Foot Locker, ASICS Launch Collection With ‘Shoppable’ Animated Series

Foot Locker and ASICS announced a partnership to launch its “Welcome to the Dojo” apparel and footwear collection, which taps into the sportswear brand’s Japanese roots. The brand tells the “story” behind the collection through a campaign featuring a digital anime series, engaging viewers through content and giving them a chance to purchase the pack directly.

The five-episode anime-inspired series of short videos—collectively titled The Sun and The Snake—will premiere on Foot Locker’s YouTube and Instagram channels on August 21, three days ahead of “Welcome to the Dojo” pack launch. Each video will also be “shoppable,” meaning that viewers can purchase the apparel or footwear directly from the platforms in addition to Foot Locker, Footaction and Champs Sports stores.

The digital anime series follows the story of two competing dojos—martial arts training centers—and an aspiring samurai hero who has his ASICS shoes stolen while he is busy training. The “Sneaker Samurai” who embarks on a journey to recover his shoes is voiced by fashion model and entrepreneur Luka Sabbat, with additional supporting characters played by rappers Princess Nokia and YFN Lucci.

In a statement, Foot Locker general manager and chief merchandising officer Andrew Gray said, “At Foot Locker, we’re dedicated to driving culture, individuality and sport style. By launching this exclusive collection and original series with ASICS, we’re offering an immersive experience for customers across our family of brands, who can experience ‘Welcome to the Dojo’ through creative, engaging content and unique shopping touchpoints.”

In addition to the exclusive deal with ASICS, Foot Locker is also partnering with other lifestyle brands to create unique shopping experiences. In August, it hosted a “Rewind to the 90s” pop-up shop featuring New Balance products, which gave Los Angeles shoppers a chance to jump back to the pre-internet era.

Volkswagen’s ‘Electrify America’ Launches Unbranded Electric Car Campaign

Volkswagen launched its Electrify America division this week with a mission to promote the growth of electric cars. The company was formed as part of the emissions scandal settlement where the carmaker agreed to invest $2 billion over 10 years to educate consumers about electric vehicles (EVs) and promote their use while building its infrastructure across The United States. But the catch is, the initiative isn’t allowed to promote or directly benefit its parent brand.

Electrify America kicked off with the “JetStones” radio, TV and digital ad campaign using theme songs from The Flintstones and The Jetsons Hanna-Barbera cartoons to compare how gas-engine cars are from the Stone Age and the electric cars are the future. The unbranded video features vehicles from several automakers without naming anyone specifically and shows how performance from electric cars compare to their gas-fueled counterparts. In fact, the specific car used in the debut ad happens to be a Chevy Bolt.

The ad was created as part of a $45 million public awareness initiative and is the first step in the “Plug Into the Present” integrated campaign. A press release states that the video spot is just the start of how the initiative will demonstrate electric car features in an effort to grow their public appeal. This approach will ultimately benefit all electric car manufacturers, including VW rivals such as GM and Ford.

Despite the Jetsons theme, the company’s goal is to establish that electric cars are the present, with high accessibility, not a product from the far-off future. Electrify America is also promoting the growth of the electric fast-charging network which has stations in major cities and other high-traffic areas. Volkswagen is prohibited from adopting any kind of charging standard that keeps other EV brands from using them.

Olay Partners With Influencers For ‘Face Anything’ Campaign

Olay launched its new Face Anything campaign on Monday with a message of being true to oneself, partnering with influencers to reach a wide audience.

Face Anything is a multi-channel cause marketing campaign that encourages women to be “unapologetically” themselves. A 10-page spread in the September issue of Vogue features nine women including gold medalist Aly Raisman, plus-size model Denis Bidot, comedian Lilly Singh and others—each sharing a quality that they have been told was too much of, such as “too strong” or “too outspoken.” Embracing these qualities, each woman is pictured with the word “too” crossed out.

Several Instagram creators including Hunter McGrady have begun a 28-day Olay skincare routine using a custom bundle of products provided by the brand. Each influencer will share their results on social media before joining the campaign’s other models for a makeup-less walk down the runway at New York Fashion Week. Out-of-home ads in New York City’s Times Square and the Grand Central train station will invite consumers to join the challenge.

Face Anything also opens up about diversity, mental illness, vulnerability, ambition and being driven, but mentions nothing about the quality or appearance of a woman’s skin.

