In Bulgari’s new brand film, “Unexpected Wonders,” a journey to discover a miracle begins in the eternal city of Rome. Flowers, sunshine, jewelry, and beauty: The dreamlike visuals are a collaboration between Bulgari and the renowned Italian director and Academy Award winner Paolo Sorrentino — known for both hyper-realistic and surrealistic shooting styles.
In the video, the house’s global ambassadors, Anne Hathaway and Zendaya, wear the Bulgari High Jewelry collection as they explore new and exciting horizons, revealing the power and diversity of women. But what’s behind “Unexpected Wonders,” and why is it winning hearts in China?
Here, Jing Daily explores how “Unexpected Wonders” is helping the internationally acclaimed brand accelerate its global presence and analyzes how its ambitions in China continue to unfold.
“Unexpected Wonders” in the Eternal City, Rome
Rome is known as the “Eternal City.” Thousands of years of cultural heritage, the glory of the Roman Empire, and the supremacy of the Catholic Church all contribute to the eternal splendor of this ancient site. As one of the “protagonists” in Bulgari’s campaign, Rome is also home — the company was founded there in 1884 by the talented Greek silversmith Sotirio Bulgari.
Since then, the now 138-year-old Roman jewelry maison has drawn inspiration from the historical and architectural treasures of this timeless city. From color codes to the combination of geometric elements, Bulgari expresses the spirit of Rome through its creations and storytelling.
In “Unexpected Wonders,” Anne Hathaway and Zendaya travel together to Bulgari’s birthplace to bask in its breathtaking scenery. Together, they marvel at the difference in sunlight, dance through a magnificent palace, and bathe in a romantic rain of flowers. In addition to showcasing Bulgari’s exquisite high jewelry collections, the film also invites the audience to fully appreciate the joy found in life’s smallest, simplest things. While it may not be difficult to find wonders in Rome, of course, the brand shows that even ordinary things can bring extraordinary pleasures.
How does the film facilitate Bulgari’s international reach?
Between the late 1950s and the early 1960s, Italy’s rapid economic development reached its peak. Rome became a go-to location for during this time for American movies, being lauded as “Hollywood on the Tiber.” Many of Rome’s famous streets, including Via Condotti, where Bulgari boutiques were located, became the world’s “living room” and famed celebrity meeting place.
As the city became increasingly glamorized on the silver screen, as did Bulgari. Its bright, colorful, and eclectic jewelry designs won the hearts of many elites and celebrities, including Elizabeth Taylor, Audrey Hepburn, Ingrid Bergman, Grace Kelly and many more. By forming relationships with these stars on- and off-screen, its international reputation grew. Business expansion in Europe and the US in the 1970s followed.
To date, Bulgari jewelry has been involved in more than 40 films, including “Never So Few” and “Mission Impossible.” This mutualistic relationship has naturally extended to the red carpet, with Bulgari jewelry seen at many international events, such as the Oscars, the Golden Globes, and the Cannes and Venice Film Festivals.
Bulgari jewelry has been involved in more than 40 films (swipe left). Photo: Bulgari
This latest project is a continuation of Bulgari’s legendary story of “jewelry on beauty,” which drives it to embark on a new international journey in a fresh era. Here, Anne Hathaway and Zendaya represent two types of feminine power: “Dare to lose yourself, then find yourself again” speaks of Hathaway’s maturity and authenticity, whereas “To travel without moving” shows Zendaya’s youth and vitality.
Indian-American actress Priyanka Chopra Jonas and the Blackpink singer Lisa also appear in the campaign, showcasing the resilience and versatility of glamorous women. With K-pop trending, Lisa speaks to the Asian market and is an important bridge for Bulgari to reach out to the Chinese market given her popularity there. Through this spokesperson (dubbed the “human Barbie” by Chinese adoring netizens), the maison is able to better engage with younger audiences.
Anne Hathaway, Zendaya, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, and Lisa from Blackpink featured in Bulgari’s campaign (swipe left). Photo: Bulgari
Bulgari’s China ambition
According to the “2021 Development Report of the Chinese Jewelry and Gems Industry,” published by the Gems and Jewelry Trade Association of China, the total size of the Chinese jewelry market set record sales of $107.6 (720 billion yuan) in 2021, an increase of 18 percent compared to $91 billion (610 billion yuan) in 2020. Therefore, there is no doubt that China is a key market that major international jewelry brands do not want to miss.
As such, Bulgari has been active in the Chinese market on all fronts. After announcing its partnership with JD Luxury last year, it officially entered Tmall Luxury Pavilion in April 2022 and became the first luxury brand to adopt the platform’s innovative flagship store model. Additionally, Bulgari joined hands with Tmall Hey Box to launch site-specific initiatives for 520 campaign, including the release of videos featured by Ding Yuxi and Chen Yuqi — which received an impressive 3.6 million views on Weibo.
The “Unexpected Wonders” film has also generated much discussion among Chinese social users. Two days before the official release of the film, Bulgari released four “teaser” videos on its official accounts on all major platforms, leading to much speculation about the film’s stars. After the official launch on May 24, the brand continued to engage social media by releasing a series of behind-the-scenes videos and other Easter eggs.
As of publication, the Weibo hashtag #UnexpectedWonders has racked up 7.6 million views. The video series has been viewed more than 428,000 times on Weibo and received a total of 83,000 likes on WeChat channels. Netizens exclaimed: “Divine beings in the same frame” and the comment “Let’s thank Bulgari together” was among the most liked.
In the fast-changing Chinese market, there is never a shortage of marketing gimmicks. However, as traffic comes and goes in tidal waves, only a long-term brand narrative will ensure luxury players reach their target consumers with authenticity. Whether it’s showcasing jewelry and watch masterpieces or conveying the brand’s spiritual and cultural narrative, Bulgari’s brand film perfectly fulfills its artistic and commercial mission.