Lionel Messi endorses WeChat, i.e. Weixin, i.e. the next Sina Weibo, as some people have called it on account of its functionality and interstellar growth. You can send texts for free (pending Internet connection), start group chats, and deliver photos and voice messages. And as Messi demonstrates in the above 30-second ad, you can communicate via video, too — Instagram, Sina Weibo, and Vine all in one.
I don’t want this to sound like an endorsement for Tencent, an ad upon an ad, because WeChat certainly doesn’t need any more publicity in China. The state-owned telecoms have already teamed up to get their powerful government friends to crack down on the freeness of WeChat’s services, because they feel threatened. But just know the company has big plans for international growth, and Messi will certainly help. What next, the Latin America market?
What’s best about tapping Messi as an endorser is it raises the stakes in China’s tech war, bringing it beyond the borders of this country and out of the reach of petty state-owned enterprise leaders who chuck feces at up-and-coming innovaters who challenge their monopolies. Messi may not have the impact that Michael Jordan did on Nike in the sneaker wars of the 1990s, but our hope is that he spurs Tencent’s great rival, Sina, which has international ambitions of its own, to try to top them. When companies compete, consumers win.
Youku video: behind the scenes of Messi ad.
(H/T Peter Lee)