Reports

    How brands are marking Women’s Day differently in China

    For this year’s International Women’s Day, local and international brands invited artists and ordinary women to celebrate self-love and freedom through the arts.
    Aesop replaced the products on its store's shelves with books to spark discussion on womanhood. Photo: Aesop
      Published   in Retail

    International Women’s Day is more than just a shopping carnival in China; it offers brands an important opportunity to forge profound emotional bonds with Chinese women, a demographic group that holds substantial and growing purchasing power.

    In recent years, brands have predominantly centered their campaigns for the occasion around their own products. However, this year many have switched approach to prioritize the creation of artistic platforms.

    These platforms aim not only to sell products, but also invite female artists and ordinary women to engage in artistic creations that explore the essence of femininity and what it means to be a woman in China.

    According to the “2023 Chinese Women’s Online Consumer Trends Report” (2023年中国女性线上消费力趋势报告) released by ByteDance’s Ocean Engine and marketing agency firm Data100, China is home to 400 million female consumers aged between 20 and 60. Together, they wield a purchasing potential that surpasses 10 trillion RMB ($1.53 trillion).

    Although most luxury brands do not exhibit the same enthusiasm for Women’s Day as they do for other festivals, like Chinese New Year and Valentine’s Day, several local and global labels have seized the occasion to launch creative campaigns, with many advocating the use of art to celebrate women’s autonomy and self-love.

    Here, Jing Daily analyzes five brand campaigns that resonated with Chinese women.

    SK-II#

    Despite facing significant sales challenges in China this year, SK-II continues to push the boundaries of femininity in the country. As one of the earliest brands to tackle societal issues surrounding women, SK-II is renowned for its creative and emotionally resonant storytelling that deeply connects with millions of customers in China.

    This year, SK-II released a documentary chronicling five women as they transition from wearing heavy makeup to embracing their natural selves as they age. Confronted with societal pressures at home and the workplace, as well as from broader society, the women boldly embrace change, opting to be authentic and confident about their true selves. As part of its “age liberation” concept, SK-II demonstrated how its “miracle water” signature product can help revitalize women’s skin and empower them to confidently go makeup free.

    Photo: SK-II
    Photo: SK-II

    Neiwai#

    For nearly a decade, Neiwai has shared diverse women’s stories in China. Last year, it released the impactful “My Body To Me” campaign, which presented women’s journeys through the medium of modern dance and physical theater. The accompanying hashtag garnered 9 million views on Weibo.

    This year, Neiwai shifted its focus to female artists and launched a women's creator program titled “In Her Place.” It invited various female artists to create their own arts for the collaborative initiative, amplifying the voices of women who challenge societal norms. In the meantime, Neiwai supported the production of documentaries, essays and an offline installation to complement these artists’ creations. By presenting their works and creative practices, this initiative aims to explore how female creators break through the constraints of their era, familial roles, and personal identities, fostering vibrant and engaging new narratives.

    T Magazine x Dior#

    To mark this year’s International Women’s Day, the Chinese edition of T magazine partnered with Dior to host an offline dialog event titled “Woman for Women: Here and Beyond” in Shanghai.

    The event features discussions between five highly influential women from various industries including media, arts, film, sports, and literature, including journalist Chen Luyu, actress Wang Ziwen, artist Zhou Li, Olympic champion Zhang Hong, and screenwriter Amei. Through candid discussions of their experiences and reflections on women’s identities in today’s China, this event aimed to inspire audience members to embrace their individuality and creativity. The hashtag #WomenforWomen has garnered over 2.45 million views and 10,000 engagement on Weibo.

    Photo: Dior
    Photo: Dior

    Vans#

    Vans is upholding its rebellious spirit this Women’s Day by releasing a distinctive film, titled She Who Dares to Challenge, which features two contemporary artists challenging each other to create different artistic interpretations on the same subject matter.

    The film showcases one artist wearing the label’s classic Old Skool sneakers, while the other wears Knu Skool loafers, sparking an artistic collision between classic and bold styles through these two artists’ unique creative expressions. Despite coming from different backgrounds and following different creative approaches, the two artists embrace their unique voices and employ art to reimagine Van products. Here Vans advocates for diversity and for women to push the boundary of self-expression and be “daring.”

    Photo: Vans
    Photo: Vans

    Aesop#

    Aesop launched its inaugural Women’s Library event at its Shanghai store for Women’s Day last year. The event attracted significant traffic, online and offline.

    Aesop is hosting the event, which employs literature to spark discussion on womanhood, at three of its stores from today through Tuesday under the theme “A Tale of Two Cities.”

    Aesop replaced all the products in the store with a carefully curated selection of books written by female authors, or centered around female themes, totaling 23,000 volumes. Spanning diverse genres and themes, the books offer reflections on every aspect of a woman’s growth journey. Through literature and a refreshingly anti-commercial intellectual approach, Aesop is creating a memorable experience for customers, elevating its brand identity beyond that of a beauty label to a premium brand that fosters ideas, concepts and culture.

    Photo: @410488166 on Xiaohongshu
    Photo: @410488166 on Xiaohongshu
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