Watchmaker Gets Weibo Users Involved For Location At Parkview Green
Fresh off its recent boutique opening at Pacific Place in Hong Kong, on November 22 Swiss luxury watchmaker IWC Schaffhausen opens its latest flagship at Beijing’s new Parkview Green mall — which opened last month with early tenants like illycaffe, Karen Millen and Ted Baker. Considering IWC currently has over 40 points of sale throughout China, the launch of a new store would otherwise be minor news, but it’s the way the brand is promoting the event that makes the grand opening noteworthy.
Like other luxury brands, IWC has turned to Sina Weibo as a key digital marketing tool in the China market, and to publicize its impending grand opening the watchmaker is taking pages from the playbooks of several successful Weibo campaigns. For its Parkview Green event, IWC put up a dedicated tabbed page with a photo of the new store and a countdown timer, which — upon the grand opening — will broadcast live video. In advance of the store opening, IWC has also encouraged fans to use the hashtag “Elite Moments” (精英时刻) on posts about the brand, and has created an interactive competition that will kick off with the opening of the new flagship.
According to the dedicated competition section, the rules are simple:
1. Become a fan of IWC’s Sina Weibo page.
2. On the day of the grand opening, organizers will post five questions about the Beijing Parkview Green flagship on the Weibo page.
3. Organizers will then tweet a link to an official answer site — users log in and answer the five questions in a multiple-choice format.
4. Users who answer all five questions correctly have a chance to win one of three prizes. Scores are tallied based on how quickly participants answer the questions.
One grand prize winner will receive an IWC watch winder, 10 second-place winners will receive an IWC wine package, and 20 third-place winners will receive IWC cashmere scarves.
In recent years, IWC has ramped up its physical and online presence in China’s crowded and shifting luxury watch market, with the company aggressively localizing and building its sales network. Last year, IWC was one of several watchmakers to create a run of 888 limited-edition Year of the Dragon timepieces for China, and was the Official Timekeeper of the 2011-2012 Volvo Ocean Race in Sanya. No word yet on whether the watchmaker has plans for a 2013 Year of the Snake edition, the likes of which we’ve already seen from Vacheron Constantin.
Still, localized models and corporate sponsorship are far from enough to stand out in an increasingly saturated market, and as such IWC has invested cleverly in social media. Though the brand is relatively new to the mainland China market compared to rivals like Rolex (1995) and Omega (2002), IWC has shown itself particularly savvy on Weibo, as its newest promotion would attest, and ranked as the most advanced haute horlogerie brand in terms of social media in the Digital Luxury Group’s annual WorldWatchReport earlier this year.