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 Burberry’s AI influencers to Givenchy’s own virtual idol initiative.
Burberry Releases AI Influencer Hip Hop Music Video
BRAND Burberry CATEGORY Luxury
PLATFORMS WeChat, Weibo
MEDIUM Music Video, WeChat H5 Virtual Presentation
FEATURED TALENTS Victor Ma (10.7M Weibo followers) | Xiaobing (5.1M)
On August 20, Burberry launched the hip hop single “Runway 2.0” in collaboration with Nylon China, musician Victor Ma, the artificial intelligence (AI) influencer Xiaobing and her sister He Chang, and music producer Kevin Shin. Inspired by Burberry’s TB Summer Monogram series and elements from the brand’s summer campaign, the song emits a chill, summery vibe. Presented by Chinese visual artist Liu Xin, the production incorporates real-life performances and computer-generated imagery that mesh fashion with music, art, and technology. Users can upload their own photos to join the “Burberry Party Room” to create and listen to customized music.
The short music video has hit 2.1 million views and 51,300 likes on Weibo. Impressed by the futuristic audio-visual feast, netizens commented that the production is consistent with Victor Ma’s discography and the music genre he’s known.
As more and more local fashion media outlets take on creative consultancy roles, brands have started working with local editorial teams who can observe trends on the ground to create more localized content. By producing a hip-hop single with AI technology, Burberry is doing it
s best to resonate with Chinese youngsters. The brand is also proving that it’s now a social marketing veteran, having improved user engagement by allowing users to generate customized social content and share features in its WeChat H5 virtual gallery.
Givenchy Tapped Virtual Idols For Qixi Festival
PLATFORMS WeChat, Weibo
MEDIUM Imagery, Short Video, Music 5
FEATURED TALENTS The Futurer Virtual Idol Group (1.5M Weibo followers)
Givenchy teamed up with local fashion media outlet SuperELLE to kick off their Qixi Festival campaign, starring the virtual boy idol group, The Futurer, under the mobile game Honor of Kings developed by Tencent. Working with the theme “Walking to You,” the campaign starred five group members composed of the most popular male characters from the game, styling them with Givenchy’s Qixi collection of ready-to-wear garments. In addition to being featured on the cover of SuperELLE, the group dropped a new single and a short film tailored for the Qixi Festival.
The collaboration resonated greatly with players of Hong of Kings, which is arguably the most popular mobile game in China. The Weibo hashtag “Walking to The Furturer” (跨时空邂逅王者男团) has garnered almost 90 million views, with reposts from Honor of Kings’s official Weibo account and super topic. Engagement outside of the gaming community, however, has been limited.
Virtual idols have played significant roles in social campaigns and livestreams during the COVID-19 pandemic in China’s retail and e-commerce sector. Unlike Givenchy’s previous tailoring for Japanese avatar Hatsune Miku, the house cast a local virtual male group that already had a huge social following among female users. While the approach to tap local young consumers might help expand prospects, brands should first make sure their target consumer matches the virtual idol’s fanbase.
Armani Bets on Chinese Male Celebrity Power
PLATFORMS WeChat, Weibo
MEDIUM Short Video, Imagery
FEATURED TALENTS Jackson Yee (85.7M Weibo Followers)
On August 27, Emporio Armani, a diffusion line of the Italian luxury fashion house Armani, announced that the Chinese actor, singer, and dancer Jackson Yee would become its global brand ambassador. The campaign released a 30-second short video and a series of photographs to showcase the young star styled in its 2020 Fall/Winter collection. The campaign post on WeChat even included a quote from Mr. Armani, which demonstrated his appreciation for Yee’s dynamic and fearless personality.
The Weibo hashtag “Emporio Armani Global Ambassador Jackson Yee” has now scored over 87 million views, as Yee’s fans have readily expressed their appreciation of the brand’s appointment and the star’s talent. The campaign video, which was released on Yee’s Weibo, garnered over 5 million views in three hours. But online traffic from the exciting news soon hit a new high when Yee reached the top of Forbes China’s 2020 China Celebrity List (released on August 27), which is based on influence, reputation, their body of work, and commercial value.
As one of the top A-list male celebrities in China, Yee has a massive social following of over 85.7 million users. His fanbase covers not only Gen Zers but also many millennials. Armani’s appointment is proof of the brand’s dedication to China’s market, and while many fans are now showing support for Yee by ordering the brand’s products after this official appointment, how big will Armani’s return on its investment actually be? Whether leveraging celebrity-power can help the brand achieve any long-term growth is still unclear, but the endorsement will surely expand awareness of the line among local shoppers.