On August 22, Estée Lauder released a limited-edition lipstick in collaboration with brand ambassador, Chinese singer Hua Chenyu (华晨宇). This, in and of itself, is nothing new. In China, it has become quite common for young male celebrities or “little fresh meat” to collaborate with beauty brands, promoting products to their female fans.
But this time Estée Lauder put a twist on the concept, tying the campaign into Hua’s upcoming concert at the Bird’s Nest in Beijing on September 8, encouraging fans to wear the lipstick to support their idol. While this may seem like they are targeting an incredibly niche audience, capturing his concertgoers’ spending alone would be an incredible return on investment – all 90,000 seats at the Bird’s Nest stadium are sold out.
To date, the WeChat campaign has already reached more than 100,000 views and 956 likes. According to Estée Lauder’s Tmall page, 15,397 lipsticks (priced at 230 RMB) have been sold and the product has amassed 27,355 reviews.
Chinese fans are emotionally invested and financially committed
This campaign leveraged women’s admiration for young male pop stars. Although this is a global trend, in China, these fans are much more emotionally invested (not to mention financially committed) to their idols. Here Estée Lauder directly linked fans’ support of Hua Chenyu with the sales of the product. By tying it into the concert, they created a dress code, leaving fans wondering, if I’m not wearing this lipstick at the concert will I feel left out?
Massive mistake: Trying to drive sales on Tmall from a WeChat article
It is actually quite surprising that the campaign was able to drive significant sales results considering that Estée Lauder chose to direct WeChat readers to a Tmall page to purchase the product. It is well-known among WeChat users and China marketers that WeChat does not allow articles to directly link to Alibaba properties, instead, forcing users to copy a link then hop over to the Taobao app and paste the link into the app. This cumbersome process results in very low conversion rates.
Estée Lauder is known for their excellent marketing in China and it is surprising that they still chose to go this route. Choosing an option that is compatible with WeChat, whether that is an official website, HTML5 site, or the best option, a mini-program, would have simplified the purchasing process and it is highly likely that conversions would have been significantly higher.