings and can be seen not only from much of the island but also from Kowloon across the harbour.

it’s typical of the predominance of outdoor in the territory…  from the biggest billboards to the depths of the underground, posters in a multitude of shapes and forms are everywhere.  in Mediation’s native UK, shopfronts tell the story of what’s available inside – but in the visual arms race of Hong Kong you need to shout a lot louder, and higher.

this prevalence of outdoor tells us much about media consumption in the area…  for a massively dense and highly mobile population it’s no doubt a very effective medium.

but it also tells us much about the cultural differences between Hong Kong and the UK.  big building wraps like the above have occasionally been available in London – County Hall and Trafalgar Square’s Nelson’s column come to mind – but it’s difficult to imagine a 50ft crotch being put on display; the applications in London were as much about the suitability of a brand to the city’s culture and community as much as about how much a brand was prepared to pay for the space.  commercially is simply not as big a factor as sensitivity to conservative public tastes.

the above building wrap would cause a public outcry in London.  not so in Hong Kong…  where the bustling life of the city continues seemingly oblivious to the Calvin Klein model towering above them.  in the city’s outdoor arms race, the stakes have been raised.  I’m not entirely sure how much further they could go…

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