Will Margiela Fragrance’s Ambassador Appointment Boost Its Brand Awareness in China?

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 Maison Margiela Fragrance’s new global ambassador announcement to Shiseido’s culmination of the “Relay of Love” project in Wuhan.

Li Yuchun Becomes Maison Margiela Fragrance’s First Global Ambassador 

BRAND Maison Margiela Fragrance
CATEGORY Cosmetics
PLATFORMS Weibo, WeChat, Tmall, Little Red Book, Douyin
MEDIUM Imagery, Short-video, Offline Pop-up Store, Livestream
FEATURED TALENTSED Li Yuchun (13M Weibo Followers)

On December 12, the fragrance line of the French luxury fashion house Maison Margiela announced that the popular Chinese singer Li Yuchun will become its first-ever global ambassador. The announcement campaign includes an offline pop-up store at Shanghai Réel Mall from December 9 to January 7, in addition to social initiatives such as a livestream on Douyin featuring a conversation between Li and Angelica Cheung, former Editor-in-chief of Vogue China.

The announcement drove huge online traffic for the brand’s social accounts on Weibo, WeChat, Little Red Book and Douyin. The Weibo teaser posted on December 11 garnered 27,000 comments and 65,400 likes, marking a vast improvement compared to the brand’s previous social posts that merely received single or double-digit engagements. The campaign hashtag “Li Yuchun Maison Margiela Fragrance Ambassador” has generated over 130 million views within ten days.

Maison Margiela is one of the designer brands that tends to shun the limelight, forgoing high-profile advertising campaigns and lucrative celebrity endorsements. However, the partnership with a Chinese idol with a cult social followings is a bold move for a brand often categorized as niche and exclusive to discerning connoisseur consumers. Meanwhile, the announcement made six days ahead of the opening of Maison Margiela’s flagship store in Shanghai is actually a warmup for the upcoming event. Both activations indicate the brand’s dedication to the mainland market. Though the fragrance line is operated by L’Oréal and under separate social accounts from the brand’s ready-to-wear line, they deliver a consistent brand image to consumers. But will Maison Margiela’s strategic move in China’s vast market pay off, and can the house balance exclusivity and brand awareness? Time will tell.

C-Beauty Brand MAOGEPING Collaborates With Palace Museum On Limited-Edition Collection 

PLATFORMS Weibo, WeChat, Tmall, Little Red Book
MEDIUM Imagery, Short-video, Livestream

Founded by makeup artist Mao Geping, the C-Beauty brand MAOGEPING launched a limited collection in partnership with the Palace Museum on December 8. The collaboration was inspired by an ancient ceremony at The Forbidden City featuring red and golden elements. The elements shown on artifacts, from clothing to accessories, have been vividly redesigned for a variety of signature products in order to replicate the oriental aesthetic in the Qing Dynasty. Additionally, an offline launch event was hosted at the Shanghai W Hotel on December 9.

The fifty-second campaign video and the campaign hashtag “Oriental Spirit” (气蕴东方) have garnered 1.5 million and 8.2 million views, respectively. The package and product design of the collection has also been much acclaimed by netizens, with comments expressing that the elegant and imperial look of the products makes the collection feel more like art pieces than functional makeup products. Meanwhile, many beauty KOLs like Xu Yan posted product reviews and shared their first impressions of the collections with their followers, driving huge online traffic on Weibo, Little Red Book, and Douyin.

The launch has marked the third collaboration between MAOGEPING and the Palace Museum. However, some consumers claimed that the collection was overpriced compared to other C-Beauty brands such as Perfect Diary and Marie Dalgar. Thus, sales from the previous collections underperformed despite exquisite packaging. However, as Chinese consumers continue to show greater patriotism in the post-pandemic era, the marketing tactic that taps traditional Chinese culture appears to have resonated greatly. MAOGEPING is hoping to further improve its brand image and align closer with international beauty powerhouses.

Shiseido Wraps Up Its Relay of Love Project In Wuhan

BRAND Shiseido
MEDIUM Imagery, Short-film, Livestream
FEATURED TALENTS Ryo Takeuchi (4M Weibo Followers) | Da Zuo (8M) | Wan Qian (6M) | Zhao Yue (6M) | Deng Yaping (3M) | Lynn Xu (668K)

Japanese cosmetic powerhouse Shiseido began its Relay of Love Project this February and has continued making donations and delivering relief supplies to those impacted by COVID-19 as the world is adjusting to new lifestyles. The project has toured seven cities in China, including Shanghai, Chengdu, Guiyang, Beijing, Xi’an, Shenzhen, and Wuhan. From December 18 to 25, the company rolled out an offline exhibition at the Wuhan K11 Mall to showcase its efforts from the second half of the year, also presenting a short documentary film of interviews with Wuhan residents, directed by China-based Japanese director Ryo Takeuchi.

The brand’s teaser about its livestream event, which was posted on Weibo on December 18, stirred up online traffic for the campaign by driving the hashtag #theRelayofLoveProject to 130 million views. Under the campaign post on Shiseido’s WeChat account, netizens shared their personal experiences from the peak of the pandemic in Wuhan. They also showed appreciation for the company’s dedication and commitment to those still suffering from the coronavirus.

Fashion and beauty corporations’ efforts to help combat the pandemic during the first quarter of 2020 not only showcased their social responsibility, but also improved their brand equities in the China market. In Shiseido’s case, its touring project allowed the company to strengthen its brand image and awareness across local demographics throughout the year. Furthermore, the documentary film took an intimate and realistic look back at traumas that emotionally resonate with Chinese audiences, which has more impact than financial donations.