“Just remember that you know your truth, don’t let anyone rewrite your story,” Raisman says in the campaign.

Olay’s Face Anything campaign is unrelated to Smashbox Cosmetics’ marketing efforts using the same slogan.

Depicting women in diverse and natural forms has become a trend in the beauty industry as public views change and younger generations value individuality over social conventions. Glossier tapped into this self-affirming movement with its Body Hero campaign last September. The print and social campaign featured a diverse range of models, all appearing in the nude.

Building self-esteem in women and girls has also become an issue that beauty brands are tackling head-on. Unilever brand Dove partnered with Cartoon Network earlier this year to encourage body confidence through the show Steven Universe.

Evolving ideas about what it means to be beautiful are shaping the way brands approach their marketing strategies. In a Cannes Lions presentation, chief digital officer of L’Oreal Lubomira Rochet said that YouTube and other digital platforms helped democratize beauty and tell brands what they want.

One thing consumers seem to want is self-expression, and beauty products are simply a tool to accomplish this. A 2017 study by BeautyCon Media found that 81 percent of respondents between the ages of 13-34 believed beauty is not about products, but about cultural expression.

Trojan’s ‘Trojan Man’ Character Rebooted As Modern, Open-Minded Guru

Trojan Brand Condoms has been looking to connect with younger audiences by presenting itself as more than a contraception maker. and more recently, the brand has been positioning itself as a sexual health educator. With that in mind, today, Trojan relaunched its signature Trojan Man campaign by revising the character as a sex guru, ready to explore all aspects of sexuality and offer advice.

In a statement, Trojan vice president of marketing, Bruce Weiss said, “Since his introduction over 20 years ago, Trojan Man became famous as this interruptive, gloved hand who showed up with the goods when you really needed him. This led us to ask, who is the man beyond the sleeve? Turns out he’s a sex-positive, sensual adventurer. A modern guy who is open to anything, but always has an eye on protection and shares his knowledge and humor to inspire others.”

The character has come a long way since its initial introduction as a superhero’s gloved hand 20 years ago. In fact, the character has never had a face associated with it until now. Where the original Trojan Man campaign relied upon an interjecting hypermasculine voiceover that very simply offered a product to solve intimate issues various commercial couples—the new Trojan Man is portrayed as an open-minded, calm guru offering advice. He now acts as a guide in this “Big Sexy World,” dispensing wisdom from his mountaintop base.

Trojan Man’s return could mark a new era for the company as it engages with millennials in the era of Tinder. The digital campaign launched with a series of YouTube videos, where characters approach Trojan Man with sexual questions and are given humorous advice while being encouraged to practice safe sex at the same time.

The accompanying social campaign introduces the revised character to the world. Instagram posts include quick quotes from the guru, including “A confident explorer is a prepared explorer. Think about it.” The social campaign also highlights different aspects of Trojan Man’s lifestyle, including his gong, xylophone, golden robe and others.

According to the press release, the campaign “comes at a time when the world truly needs an advocate for safe and pleasurable sexual exploration.” Following this theme, Trojan Man is presented as the embodiment of modern sex, which rejects labels and stereotypes while embracing sexual curiosity.

Some other recent educational initiatives from Trojan include partnering with the Advocates for Youth nonprofit group in for the “Consent. Ask For It.” campaign that seeks to educate sexually active college students about the facts of sexual assault by normalizing conversations about it. The brand has also sought to remove the social stigma related to safe sex by marketing its products to women who might feel uncomfortable purchasing condoms, and it has actively supported the LGBTQ community.


Stella Artois Releases 20-Minute Guided Meditation For Beer Sipping

Taking inspiration from popular meditation apps, Stella Artois has created a 20-minute audio guide called Stellaspace, which outlines in detail the “art of beer sipping.” Narrated by actor Luke Evans, the guide is available through Inscape’s meditation app to help drinkers sit back and truly enjoy the beverage.

“People today are busier than ever before, and this can often get in the way of enjoying some of the more simple pleasures in life, like a cold beer with friends,” said Stella Artois vice president Harry Lewis, speaking with AList. “There are all kind of mindfulness tools out there to keep you present but we noticed there was nothing to help you fully enjoy a beer.”

The company states that 20 minutes is, in fact, the optimal amount of time to enjoy the beverage, as recommended by its beer expert Master Ciceron Max Bakker. The guide combines Evans’ voice, personality and witty anecdotes with modern meditation techniques and is meant to be enjoyed with friends.

