Acorn’s Digital Services Division Adds Chef Works to Growing Roster of Brands

Today, Acorn International, Inc. (NYSE: ATV) announced that Acorn Digital Services has signed Chef Works to the lineup of brands that it represents in China. Chef Works is a global leader in culinary and hospitality apparel, serving some of the world’s top hotel brands, restaurants and culinary academies. Acorn Digital Services will provide Chef Works with social media and digital management services to help grow the value of its brand in China.

With a growing list of clients, Acorn Digital Services uses its expertise in social media, KOLs, and e-commerce to build brands and drive sales of our products, creating a real competitive advantage in the Chinese market.

Acorn Digital Services includes Acorn Entertainment and Acorn Streaming, which are Acorn’s social media management business and digital content business. The company’s goal is to help talent and brands capture yet-untapped value from the Chinese market through a variety of means, including endorsements, pay-to-view content, KOLs as well as e-commerce.

Social commerce is becoming a major force in e-commerce in China and leading brands like Chef Works recognize the need to stay at the forefront of marketing and branding in order to succeed. We’re excited about adding Chef Works to our brand portfolio and look forward to working with them on raising the visibility of their impressive brand in the Chinese market.

Hotel Guests Demand Sustainable Hospitality

Recently, I came across an article in Environmental Leader, Sustainable Hospitality on the Rise as Guest Demand Heightens.  It was so gratifying to read how hotel guests are demanding sustainable hospitality!

182376201In 2004, I financed and launched URBN Hotel, recognizing the serious pollution problem in China, and the need for sustainable solutions. Occupying a converted factory warehouse, URBN was China’s first carbon-neutral hotel and proudly uses recycled and locally-sourced materials. The hotel has earned multiple awards, including “Hotel with Lowest Carbon Theme Design” from <T+> Magazine and “China’s Best Environmental Hotel” from Voyage magazine.

In addition, Cachet Hotels & Resorts, our Hong Kong-based management company, is a socially responsible and innovative hospitality company. Cachet Hotels & Resorts participates in the Strawless Ocean initiative and has joined Bacardi and Lonely Whale, the award-winning non-profit dedicated to positively impacting the health of our oceans, in the global movement against single-use plastic. #TheFutureDoesntSuck was launched in July with a goal of permanently removing one billion single-use plastic straws by the year 2020.

I’m proud of Cachet’s efforts to further enhance sustainable hospitality and place social responsibility at the core of its business model.

 

Oak Lawn Marketing Opens New Shop Japan Store

20190417_SJSHOP_74Oak Lawn Marketing, long known for its direct marketing of home convenience, health, beauty, and wellness products and services, opened its first Shop Japan retail location on April 18. The new store is located in the Lalaport Shonan Hiratsuka shopping park in Hiratsuka City, Japan. With nearly 250 stores, the mall attracts approximately 13 million visitors annually and totaled sales of approximately 30.5 billion yen in 2017.

In recent years, Oak Lawn Marketing has expanded from its conventional core business of TV shopping and now operates across multiple shopping channels. Shop Japan is Oak Lawn Marketing’s proprietary lifestyle brand. The store includes a collection of our most popular products across multiple categories and gives consumers an opportunity to see the high-quality products and experience using them. 20190417_SJSHOP_91

The grand opening celebration included an appearance by Karina Maruyama, a former professional soccer player in Japan, who is also featured in some of our product advertising.

Over the years, Oak Lawn Marketing has adhered to a “Voice of Customer” concept, operating its own independent call center, listening attentively to its customers, and analyzing feedback to develop and improve products and services. This new retail location provides another opportunity to interact directly with our customers.

 

Acorn International Launches Influencer Development Business

The impact of social media “influencers” on digital media marketing is being felt across the globe, but the phenomenon is enormous in China. To capitalize on this growing digital marketing strategy, Acorn International has launched a local Chinese influencer facilitator business, called A-KOL (standing for “Acorn Key Opinion Leader,” with a key opinion leader being equivalent to a social media “influencer” in other parts of the world).

