Alibaba Group appointed Blue 449, previously known as Optimedia, as its media agency in mainland China. The remit covers media planning across all traditional and digital media for Alibaba's major properties including Tmall, Taobao and Youku.
This is the first time Alibaba named an agency for comprehensive media planning domestically.
Blue 449 has been carrying out work for the client since May this year (such as campaigns for Taobao Maker Festival and Tmall Genie X1 smart speaker) after it won a pitch against WPP, Dentsu Aegis Network and Omnicom Media Group. It is only officially announcing the appointment now as the agency has been clarifying its scope of work for the past three months.
Blue 449 won a piece of overseas media work for Alibaba last year, while this win is for work within mainland China. "The Blue449 team always provides strong support for our media strategy with their specialised knowledge, smart performance and open-source capabilities," said Mary Zhou, head of media for Alibaba Group.
Alibaba, being both a media owner and also media investor, conducts media buying on its own, so the scope does not include generally voluminous media trading.
Vivian Zhu, CEO of Blue 449 China, told Campaign that trading is only one part of the agency's "transforming" business model. "Brand-building and consultation is another part which we are very excited about, especially with giant brands like Alibaba," she said.
Blue 449's media-planning win is separate from the data partnership struck at the higher Publicis Groupe level with Alibaba this June for what it described as "uni marketing". "We are proud of the deep relationship though," Zhu added.