Thanks to the Lunar New Year and China reopening its borders for the first time since 2020, this week’s seen a whirlwind of releases and activations. The beginning of a new year on the Chinese calendar has led brands to get nostalgic, working with familiar names to appeal to mainstream consumers at a time of family-oriented celebrations.
Taking advantage of people actively leaving their homes, it’s high-time for retail pop-ups in the mainland, such as Puma and Staffonly’s latest collaboration featuring Monopoly’s world-famous IP; the Shanghai Hao Market installation will run until January 15. And over at Shenzhen Vientiane World, Lululemon China joined forces with its brand ambassador Xiao Dou for a lantern installation for the New Year.
This week’s Collabs & Drops newsletter highlights two of the most exciting Year of the Rabbit co-branded releases: Barbie’s back with local couturier Guo Pei, and SK-II is the most recent name to work with household candy brand White Rabbit.
For the full verdict, see below and be sure to check out the full issue here.
GUO PEI X BARBIE
Date: January 22
Trend: Global x Local
The Verdict: Following the success of its 2022 Lunar New Year Barbie, couturier Guo Pei is back for a second round of celebrations for the Year of the Rabbit. Overall, we’ve seen an estimated reach of 3 million, but only 270 organic posts, which is down to mainstream press covering it, rather than consumers. The upcoming Barbie movie, set to be released in July 2023, is likely to contribute to the popularity. The collab item is already listed on StockX for over double the recommended retail price, implying that it is being viewed as an esteemed collectors’ item. That said, in 2022, only five Golden-Yellow Gown Barbie Dolls sold on the platform with the average sales price being $150 (1,000 RMB) — solid for Mattel Creations to connect to Chinese consumers, but not yet a blockbuster.
PUMA X STAFFONLY X MONOPOLY
Date: January 7
Trend: Sportswear x Local Streetwear x Nostalgic IP
The Verdict: Jumping on the relatable marketing tactic of nostalgia, Puma and Staffonly have joined hands with the familiar IP of Monopoly, a game that stirs fond memories for China’s millennials and Generation Z. The collaboration has been promoted via a photo-worthy pop-up in Shanghai’s Hao Market. As an athleisure line, it not only ticks the box of nostalgic merchandise, but also taps into streetwear popular among young demographics.
SK-II X WHITE RABBIT
Date: January 1
Trend: Beauty brand x Nostalgic IP
The Verdict: China’s beloved candy brand White Rabbit has been on a roll with collaborations over the past year, with this latest beauty drop following on from one with Coach in Q4 2022. It’s an instantly-familiar IP for Chinese households, enabling SK-II to extend its mainstream consumer base. According to an email from the brand, the limited-edition, co-branded bottle of PITERA Essence had over 550,000 consumer engagements on Douyin and Xiaohongshu within the first five days of the announcement. As SK-II strives to appeal to the masses rather than a niche audience, collaborating with a nationally-known name is a natural choice. Just like other mainland China releases such as Bobbi Brown x Monopoly (2022), or Olay’s bubble tea collab with Nayuki, tapping nostalgia works well in the beauty game.
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