The Social Edition is our weekly series which deep dives into luxury initiatives in China’s social media landscape. Every week, we highlight brand campaigns distributed on Chinese digital platforms — WeChat, Weibo, Tmall, Douyin, and beyond.
Our coverage spotlights global luxury brands, global beauty brands, and local Chinese brands. The latter gives insight into some of China’s most successful campaigns, which often come from local players, and are outside of the beauty and fashion space.
In this week’s roundup, we look at three campaigns: from Burberry’s Chinese New Year campaign to Nike’s upcoming drop featuring Chinese street food culture.
Burberry Kicks Off Its Chinese New Year Campaign
PLATFORMS WeChat, Little Red Book
MEDIUM Imagery, Short-film, WeChat Mini Program
FEATURED TALENTS Liu Wen (25M Weibo Followers)
On December 28, the British luxury house Burberry rolled out its Chinese New Year campaign to celebrate the Year of the Ox. The campaign photos, starring Chinese supermodel Liu Wen, were shot by the established Chinese fashion photographer Feng Li. Drawing inspiration from the upcoming zodiac year, which is often represented by bulls or cows, the exclusive launch features bull prints on ready-to-wear collections, handbags, shoes, and accessories such as caps and scarfs. The products first became available on the brand’s WeChat boutique.
It seems that positive reactions to the campaign were mostly generated by Liu Wen’s star role and not the photoshoot or the brand’s featured products. The comment that received the most likes said that “the beauty of Liu Wen cannot save the absurdity of the campaign.” Many users on Little Red Book also ridiculed the bags for looking like cheap woven polypropylene.
Chinese New Year is one of the most significant traditional holidays and gifting occasions in China. And international luxury brands have been trying to utilize its cultural elements and symbols for decades with the hopes of resonating with local shoppers. However, using animal characters in product designs while maintaining a consistent luxury brand image is always challenging. Burberry’s Chinese New Year campaign for 2019 stirred criticism on China’s social platforms due to its “weird and creepy” aesthetic, which was described as “scary Asian horror movies.” Yet, it looks like the brand didn’t learn from last year’s controversy.
Shu Uemura Launched Limited Editions To Celebrate New Year
BRAND Shu Uemura
PLATFORMS Weibo, Tmall, Douyin, Little Red Book
MEDIUM Imagery, Short-video
FEATURED TALENTS Wang Yibo (36M Weibo Followers)
Japanese brand Shu Uemura, which is owned by the cosmetics conglomerate L’Oréal, launched a New Year campaign in collaboration with its global ambassador Wang Yibo. The campaign highlights four hero products: cleansing oil, lipstick, makeup face brush, and brow pencil, with a limited edition package design in red and gold. The 15-second campaign video starring Wang has been rolled out on the brand’s Weibo, Douyin, and Little Red official channels.
The campaign hashtag “Wang Yibo’s New Year Picks” was ranked on Weibo’s trendiest topics, receiving over 25.86 million views in one day. The campaign video has garnered over 4.8 million and 12,000 views on Weibo and Douyin, respectively, thanks to Wang’s 36 million social followers. Meanwhile, the limited edition red and gold packaging accords with Chinese consumers’ belief that red can bring them good luck and fortune.
Wang Yibo tops the ranking of male celebrities in terms of their brand connectivity and business value this December. By featuring the young face in the brand campaign, as well as leveraging hashtag marketing on Weibo, Shu Uemura organically generated a social buzz across platforms and maximized online traffic. Furthermore, by forgoing a zodiac animal-based package design, which is a popular approach for the New Year holiday, the brand has opted for something more conservative with their abstract red and gold design — striking but certainly not controversial.
Nike Salutes China’s Street Food Culture With Upcoming Sneaker Drop
PLATFORMS Weibo, WeChat, Poizon, Little Red Book
Nike will launch a new SB Dunk Low “Street Hawker” sneaker in January, drawing inspiration from China’s omnipresent street food carts and their most popular dishes. Designed by Guangzhou artist Jason Deng, the limited edition drop features 22 separate street food-inspired details such as Yang Chun noodles, wood chopsticks, and Guangzhou roast goose. The kicks focus on regional representative dishes from six cities, including Beijing, Chengdu, Xi’an, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Taipei, referenced via watercolor paintings from the artist.
The drop has been highly anticipated by Chinese sneakerheads since it the announcement was made on December 21 on Nike’s official site and social channels. The WeChat campaign post on Nike Press Release Center has received over 53,200 views and 1,266 likes. Netizens spontaneously reposted product photos on community-based platforms like Poizon and Little Red Book, showing strong interest in the crossover between indigenous street food culture and sneakers.
Unlike referring to typical underground youth culture symbols, Nike approached local street culture with a twist, exploring China’s extensive cuisine culture, from the ancient to the contemporary. Given that food is an indispensable component of Chinese culture and collective memories, the crossover resonated greatly with local hypebeasts. Furthermore, the partnership with Guangzhou-originated artists, who are familiar with indigenous food variations, ensured the consistency of the inspiration and visual representation of the end products.