By Patrick Avenell
If you can't be them, headhunt their best operators – that's the mantra driving Changhong as it looks to increase sales and awareness of its new TV range.
In its native China, Changhong is a force to be reckoned with, but as with fellow compatriots Haier, Hisense and Pangoo, it has failed to make the sort of impact on the local market as the Japanese and Korean brands before them.
In an effort to replicate the early 2000s successes of LG and Samsung, Changhong has appointed Gordon Bruce as its new chairman of global design. Bruce was formerly a head designer at Samsung, so he knows about TV buzz words like 3D, Smart TV, LED and Ultra Slim Bezel. Naturally, these are all features on Changhong's new 7000 Series 55-inch TV (3D55A7000i, RRP $1,799).
There's also a slightly smaller, more affordable version available at 47 inches (3D47A7000i, RRP $1,299).
For onlookers ever wondering why the Chinese are taking so long to establish themselves in the Australian psyche, consider this: when LG Electronics began making inroads at the turn of the millennium, it had a $60 million annual marketing budget. Members of the marketing team at that time have told me they actually ran out of things to buy with that amount.
None of the Chinese brands in Australia have such deep pockets but they are starting to make some moves. Hisense has its Sharks and Arena while Haier is back buying media for another wave of the award-winning "Live a Haier Life" campaign. Changhong is also doing its bit, with a new TV commercial about to air over the summer months.
Insiders at Changhong have also said there will be print, online, point-of-sale and social media activity. Amusingly, one of them sent me an email explaining the strategy with the following call to arms: "Give Chinese brands a go!".
Changhong's new 55-inch Smart TV. Features include passive 3D, 2D-to-3D conversion, web browsing via Wi-Fi, DLNA and a 5-year warranty. The bezel is 10.9 millimetres thick.