“We know that life tends to get in the way of enjoying these simple pleasures and our mission is to help bring more enjoyment to the limited time people do have,” Lewis explained. The 20-minute time frame not only allows drinkers to “fully appreciate” the beer, but it also encourages people to slow down and savor each sip.

He added that the experience was created to engage millennial drinkers, who value mindfulness, relaxation and self-care, as demonstrated by the rise of adult coloring books, meditation studios and more.

“Knowing that these consumers are our target audience, we want to play a role by providing a way to help people rethink how they enjoy a Stella Artois,” he said.

To create a greater sense of authenticity while incorporating meditative expertise, Stella decided to partner with Inscape and launch the experience through its app instead of as a podcast or on a self-branded app. Lewis said that Stella was impressed with Inscape’s approach toward merging traditional meditation techniques with modern technology.

“By hosting Stellaspace within the Inscape app we’re able to help ensure part of that balance is taking time to enjoy a beer with friends,” said Lewis. “Beyond Inscape we’re promoting the experience through proactive public relations, via our collaboration with narrator and slow-sipping expert Luke Evans, as well as ongoing influencer efforts aimed at inspiring people to join us in Stellaspace and think differently about how they enjoy a Stella Artois.”

The Stellaspace experience is part of the larger “Joie de Bière” brand campaign, which launched in April with a “Les Pockets” ad spot. Lewis said that it was inspired by the European sentiment “Joie de Vivre” or “the enjoyment of life.” Its mission is to help bring enjoyment to people using Stella Artois’ established sense of wit, charm and sophistication.

This Week’s Exec Shifts: Kanopy Hires CMO; RE/MAX, Barcardi, NBCUniversal Telemundo Make Marketing Promotions

This week, Kanopy hires CMO from gaming industry, RE/MAX makes a marketing promotion, and executive moves happen at Bacardi, NBCUniversal Telemundo, BNY Mellon, Lawry’s Restaurants and more.

Check out our careers section for executive job openings and to post your own staffing needs.

Kanopy Hires New CMO

On-demand digital video streaming platform Kanopy has hired Sarah Anderson as chief marketing officer. In this role, Anderson will oversee planning and execution for all of the company’s brand, marketing, advertising, publicity, social and promotional activity for the company, which caters to libraries around the world. Prior to joining Kanopy, Anderson served as senior vice president of marketing for 2K Games, in addition to Sega of America and Egreetings Network.

RE/MAX Senior Promotion

Real estate network RE/MAX announced the promotion of Abby Lee to Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communication. Lee was previously vice president of marketing and media strategies and will continue overseeing advertising campaigns across the US in addition to leading marketing, communications, public relations and social media groups at the company.

Bacardi CMO Role Expands To Vodka Brand

Bacardi Limited announced that Lee Applbaum, the company’s global chief marketing officer of Patrón Spirits, is expanding his role to lead global marketing for Grey Goose vodka. Applbaum will develop Grey Goose’s global marketing strategies, which include brand equity, architecture, advertising, brand communications, experiential and more. At the same time, he will continue to oversee the Patrón Spirits portfolio, directing “all global integrated marketing efforts across creative, media, public relations, innovation, and experiential activation in more than 100 countries,” according to a press release.

Kroger Updates VP Marketing Role

Cincinnati-based supermarket chain Kroger has named current vice president of Our Brands, Gil Phipps, to the role of vice president of branding, marketing and Our Brands. Phipps has been with the company since 2012, evolving the Our Brands division by updating current brands and introducing new ones to drive customer loyalty and sales. The new position goes into effect on August 15.

NBCUniversal Telemundo EVP Adds CMO Role

NBCU Telemundo announced four senior appointments, including Mónica Gil, who has been named executive vice president and chief marketing officer for NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises. In this role, she will drive the company’s reputation, brand and corporate marketing while overseeing functions across communications, corporate affairs and human resources. Gil has served as an executive vice president at NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises since 2017, and was the senior vice president and general manager for multicultural growth and strategy at Nielsen prior to that.

BNY Mellon Hires First CMO

The Bank of New York Mellon Corporation announced the appointment of Brenda Tsai as chief marketing officer. She most recently served as vice president and global head of strategic communications and marketing at FactSet, a financial data and software company. Tsai has also led marketing teams at GE Capital, Procter & Gamble and Clorox. In the newly created position, which began on August 6, she will use her experience to drive client-focused global marketing with an emphasis on digital marketing through technology and research.