A-KOL is initially established to support other parts of Acorn’s broader business, such as Acorn Streaming, which monetizes digital content, and Acorn Products, which houses Acorn’s e-commerce business. A-KOL is distinct from Acorn’s core social media management business since A-KOL actually facilitates the development of local China influencers to optimize their ability to convert Acorn’s content and product sales.

In China, grassroots influencers, known as KOLs, have become a social media and e-commerce phenomenon, and a major part of B2C business activity now in China. Based on research from Frost and Sullivan, China’s internet KOL economy, which refers to all activities relating to the monetization of the KOLs’ influence and impact on their fans, grew at a CAGR of 181.5% from 2013 to 2017 and is expected to continue expanding at a CAGR of 41.8% from 2017 to 2022. Moreover, China’s market for internet KOL facilitators generated revenue of RMB38.8 billion in 2017 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 38.9% to RMB200.9 billion in 2022. Despite its size, the industry remains nascent, with many KOLs operating independently, or connected to small, unsophisticated KOL facilitation companies.

In line with Acorn International’s business model of combining social media management, content creation, and sales of its own, as well as third-party brands through e-commerce, various parts of Acorn frequently engage KOLs as part of its business growth. However, with this move, Acorn can now develop its own KOLs to support its business and capitalize on this emerging space.

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Honda Launches New UTVs at Sand Hollow Resort

Sand Hollow Resort hosted a media event for the all-new Honda Talon 1000 sport side-by-side lineup on March 4, 2019 at its Red Rock outdoor venue. After the product launch, attendees enjoyed a delicious catered dinner and blazing bonfires on the spectacular property.

hondaHonda chose Southern Utah’s picturesque landscapes  to launch their first sport UTVs and allow drivers to experience the thrilling terrain firsthand. The highlight of the event was the chance to test drive the two long-awaited UTVs — the Talon 1000R and the Talon 1000X — around the beautiful, rugged Southern Utah landscapes.

Sand Hollow is a favorite destination for sand sports and other outdoor adventures! The new Red Rock outdoor space is just one of Sand Hollow Resort’s event venue options and provided a spectacular backdrop for this product launch.

Japan’s King of the Infomercial

Recently, I was going through some old files and came across an article that appeared in the Chicago Tribune 20 years ago this month, “Japan’s King of the Infomercial.”  While a lot has changed over the past two decades, I still remember my 10-year-old self begging my father for the Popeil Pocket Fisherman I saw on TV…and by the way, I still consider myself  “just a punk from Chicago.”  

I hope you enjoy this throwback!

Acorn Entertainment Extends Into Fashion Brands

Earlier this week, Acorn Entertainment announced it had expanded its client base to include fashion brands following the addition of New York celebrity designer Jay Godfrey and Go FO, a faux fur collaboration between outwear maker Damiani and Playboy, to its roster of brands and celebrity talent looking to expand their presence in China.

Acorn Entertainment, a subsidiary of Acorn International (NYSE: ATV),  provides a full suite of online and offline, multi-channel and multimedia promotional services to individual celebrity talent as well as brand clients, primarily from the U.S., who seek to maximize their brands in China and increase their monetization ratios from social media engagement. AE’s goal is to help talent and brands capture yet-untapped value from the Chinese market through a variety of means, including endorsements, pay-to-view content, as well as e-commerce.

Brittany Li, who heads up Client Acquisition at Acorn Entertainment believes that China’s rapidly growing middle class embraces Western fashion and there is a lot of opportunity to build brand value for both Jay Godfrey and Go FO in ChinaJay Godfrey has already been active in the Chinese market over the years and his design aesthetic is inspired by the chic New York woman, and worn by celebrities like Taylor SwiftKim Kardashian, and Holland Roden, and will appeal to young women in urban areas. Go FO will appeal to this same demographic, where cruelty-free faux fur is increasingly being viewed as a chic alternative fashion.

Damiani notes that Go FO’s inspiration arises from a 65-year-old history of PLAYBOY being one of the most iconic brands in the world, including in China. Damiani NY’s Go FO collection was born from the belief that treating animals with care and respect is an integral part of our world and future. With Go FO in particular, as well as with our recent engagement in the global campaign to reduce single-use plastic, we recognize that good business is increasingly about giving back and doing the right thing.