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 Bulgari's new approach to celebrity endorsements, Saint Laurent's newly released art film, and L'Oréal Paris' dedication to Asian elephant protection.
Weibo, WeChat, Little Red Book
Image, Short-video, Mini Program
Lisa (8.8M Weibo Followers) | Fan Chengcheng (25.4M) | Zhao Lusi (15.8M) | Wen Qi (8.6M) | Lamu Yangzi (8.6M) | Ren Min (4.7M) | Xu Kai (18.3M)
This month, Italian luxury jewelry house Bulgari rolled out its Dare to Dream campaign to promote its newly-launched B.zero1 Rock collection, which draws its inspiration from the world’s most renowned amphitheater, the Colosseum. So far, the campaign has starred the brand's ambassadors, including Lisa from the K-pop girl group Blackpink, Chinese singer Fan Chengcheng, and actress Zhao Lusi. Actresses Wen Qi, Lamu Yangzi, Ren Min, and actor Xu Kai are also in the campaign, which features stand-alone short videos of each talent, in addition to campaign images.
The campaign hashtag #DareToDream (敢梦敢想) has received over 80 million views on Weibo since it kicked off on August 10. Among the seven celebrities recruited for the campaign, the female comedian Lamu Yangzi is the most impressive addition, according to netizen reactions. Casting these unique talents that differ from typical idols allowed the house to find favor with a wide variety of local shoppers.
After Bulgari terminated its contract with previous brand ambassador Kris Wu last month, the house sharply pivoted to update its celebrity list, evidenced in its recent Qixi initiative and this latest campaign. More importantly, the approach of using a range of talents across various fields dilutes the risk of betting on one A-list celebrity while winning over a more varied following for the brand.
Leah Dou (2.9M Weibo Followers) | Wang Qiang (2.1M) | Ju Xiaowen (3.2M) | Anny Fan (5.8M) | Xie Xin (1.1M)
This August, Saint Laurent co-released the first episode of its ongoing namesake arts project, “Identity,” in partnership with the Hantang Culture Ultimate Luxury Program. The short film explores the house’s core spirit of transcending fashion, casting pioneers from different fields, including singer Leah Dou, actor Wang Qiang, supermodel Ju Xiaowen, gamer Gu Xue, fashion KOL Anny Fan, dancer Xie Xin, and graffiti artist Camel. By using a black-and-white filter, the artwork comments on society through self-expression and individuality.
The film has racked up 1 million views on Weibo since it premiered on August 6. In particular, Chinese singer-songwriter Leah Dou’s look in the film, featuring a bold, new long-haired look, caused conversation among local netizens. The top-tier supermodel and Gen-Z actor Wang Qiang fueled most of the campaign’s traffic, thanks to their large social fan bases.
Saint Laurent has been a veteran of artistic exploration under the helm of creative director Anthony Vaccarello. In 2019, the brand launched the fifth installment of its multidisciplinary “Self” series with acclaimed art-house filmmaker Wong Kar-Wai. Meanwhile, the house just ended an exhibition titled “Betty Catroux: Yves Saint Laurent,” which ran from June 18 to August 15 in Shanghai. More importantly, the latest initiative, in collaboration with a local media powerhouse, has helped to substantially consolidate the house’s unique brand image and core values in China.
Documentary, Offline Exhibition
Zhu Yilong (30.5M Weibo Followers)
L'Oréal Paris opened its “Along the Lines of Elephants” exhibition at the Shanghai Natural History Museum on August 13 in dedication to Asian elephant protection. The exhibit offers an immersive experience using sensory interaction and augmented reality technology and is set to close on September 15. Moreover, the exhibit builds upon an initiative launched last May, which starred brand ambassador Zhu Yilong, documenting Asian elephants in the Xishuangbanna, Yunnan Province.
The one-minute teaser of the exhibition released on August 12, which was the tenth World Elephant Day, received over 1.2 million views on Weibo, creating positive social exposure for a non-commercial campaign. As the welfare of elephants in China has become a crucial social issue, netizens showed great interest regarding this thought-provoking topic.
Given that cosmetics are not updated as frequently as fashion, longevity is a key factor for beauty brand campaigns. Given this, the “Along the Lines of Elephants” exhibit was kicked off promoting the brand’s Revitalift Filler Eye Cream, a hero product that L'Oréal Paris created to fade fine facial lines. But instead of underlining the product features, the public-minded brand focused on the wellbeing of endangered Asian elephants. Thus, L'Oréal Paris promotes social responsibility while organically improving audience engagement through public programs along with the exhibition.