How Perfect Diary’s Puppy Marketing Broke The China Internet

The Social Edition is a weekly special-focus Jing Daily newsletter, 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 addition, we deliver need-to-know news, updates, and best practices on navigating social media platforms in China within the luxury space.

The below is an excerpt from The Social Edition newsletter. For weekly coverage, subscribe to the full newsletter here. In this week’s edition, we looked at three campaigns: from Prada’s engaging acronym Spring campaign to C-beauty unicorn Perfect Diary’s puppy collaboration.


PLATFORMS Weibo, WeChat, Douyin
MEDIUM Short Video, Imagery

To localize its Spring 2020 womenswear campaign in China, Prada has taken to decoding the fluid and multi-faceted face of identity in China. In addition, the brand has shared its campaign shoots and films on WeChat, Douyin, and Weibo. The brand has also initiated a wide range of interactive tactics on social media including allowing users to personalize campaign posters with acrostic poems creating acronyms of the word Prada. Likewise, through this engaging format, Prada has leveraged celebrity power, inviting Chinese celebrities to compose their own poems and showcase the campaign’s signature hoodie in shared content.

Over 20 top influencers shared the campaign, including: Cai Xunkun (28.7M Followers) | Guan Xiaotong (29.3M) | Wei Daxun (25.2M)

The campaign’s visuals and theme resonated with China’s younger generation netizens. The WeChat post has received 48,000 views and the short videos featuring celebrities wearing the campaign hoodie have gone viral on Douyin. Also, Weibo users are actively engaged — sharing their individualized campaign posters and manifestos spelling out “PRADA.”

Prada’s blockbuster campaign sets a benchmark for global brands aiming to localize a theme-based campaign in China’s market. While the brand’s campaign was part of a global strategy, it localized well in China due to the format. For brands wanting to launch campaigns in the social arena, casting top celebrities and idols with sizable fan following is a must. In this case, the brand’s campaign facilitated a high volume of influencer support with minimal production input.


BRAND Perfect Diary CATEGORY Cosmetics
PLATFORMS WeChat, Weibo, Tmall, Little Red Book, Douyin
MEDIUM Imagery, Video, Livestream

The collaboration between Perfect Diary and Discovery Channel features nine animal-themed eye palettes. Among the cast of featured animals are a dog and cat palette. Perfect Diary casted China’s top beauty influencer and livestreamer Li Jiaqi’s puppy named Never. Elsewhere, the cat palette is promoted by the brand’s Color Ambassador Luo Yunxi. Hundreds of beauty KOLs, including mega and micro ones, shared makeup tutorials on Weibo and Little Red Book using the two palettes. Both products are also featured in the brand’s “Super Brand Day” on Tmall, aka the “Singles’ Day of Perfect Dairy.”

Luo Yunxi (20.9M Followers) | Li Jiaqi  (13.5M)

Since Never has always made appearances on Li Jiaqi’s livestreams, the dog already had a strong cult following among the influencer’s mega fan base. Unsurprisingly, the dog palette is a huge hit. A wide range of users have purchased the product as a way of supporting Li and have shared their makeup looks on Weibo and Little Red Book. Though the brand did not launch any official hashtag for the series, users spontaneously created hashtags such as “Li Jiaqi Never Eyepalette.” The animal series monthly sales on Tmall has hit 85,000 palettes and the presale for Perfect Dairy’s “Super Brand Day” has received over 156,000 orders.

The homegrown DTC brand has been an ultimate disruptor in China’s beauty market. As digital channels become the solution that all players are resorting to, livestreaming is the new norm. Collaborating with Li Jiaqi’s pet was a fun and light way to leverage the influencer economy in China. Chinese consumers expect this level of creativity and even experimentation when it comes to digital efforts. Major Western luxury brands often appear constrained by corporate hierarchy and carefully calculated brand image that comes from European headquarters. Brands that are able to break free of this rigidity stand a better chance of making waves on Chinese social media.


BRAND Helena Rubinstein  CATEGORY Beauty
PLATFORMS WeChat, Weibo, Tmall
MEDIUM Imagery, Video

Given the nickname “Green Treasure Bottle Pro” in Chinese, Helena Rubinstein’s newly launched campaign aims to promote the fourth generation of its Powercell Skinmunity Serum. The campaign was rolled out by beauty KOLs Xiao Man  (@小蛮蛮小) and Aqin (@Kakakaoo-), who previewed the product in their videos on Weibo on April 5. Brand ambassador Hua Chenyu posted the campaign on his Weibo account the next day — the official launch date. The product is also included in Tmall’s “Hey Box” (the channel where brands can promote newly launched products) and featured on the landing page of Tmall’s Luxury Pavillion. On WeChat, the campaign post is linked to the brand’s Mini Program and encourages users to share the reasons why they chose the product.

Hua Chenyu (35.6M Followers)

The Weibo hashtag “Green Treasure Bottle Pro” has received 79.11 million views and Hua Chenyu’s campaign post drove incredible engagements with over one million comments. KOL Aqin (@Kakakaoo-) and Xiao Man (@小蛮蛮小)’s partnership video have reached over 2.3 million and 1.1 million views respectively.

High-end skincare and cosmetics products have seen growing popularity among China’s younger generation consumers. These consumers are accustomed to discovering new beauty products from KOLs on social media, as opposed to taking advice from beauty counter advisors. In Helena Rubinstein’s case, the brand awareness has been elevated since Faye Wang, known as a leading “Diva” who rarely partners with brands, became the global spokeswoman of the brand last year. For the newly launched campaign, in addition to featuring Brand Ambassador Hua Chenyu, the brand drove massive public traffic on Weibo through collaborating with mega-KOLs, and then paved the path to Tmall to fulfill the conversion from traffic to sales. Elsewhere, the brand’s WeChat campaign post linked out to its Mini Program and the discussion below the post facilitated high-quality UGC (user-generated content) — both of which are conducive to generating private traffic and retaining valued consumers inside the WeChat ecosystem.

This is an excerpt from The Social Edition newsletter. For full weekly coverage, subscribe to the newsletter here.