Judges Select Brands Based On Cultural Sponsorship, Localization Campaigns
On the shortlist for “Brand of the Year” at the upcoming Cultural Heritage Awards in Beijing are Montblanc, Louis Vuitton, and Shanghai Tang, selected by judges based on the cultural activities and events each held throughout the year and the integration of cultural elements seen in their products. From the Beijing News (translation by Jing Daily team):
Over the past year, Montblanc has been keen on artist sponsorships, through its “Montblanc International Arts Sponsorship Award,” the cultural foundation Montblanc established to promote global culture, as well as encourage emerging artists and support patrons of the arts. The only one of its kind, the award was established in 1992 and has achieved recognition worldwide. Montblanc hopes that this year’s nomination will draw attention to and further promote the support of arts and culture in China.
Since its founding in 1854, culture and heritage have been at the core of the Louis Vuitton brand. Louis Vuitton was first involved in the French Pavilion at the 1867 World Expo in Paris, and up to this year’s Shanghai World Expo, maintains a 150-year tradition at the event. The French Pavilion at the 2010 Shanghai World Expo was designed in the style of a Paris Metro station entrance, juxtaposing the French Art Nouveau style against recent 2010/11 Louis Vuitton fashion videos. The exhibition shows the brand’s history and craftsmanship along with new technologies and creative product displays, infusing the traditional with the contemporary.
Coinciding with the World Expo was an exhibition of Louis Vuitton antique luggage at the Shanghai Museum, inspired by three-dimensional origami books. The exhibition was an assemblage of antique Louis Vuitton trunks staged in a 3D scene, recalling Louis Vuitton’s captivation with the World Expo since the 19th century. The exhibition also included a first-hand studio which staged a Louis Vuitton workshop with craftsmen demonstrating the handcrafting and culture that goes into its leather goods, watches and footwear.
Shanghai Tang was founded in 1994 and has maintained its position as a leading luxury lifestyle brand in China through translating and interpreting Chinese culture. Shanghai Tang now has a unique product-line as well as a locations in some of the world’s most prestigious shopping areas, including Shanghai, New York, Paris, London and Madrid. In 2010, Shanghai Tang worked to combine international design aesthetics with traditional Chinese elements in its custom design services, encompassing an exclusive tailoring and customization service for private clients. Additionally, Shanghai Tang opened a boutique at the Peninsula Hotel, releasing its 2010 Spring/Summer collection.
This year, Shanghai Tang has launched collaborations with Porsche, Jaguar, HSBC, Standard Chartered, Hang Seng Bank, and other leading luxury and international brands, to further reach the consumer market of China with the brand’s “East meets West” heritage. Coming soon, for the Chinese New Year, Shanghai Tang will launch a 2011 Chinese New Year gift series to celebrate the traditional Chinese holiday.
Following the Beijing News announcement were short interview excerpts with some of the judges for this year’s Brand of the Year award, including BNC owner, blogger and media figure Hong Huang; film and television actor Gao Yuanyuan; and magazine editor Kang Weikai.
Beijing News: Many brands are concerned with passing on their cultural heritage. What do you think this means in an era of reform and innovation?
Hong Huang: Inheritance is valued, so the concept of each brand has value. Innovation is the new form of expression of these values. For me, tradition and innovation share a common path — if there’s no innovation, there’s no heritage. And without heritage, innovation has also lost its foundation. Those [brands] that can connect emotionally with the young will be the most bullish and are bound to stand out.
Reporter: What type of brand do you think can lead youth fashion culture?
Gao Yuanyuan: I don’t think young people pursue luxury goods or extravagant spending, they’re more interested in collaboration and change. So I think practicality is important. On the other hand, I really like stylish pieces, for example H&M’s designer collaboration series.The recent collaboration with Lanvin really caught on among young people in China — it was very fresh and individualistic, and consumers desperately sought the collection out. So I think a brand that can lead youth fashion culture employ a combination of practicality and individualism.
Reporter: How do you judge “Watch of the Year”?
Kang Weikai: The competition for luxury watchmakers is not only in the product range, so the award should aim to ensure the strongest brands have had the greatest “market accomplishments.” For example, Montblanc put an amazing amount of manpower and financial resources into creating the year’s most thrilling brand event. In a sense, products are only one vehicle for luxury services. So my evaluation is not only concerned with the products, but also the full range of services included.