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 Prada’s Chinese New Year campaign to Gucci’s collaboration with the Japanese manga and anime character Doraemon.
Prada Joins the Chinese New Year 2021 Celebration
PLATFORMS Weibo, WeChat, Douyin
MEDIUM Imagery, Short-video, WeChat Mini Program, AR filters
FEATURED TALENTS Cai Xukun (34M Weibo Followers) | Zheng Shuang (11M) | Chun Xia (2M)
Prada launched its Chinese New Year 2021 campaign “Enter 2021. New Possibilities” on January 11, inviting audiences to embrace the new year together and share their resolutions. Starring singer Cai Xukun, actress Chun Xia, and actress Zheng Shuang, the campaign film features a metaphorical journey into 2021, starting in suite 2020, a stylish and mysterious hotel, and moving forward to suite 2021 where a whole new world awaits. A pop-up WeChat Mini Program and multiple AR filters on Douyin were rolled out to encourage viewers to record and share their New Year resolutions socially.
The campaign hashtags #Enter2021NewPossibilities and #PradaNewYearGifts garnered over 140 million and 100 million views, respectively, within one day. And the 30-second campaign film — delivering a positive outlook for the New Year — received 1.5 million views on Weibo. Meanwhile, the revised Prada logo, which featured a red ox statue, was welcomed by local netizens.
Designing with zodiacs for Chinese New Year initiatives has been a tricky business for many global luxury brands. In Prada’s case, the brand opted to communicate thoughts and resolutions for their special edition New Year products instead. They continued to highlight their signature Cleo bag, as well as the brand’s new Spazzolato Crossbody bag for men. This strategy not only avoids a potential negative reception, but also strengthens Prada’s hero products for local shoppers.
Burberry Releases a Trailer For A New Awakening, Its New Film For Chinese New Year
PLATFORMS Weibo, WeChat, Douyin, Little Red Book
FEATURED TALENTS Zhou Dongyu (31M Weibo Followers) | Song Weilong (12M)
On January 11, Burberry released a trailer for their short-film entitled A New Awakening. Created for Chinese New Year 2021, it stars brand ambassadors Zhou Dongyu and Song Weilong. Directed by the popular film director Derek Tsang, the film reveals the protagonist’s up-and-down life journey via images intertwining love, friendship, and affection. It also encourages viewers to regain curiosity and an optimism for nature. The full version of the film will be accessible offline at cinemas in Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Chengdu, and Shenzhen from January 14 to 17, as well as online exclusively via Tencent Video.
The campaign hashtag #BurberryANewAwakening and the 60-second trailer have received 89.5 million and 3.4 million views on Weibo, respectively. Netizens adore the casting and the look of the film. The previous partnership between the director and Zhou Dongyu in the 2019 film Better Days was a hit in China. Given this, local fans and moviegoers have high expectations for their latest collaboration.
On the heels of rolling out a capsule collection to celebrate the Year of Ox, Burberry launched A New Awakening to enrich the narrative of their Chinese New Year campaign. In addition to featuring products from the capsule collection, the film spotlights positive sentiments amid the beginning of the New Year, including love, power, aspiration, and balance — all of which are much needed during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. With this approach, Burberry hopes to communicate a touch of humanism via the film, elevating the campaign beyond the standard Chinese New Year zodiac marketing and demonstrating a wider social and cultural awareness.
Was Gucci’s New Year Collab With Doraemon A Misstep?
PLATFORMS Weibo, WeChat, Douyin, Little Red Book
MEDIUM Image, WeChat Mini Program
FEATURED TALENTS Li Yuchun (13M Weibo Followers) | Ni Ni (23M) | Lu Han (62M) | Cecilia Song (12M) | Hu Yitian (18M)
On January 12, Gucci released a dedicated collection that celebrates both Chinese New Year and the 50th anniversary of the Japanese manga and anime character Doraemon. The collaboration features products ranging from bags, ready-to-wear, and sneakers to accessories like watches and scarves. The debut also marked the grand opening of the house’s Tmall flagship store. The collection is now available via the brand’s offline boutiques, its WeChat Mini Program, and now its Tmall store.
Netizens’ reception of the collaboration has been divided: Some thought the image of Doraemon recalled their childhood memories, while others felt that appropriating a household manga figure was “lazy” marketing. WeChat user @Tina_WHX reflected audiences’ confusion about the value of the partnership, saying, “What is the difference between Doraemon’s collabs with Uniqlo and Gucci besides monograms?”
Gucci’s previous collaboration featuring Walt Disney cartoon characters Mickey Mouse and the Three Little Pigs (celebrating the Years of the Rat and the Pig, respectively) were well received in China’s market. Unlike the typical luxury house partnerships with established artists, Gucci opted to use popular culture motifs on its signature prints. But whether the same straightforward marketing tactic can continue to fuel one of the most significant Chinese holiday seasons for Gucci is still uncertain, as savvy Chinese luxury shoppers can tell which brands truly understand the country’s cultural history.