How C-beauty Brands Tapped Ethnic Culture To Resonate With Local Shoppers

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 C-beauty brand Huaxizi’s Miao Ethnic Culture-inspired limited edition launch to Burberry‘s new It Bag “Olympia.”

C-Beauty Brand Huaxizi Tapped Miao Ethnic Culture To Launch Limited Editions

BRAND Huaxizi
PLATFORMS WeChat, Weibo, Tmall
MEDIUM Short Film, Imagery
FEATURED TALENTS Li Jiaqi (18M Weibo Followers)

C-beauty brand Huaxizi, also known as Florasis, collaborated with top livestreamer and beauty KOL Li Jiaqi to launch limited-edition makeup sets consisting of setting power, brushes, and eyeshadow palettes. The brand features silver-engraved packaging that draws inspiration from the silver-making craftsmanship of China’s Miao Ethnic Group. The limited editions, with prices ranging from $150 to $270, target a higher-end beauty market than most C-beauty products. Aside from launching on Tmall’s Little Black Box, which is a marketing tool for product debuts, the makeup sets will also be introduced on October 17 through Li’s livestream channel with behind-the-scenes stories about the brand.
The campaign’s hashtag received over 69.6 million views on Weibo in just one week. The one-minute campaign video starring Li Jiaqi has garnered over 20.6 million views, entering the top three of Weibo’s daily fashion & beauty video charts. Netizens have shown an appreciation for the brand incorporating ethnic culture and Chinese heritage into their design, leaving comments about how it was “such a sincere collaboration” and “very impressive how Huaxizi showcased oriental aesthetics.”
Huaxizi has built a wide reach on various e-commerce channels, thanks to a surge in C-beauty trends and the brand’s unique focus on oriental aesthetics. However, as Chinese style-inspired products oversaturate the market, local beauty shoppers are now expecting a more dynamic and inclusive presentation of indigenous culture. The Miao-inspired collaboration extends the representation of Chinese culture beyond basic elements such as red color, carving patterns, and zodiacs. Western brands that are frustrated with incorporating cultural elements and delivering appropriate interpretations can learn a lesson about sourcing inspiration from traditional craft and regional culture from Huaxizi.

Homegrown Skincare Brand HomeFacial Pro Leveraged UGC Marketing

BRAND HomeFacial Pro
FEATURED TALENTS Wang Yibo(35M Weibo Followers)

The Chinese homegrown skincare brand, HomeFacial Pro, teamed up with brand ambassador Wang Yibo — a young idol who owns 35 million Weibo followers — for the social campaign HFP Ingredient Album, which invites all brand followers known as “HFPers” to engage in the song-writing process. The campaign asks participants to jointly contribute to the song “Chapter 85” by writing a one line lyric which needs to include an ingredient of a HFP product. Participants also need to repost the campaign and comment below with their contribution. Selected contributors will have access to the campaign’s upcoming offline activities and complementary gifts.

The campaign hashtag “HFP Ingredient Album” has garnered over six million views within five days thanks to being featured on Wang Yibo’s Super Topic page on Weibo. The campaign post on Weibo has received over 1,900 comments with user-generated content, many of which is contributed by Wang’s fans who see their participation as a fundamental way of supporting their idol.
The brand name “HomeFacial Pro” literally means professional skincare products that can be enjoyed at home, sharing a handful of similarities with The Ordinary under the umbrella of DECIEM, from brand identity to packaging. The products are usually named after molecules to resonate with the domestic ingredient-savvy Chinese cosmetics consumers. For this campaign, the concept not only tapped into the idol economy brilliantly, but also added user-generated content — functioning as an educational tool for introducing ingredients — which can help develop more customer prospects for the brand.

Burberry Invented The New IT Bag “Olympia”

BRAND Burberry
PLATFORMS Weibo, Tmall
MEDIUM Short Film, Imagery
FEATURED TALENTS Cici Xiang (2M Weibo Followers) | Wang Yueyi (2M) | Xie Yunpeng (630K) | Wang Yijun (556K) | Li Manxuan (365K)

Burberry rolled out its Olympia Handbag campaign to promote the brand’s latest IT Bag from its Fall/Winter 2020 collection. The brand collaborated with brand ambassador Zhou Dongyu, actress Lareina Song, and other female celebrities to style the handbags and share it on their social accounts. The campaign also includes three short videos that are themed: self-exploration, the boundary between mind and body, and the universe expedition.

The Weibo hashtag #OlympiaHandbag has received 443 million views and over 237,000 online discussions thus far. The three short videos have garnered over one million views in total, with the one starring model Cici Xiang ranking first due to a consistency between the model’s personality and the film’s aesthetic. Viewers said that “the inspiration and visual presentation feels like more of a short film other than a campaign video.”

Handbags have become one of the star products for luxury houses in China. But with niche brands carving up market shares, creating the next IT bag has become more challenging than ever. In addition to leveraging celebrity endorsements, Burberry opted to partner with emerging KOLs and models who have a strong social following among younger consumers. Instead of producing typical campaign videos, the brand developed various narratives to present the product with a new and creative angle, tapping into popular topics such as surrealism, technology, and self-exploration.