Bethesda Appoints European Marketing Director

Video game publisher Bethesda Softworks hired Sean Ratcliffe to serve as its new European marketing and PR director. Based out of the company’s London office, Ratcliffe replaces Sarah Seaby, who is leaving the position to take personal time. Prior to joining Bethesda, Ratcliffe served in various marketing and PR roles at companies, with the most recent being Rovio, maker of Angry Birds. Others include Electronic Arts, Disney Interactive Studios, Sega of America and Konami.

Esports Mogul Names Marketing Chief

Esports media and software company, Esports Mogul, announced that Marian Kaufmann has joined as chief marketing officer. His responsibilities will include leading marketing activities for the company’s flagship tournament platform Mogul Arena. Kaufmann previously served as an online marketing specialist for the technology company Razer, and was most recently the marketing head for AVADO Learning, a professional learning and consulting company.

Lawry’s Names CMO

Ryan O’Melveny Wilson, who most recently served as Lawry’s Restaurants vice president and executive chef, has been named as the group’s global chief marketing and strategy officer. In this role, he is tasked with revitalizing the 80-year-old brand while leading Lawry’s marketing, product and business activities in addition to managing its international licenses. Wilson’s career at Lawry’s spans 15 years and his uncle, Richard Frank, is CEO and chairman.

Cruise Line Appoints Marketing VP

Windstar Cruises announced that Mary Beth Wressell has been hired to serve as the company’s vice president of marketing and public relations. Wressell will be responsible for the company’s brand communications, digital marketing, customer relationship marketing, partnerships and public relations.

Home Vision Test Service Appoints New CMO

EyeQue, an at-home vision test company, has hired Datta Nadkarni as its first chief marketing officer. In this role, he will lead the company’s global marketing efforts as it expands internationally, with a focus on driving adoption.

FTX Hires Marketing Head As It Promotes CEO

FTX Games, which publishes games based on popular movie and television IPs, has hired Kathy Bricaud as its head of marketing. She takes over marketing responsibilities from Casey Dickinson, who was promoted from general manager and vice president of publishing to chief executive officer.

PepsiCo Names New CEO

Beverage and snack giant PepsiCo announced the appointment of Ramon Laguarta as its new chief executive officer. She succeeds Indra K. Nooyi, who is stepping down from the role on October 3 after a 24-year career at the company, but she will continue to serve as chairman until sometime in early 2019 to help with the transition. Laguarta, who most recently served as president of PepsiCo, has been with the company for 22 years.

Editor’s Note: Our weekly careers post is updated daily. This installment will be updated until Friday, August 10. Have a new hire tip? We’re looking for senior executive role changes in marketing and media. Let us know at

Job Vacancies 

VP, Brand Marketing NBCUniversal New York, NY
Head of Performance Marketing Strategy Uber San Francisco, CA
VP, Brand Marketing Aéropostale New York, NY
Head of Lifecycle Marketing Dropbox San Francisco, CA
VP, Marketing  Disney Burbank, CA
Head of Integrated Marketing, Fire TV Amazon Seattle, WA

Make sure to check back for updates on our Careers page.

Millennial Shoppers Turned Off By Traditional Marketing, Study Shows

With giants such as Amazon gaining an ever-stronger presence in the retail space, brick-and-mortar stores have a lot to be worried about. But a study conducted by Euclid, which surveys 1,500 consumers in the US, shows that it’s not all necessarily doom and gloom. In fact, the report finds that understanding current shopping habits, particularly those of millennials, may be the key to adapting retail brands and their marketing approach to current and future shoppers.

The report found three major trends in the retail space—the first being that new buying models, particularly subscription boxes, are changing the way consumers think about stores. Secondly, the millennial generation is turned off by traditional marketing and third, there’s a growing sense of channel agnosticism, meaning that shoppers are generally open to regularly using multiple channels.

To address these trends, the report explains that retailers need to reduce friction for shoppers while using a variety of channels to provide blended experiences to a broad group of consumers. Shoppers respond to creative, distinctive and playful offerings that differentiate brands from the competition.

Specifically, Euclid found that pop-up stores were effective at drawing in shoppers, and they work both within established retail spaces or as standalone locations. The former offers novelty that will enliven the brand for consumers. The fear of missing out acts as a strong driver for people to get out and go shopping. The study found that 38 percent of people who shopped online each week would check out a pop-up store. Additionally, 50 percent of subscription box users and 29 percent of traditional brick-and-mortar shoppers said the same.

