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, including Helena Rubinstein’s collaboration with Manner Coffee, C-beauty brand Into You's gift box with Luckin Coffee, and Boss's Qixi Valentine's Day campaign.
WeChat, Weibo, Xiaohongshu, Douyin
L'Oréal-owned high-end beauty brand Helena Rubinstein collaborated with Chinese coffee chain brand Manner Coffee to launch a campaign that celebrates youth, drawing inspiration from the beauty label’s hero product: Powercell Skinmunity Serum. Between June 25 and July 15, Manner Coffee rolled out a special matcha latte, and the two companies co-released exclusive limited edition coffee cup sleeves.
Though the campaign did not leverage celebrity endorsements, the beauty firm collaborated with local KOLs like @GSengDong (G僧东) and @Vivi to post video content where they share personal experiences from their younger days. Thanks to their social followings and the ads allocated across various platforms, the campaign hashtags garnered substantial organic traffic, amounting to 370 million views on Weibo.
Using the theme “Recalling Youth Overnight,” the campaign focuses on the memories of Millennials and Gen Zers, as well as questions that they might have had when they were younger. In addition to striking a good tone in the nostalgic marketing, Helena Rubinstein got its partner right: Manner Coffee, dubbed the Chinese Starbucks, has become a go-to coffee shop for middle-class consumers living in first and second-tier cities. As such, the collab was a bullseye on the business’s target demographic.
WeChat, Weibo, Xiaohongshu, Douyin, Tmall
Image, Offline Pop-up
Ao Ruipeng (3.5M Weibo Followers)
Into You, a C-beauty label dedicated to lip products, partnered with Luckin Coffee to launch the campaign "Summer Color Project." Their limited co-branded gift box includes the beauty group’s nude lip glaze alongside instant coffee from the Chinese coffee chain. An offline pop-up store was also unveiled in Chengdu, with Chinese actor Ao Ruipeng in attendance at the opening ceremony.
The campaign hashtag #IntoYouxLuckinCoffee garnered over 66.8 million views within one week, which represents a huge number for this relatively niche company. Ao Ruipeng’s presence at the opening event, as well as the broad brand awareness that Luckin Coffee has built in China, contributed to the campaign’s online traffic.
Since 2018, Luckin has focused on store expansion and consumer subsidies. Declaring its intention to “educate the market with 1 billion CNY” ($157 million), the retailer has successfully become the number one alternative to Starbucks. However, Luckin’s prices are more affordable than the American chain, and this aligns well with Into You’s market positioning. For these reasons, they are ideal partners.
WeChat, Weibo, Tmall
Image, Short Video, Offline Pop-up
To celebrate Qixi Valentine’s Day, which falls on August 4 this year, German luxury brand Boss rolled out a dedicated campaign in collaboration with beloved comic strip Peanuts. In addition to familiar characters like Snoopy, Charlie Brown, and their friends, the special collection features traditional Chinese patterns. Here, red lines symbolize marriage, and lotus flowers represent purity, love, and friendship. The campaign had its official launch on June 30 in a pop-up store at Sino-Ocean Taikoo Li, and debuted via "Tmall Hey Box" — the online marketplace’s channel for new product releases.
Given that the campaign has only just begun, online discussions are relatively limited as of publication. Still, the label’s ongoing rebranding campaign “Be Your Own BOSS” has accumulated significant traffic, with nearly 75 million views on Weibo. Snoopy is a household name for Chinese Millennials and Gen Zs, driving 400 million Weibo impressions for the topic. No doubt, the classic comic character will elevate the collaboration’s recognition in China.
Boss has been committed to revamping its brand image in the past year, from redesigning its logo to appointing new ambassadors like Korean actor Lee Min-ho. Last year, the company collaborated with Chinese singer Zhang Liangying for the Qixi campaign, advocating for biodiversity and the protection of endangered animals. This year’s Qixi initiative is notable for the absence of such celebrity endorsement or broader storytelling. Whether it can stand out from other competitors remains to be seen.
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