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, including Maison Margiela, Cartier, and Fendi’s celebration of Chinese New Year 2021.
Maison Margiela Taps The Significance Of The Ox For Lunar New Year 2021
BRAND Maison Margiela
PLATFORMS Weibo, WeChat
Maison Margiela rolled out its Chinese New Year 2021 campaign in collaboration with the Chinese artist Nhu Xuan Hua. The initiative pays homage to Ten Bulls (十牛图), a series of short poems and drawings describing the stages of a Zen practitioner seeking enlightenment, and their return to the mundane world to enact wisdom and compassion. The artist’s illustrations dedicated to the Year of Ox can be downloaded as wallpapers via the campaign post on WeChat.
The campaign post on WeChat has received over 21,100 views, with a host of users appreciating the illustrations. WeChat user @sDs commented that “Maison Margiela’s CNY campaign is the best among other luxury brands, merging the brand’s DNA of deconstruction with the image of Ox perfectly.” Others spoke highly of the download-friendly wallpapers for the CNY celebration.
2021 marks Maison Margiela’s first time launching a Chinese New Year campaign on China’s social channels. In contrast to other luxury brands, which largely played with zodiac images, the house approached the Year of the Ox by exploring the cultural representation of the animal — but in the local context. In particular, the campaign used the ancient Chinese painting Ten Bulls as a way to dive into the spiritual significance of oxen and visualize the intangible meanings via the medium of contemporary paintings. Though the sales conversion of such initiatives may underperform those simply featuring zodiac animals, the payoff for the brand could come from an increased reputation and stickiness among local customers, which is never a bad thing.
Cartier Celebrates Tmall Super Brand Day Via Livestream
PLATFORMS Weibo, WeChat, Tmall, Little Red Book
MEDIUM Imagery, Short-Video, Livestream
FEATURED TALENTS Li Xian (22M Weibo Followers) | Meng Meiqi (25M) | Dou Xiao (14M) | Ma Yi Li (45M) | Mandarin Band (154K)
Cartier hosted a livestream to introduce seven icon products on Taobao Live to kick off Tmall Super Brand Day. Featuring the theme of “The Culture Of Design,” the brand’s partners — singers Li Xian and Meng Meiqi, actress Ma Yi Li, and the Mandarin Band — introduced the history, inspiration, and styling tips of the featured products. The initiative allows consumers to purchase products with interest-free installments on the brand’s Tmall flagship store, as well as receive complimentary chocolate gift boxes and red packets.
The campaign hashtag #CartierTheCultureOfDesign has received over 340 million views as of publication. Moreover, the livestream has garnered 806,000 views on Taobao and Weibo, where audiences showed strong recognition of Li Xian and Mandarin’s endorsements. Li’s social followers commented with screenshots of purchase confirmations on Tmall to support their idol.
Richemont, which owns Cartier, saw sales rebound in the third quarter of 2020 after a pandemic slump. The Swiss luxury group has been trying to capitalize on China’s strong demand for luxury goods and booming e-commerce. The group also announced a partnership with Alibaba to invest in Farfetch, which would accelerate its digitalization in the market. Kicking off the Tmall Super Brand Day with such a strong celebrity casting signals Richemont’s dedication to dive into the online marketplace and build a solid connection with Chinese digital natives.
How Was Fendi’s Traditional CNY Campaign Judged?
PLATFORMS Weibo, WeChat, Little Red Book, Douyin
MEDIUM Imagery, Short-Video, Offline Pop-up Store, WeChat Mini Program
FEATURED TALENTS Zhao Wei (22M Weibo Followers) | Zhang Ruo Yun (25M) | Wang Seng (2M) | Qian Dong Ni (851K)
Fendi is celebrating the Year of Ox — which exemplifies strength, determination, and ambition — with an exclusive capsule collection. The campaign adopts cultural elements dear to the Chinese such as the chrysanthemum and the peony, respectively representing longevity and prosperity. All the while, a common thread — the color red — expresses this joyful and auspicious occasion.
On January 8, the house hosted an offline event at Shanghai Plaza 66, featuring brand ambassadors Zhao Wei and Zhang Ruo Yun, actor Wang Seng, and actress Qian Dong Ni. It also released a series of FENDIDI memes: playful panda designs that the brand produced in collaboration with Chinese artist Oscar Wang.
The CNY campaign starring the brand’s newly-appointed leather goods ambassador, Zhang Ruo Yun, received a positive netizen reaction. The hashtag for the campaign, #FendiCNY, has garnered over 4 million views on Weibo, thanks to endorsements by Zhao Wei and Zhang. However, the campaign video’s casting of two Chinese models received divided comments. Some were offended by the model choices, suggesting that they too closely represented Western stereotypes of Asian girls.
Loaded with Chinese motifs like the color red and auspicious images such as lanterns and flowers, Fendi’s campaign takes from the traditional playbook of Western luxury brand CNY campaigns. But today, representations of contemporary Chinese culture should be more dynamic than what is commonly seen in Chinatowns, given the diverse demographics in the country. As luxury brands continue to compete for market share, local consumers are keenly aware of the arena, and they are showing much higher expectations than in the past.