“The concepts of personalization, convenience and connection are central to the millennial buyer—and that’s apparent in this demographic’s expectations, preferences and opinions on their retail experiences,” states the report.

Compared to Baby Boomers and Gen Xers, millennials are the most channel agnostic, and have no problem with switching between online and physical stores, or combining both, as their needs require. About one in three use a subscription service, showing a strong preference for this shopping model while most Boomers and Gen Xers still relied on in-store shopping.

There are two main drivers that get millennials out to stores, the first being group shopping with friends and family, indicating that the group seeks immersive and shared experiences. At the same time, millennials are far more likely to shop online to pick items up from the store for quick get-in/get-out experiences, which benefits retail brands that offer these services on their web pages or apps.

Additionally, millennials regard marketing as a turn-off, not a draw. According to the study, “Advertising isn’t a needle-mover for millennials the way it is for other generational demographics.”

For 53 percent of Baby Boomers and 40 percent of Gen Xers, an ad showing an item they want is enough to warrant a store visit, but less than a third of millennials said the same. Millennials also generally don’t care for email marketing, but that trend crosses generations, with about half of respondents from other groups stating that they would unsubscribe from a brand if they received too many messages.

In order to effectively reach millennials, brands need to offer a blend of technology, personalization and price. Price is the strongest motivating factor, and brands can couple digital coupons with outreach to establish millennial engagement. All three groups said that they would like to see stronger technology integration and curation to help them find the products that best serve their needs, suggesting that projects such as Alibaba’s New Retail Strategic Opportunities fund might have a future in the US.

Thoughts? Continue the conversation at @alistdaily.

MillerCoors Abandons Two Hats Beer Brand; Unable To Attract Millennial Tastes

After just six months of marketing heavily to millennial drinkers with its youth-focused Two Hats brand, MillerCoors decided to pull the plug on the self-described “good cheap beer.” It seems, despite an aggressive “Wait, What?” digital campaign that leveraged influencers across YouTube, Snapchat and Instagram, the brewery was unable to impress millennials, who are drinking fewer alcoholic beverages overall.

Those who do drink generally show a far greater preference for spirits and wine—consuming about 42 percent of all wine in the US in 2015 according to a report from Wine Spectator—the latter of which has been marketed as inexpensive, fun and even health-conscious beverages.

MillerCoors launched Two Hats in February, specifically targeting 21- to 24-year-old consumers who think that beer is too expensive and doesn’t taste very good. This demographic has been particularly difficult for the beer industry to engage with compared to older generations. Beer consumption for this audience has fallen by 3 percent over the past 15 years, but the company felt that it was imperative to reach out, as they will comprise about 40 percent of legal-age drinkers by 2020.

To address this audience, MillerCoors collaborated with alumni from The Remix Project, a Chicago-based incubator program, to help adjust the tone of the campaign. Using the message, “Good cheap beer is coming… so stop your wine-ing,” MillerCoors launched a campaign that relied heavily on digital, influencer, social and experiential marketing to reach drinkers on mobile phones, tablets, streaming devices and gatherings such as music festivals, street fairs and sporting events.

The campaign included content such as shareable memes and gifs on social media platforms, including College Humor, Facebook and Instagram. In total, the company said that its campaign included over 200 short spots developed in partnership with Spotify, Snapchat, YouTube, BleacherReport and The Onion.

Its debut videos on YouTube featured the spectacular destruction of wine bottles, shots and mixed drinks in an effort to encourage young consumers to try beer. The brewer also partnered with influencers, including Scotty Sire and Zane Hijazi, who made branded videos and Instagram posts, in addition to planning a video series with College Humor that was estimated to reach 29 million viewers. Meanwhile, social media posts leveraged occasions ranging from Earth Day to LGBT Pride Month and first job scenarios.

On the experiential side, MillerCoors invested in a large-scale sampling campaign to try to get millennial drinkers to switch over to beer. Partnering with Spotify, the company hosted tasting parties featuring musicians such as Shallou, who played alongside a string quartet.

This extensive campaign seemed to be working at first, with the company reporting in April that Snapchat engagements were higher than the industry average and consumers were watching branded YouTube videos two times longer than average. However, the run ended in August after the company reported both volume and profit declines in its second quarter. Two Hats will be removed from stores by 2019.

