Unlike Chinese New Year and Valentine’s Day, this year’s International Women’s Day has been less busy than last year. However, driven by the two Chinese e-commerce giants, Tmall and JD.com, International Women’s Day has become another shopping carnival in China.
As we noticed last year, the phrase “Goddess Day,” which distorted the meaning of the celebration, has been barely used by brands this year, and instead, many have focused on commemorating women’s rights and achievements. Many brands have adopted a more reserved approach this March, with less talking points on female empowerment, and focused on product-centered communication instead of values.
Though there have been remarkable improvements in terms of the socio-economic status of Chinese females in the last few decades, Chinese traditional mindsets like “women are in charge of the household, men are in charge of the political domain” are still prominent, as Gao Huan, Managing Director of Alvarez & Marsal, shared with Jing Daily. “Educated Chinese females now wish to manage a career without interrupting the norms of marriage and childbearing while maintaining feminine charm.”
Here, Jing Daily highlights four brand campaigns that resonated greatly with today’s Chinese females by exploring modern femininity.
C-beauty brand Florasis collaborated with the digital media company Xinshixiang to launch a video campaign exploring how women tackle various mental issues in today’s contemporary society. Featuring five females, the series also explored various skin concerns and introduced a new product, Florasis Balance Liquid Foundation. Moreover, between February 28 and March 7, the brand hosted livestreaming sessions on Tmall, Douyin, and Kuaishou, offering viewers exclusive discounts and gift boxes.
Homegrown brands have done well marketing relevant topics in the local socio-cultural context. In Florasis’ case, the brand shared talking points between its new foundation product and ongoing female discourses. By using personal narratives to amplify this message, the campaign not only celebrated the upcoming International Women’s Day, but also helped drive sales for its new product thanks to the brand’s popular livestream sessions.
On March 2, luxury e-commerce Net-A-Porter launched a campaign film The Remarkable Day, which highlights various memorable moments throughout a female’s life, such as a wedding or pregnancy. The four female celebrities are dressed in clothes from four Chinese designer brands: Samuel Gui Yang, Windowsen, Shushu/tong, and RUI. Besides posting the campaign film on social channels, the e-commerce player will host a group exhibition March 12-20 at the BANK Gallery in Shanghai.
Net-A-Porter has been an early adopter of female marketing in China’s luxury market. In the past two years, the e-tailer partnered with various female celebrities to engage its independent and growing female customer base. For this year’s International Women’s Day campaign, Net-A-Porter spotlighted popular Chinese designer brands likely to lure a younger demographic from social platforms to its Tmall flagship store and WeChat marketplace.
L’Oréal collaborated with a host of Chinese celebrities — Ouyang Nana, Gong Li, Ju Xiao Wen, Xin Zhilei, and Daniel Wu — for its campaign, “I Say I’m Worth It.” Through a series of short films, the stars shared their personal journeys and thoughts on female empowerment, encouraging women to face life’s challenges and to discover their own personal values. Meanwhile, L’Oréal also collaborated with Ximalaya, China’s largest online audio platform, to facilitate conversations between celebrities and local popular podcast hosts.
The campaign showcased the brand’s thorough understanding of femininity in China, casting role models in different life stages and industries, all of which resonated with the brand’s broader female customers. As importantly, with communication channels from social platforms to audio programs, the campaign reached and engaged distinct communities interested in female-related topics of discussion.
Chinese lifestyle brand Neiwai launched its concluding installment of its No Body Is Nobody campaign on March 1. The initiative debuted in February 2020 with a series of documentaries exploring female body diversity and was followed by a podcast series focusing on various feminist topics last year. For the final installment, the campaign spotlighted five of the brand’s female customers — who shared their own personal journeys over the past decade — to help celebrate the brand’s tenth anniversary. Additionally, the campaign films and other featured photos will also be exhibited at the brand’s offline gallery in Shanghai.
Though feminist issues have become increasingly popular in marketing, Neiwai was among the first batch of homegrown brands to launch a dedicated campaign responding to them. The brand’s decision to feature “ordinary” females — that is, people who are not celebrities or KOLs, those often considered to be “ideal” personas — represented a unique casting approach. As this exciting serial campaign comes to an end, we are left wondering what new brand strategies Neiwai will come up with next.