Although MillerCoors will continue to reach out to young drinkers in the future, it decided to focus its spending and attention on its Coors Light and Miller Lite brands, both of which appeal to an older demographic, in addition to the Mexican import beer Sol. But, perhaps all adult beverages should be worried about losing young drinkers, as the generation after millennials may end up with a preference for cannabis over alcohol after more states decriminalize the substance.

Thoughts? Continue the conversation at @alistdaily.

On Brand: Unilever’s Aline Santos On The Importance Of Brand Purpose

When 2.5 billion consumers use and trust your products each day, it is a brand’s responsibility to be mindful of how it shapes the world around it. This is a core ideal for consumer goods company Unilever.

Aline Santos, global executive vice president of marketing and head of diversity and inclusion at Unilever told AList that the proof is in the results. She explains that when the company employed non-stereotypical ads, they yielded 25 percent more branded impact.

Brand purpose is a fundamental element [of marketing],” said Santos. “If you have a brand that does not have a purpose, people are not going to be interested in talking about stain removal for long—you have to have something behind stain removal to talk about. Purpose is the biggest enabler for us to create content that people seek out.”

After a year of implementing a purpose-driven marketing strategy, Unilever decided to share the information with others. Introduced in 2017, the UnStereotype Alliance includes brands like Unilever, Johnson and Johnson and Proctor and Gamble—companies that normally don’t “sit together,” but unite under a shared goal.

Today, Unilever has a new goal for itself—to change stereotypes not just in advertisements but in the content it supports with advertising dollars. The company has also presented a number of Hollywood studios and producers with the opportunity to co-create “unstereotyped” content. This way, Santos explained, the company would feel more comfortable investing advertising dollars in content that shares its marketing values.

Dove, for example, signed a three-year partnership with Cartoon Network and animated show Steven Universe in April. The partnership includes six animated short films that focus on self-esteem and body confidence.

“More and more, our consumers are moving from TV and interruption advertising into something else that they can curate. We want to be part of this content in a way that is more progressive.”

Starbucks And Alibaba Partner For Integrated Coffee Delivery Service In China

Starbucks and Chinese retail and tech conglomerate Alibaba Group announced the formation of a strategic partnership to create a coffee delivery service in China. With pilot programs launching in Beijing and Shanghai in September, the initiative will leverage partners such as the on-demand food delivery platform while “Starbucks Delivery Kitchens” are planned across Hema supermarkets for order fulfillment.

Ultimately, the two will expand the delivery service to cover 30 cities and 2,000 stores by the end of the year in addition to using Alibaba’s network of brands—including Tmall, Taobao and Alipay—to establish a virtual Starbucks store for personalized online experiences.

In a statement, Starbucks Coffee Company CEO and president Kevin Johnson said, “Thanks to the elevated customer experience delivered by our over 45,000 partners, Starbucks is growing and innovating faster in China than anywhere else in the world. Our transformational partnership with Alibaba will reshape modern retail, and represents a significant milestone in our efforts to exceed the expectations of Chinese consumers.”

With this program, customers will be able to buy beverages using either the Starbucks app or Alibaba’s suite of mobile apps, which include Taobao, Alipay, Tmall and Koubei. Additionally, customers will be able to send coffees to friends and loved ones through the “Say It With Starbucks” social gifting platform, and plans are underway to integrate the Starbucks Rewards program into all systems.

In combination with other initiatives, the partnership with Starbucks is another step in Alibaba’s broader New Retail plans to reshape China’s retail market by merging online and offline platforms.

The New Retail Strategic Opportunities fund was launched in 2016 and has been making strides in transforming retail using artificial intelligence and other technologies. For example, it partnered with clothing brand Guess in July to launch an AI-driven concept fashion store in Hong Kong.

Alibaba has also been investing heavily into out-of-home, putting $2.23 billion into Focused Media, a company that operates outdoor digital screens in Singapore, Hong Kong and China. The company currently claims to reach 200 million Chinese consumers across 300 cities with plans to grow that number to 500 million people in 500 cities.

The e-commerce giant also put $867 million into the physical home goods and DIY retail store chain Beijing Easyhome Furnishings in February, making it the fourth major investment it made into brick-and-mortar type retail stores. The other three include hypermarket (mega-sized big box stores) operator Sun Art, the InTime shopping malls and rival offline electronics retail giant Suning.