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 local fashion incubator and retailer Labelhood's Qixi Festival celebration, Estée Lauder x SHUSHU/TONG collab, and Bally's announcement of its new global ambassador Johnny Huang.
Weibo, WeChat, Little Red Book
Image, Offline Exhibition
Fashion retailer and supporter of emerging Chinese designers Labelhood collaborated with photographer Leslie Zhang and four Chinese designer brands: SHUSHU/TONG, YUEQIQI, YIRANTIAN, and NOMANOMAN. Their collective effort — billed the Romance of China project — kicked off on July 17 and was dedicated to this year’s Qixi celebration. Inspired by the aesthetics of different eras in China, the initiative explores Chinese romance in contemporary contexts via different cultural designs, photography, and offline pop-up exhibitions.
The first episode of Romance of China, featuring a collaboration collection with YIRANTIAN, was unveiled with an exhibition at Labelhood House, an experiential retail space in Shanghai owned by Labelhood. The retro-vibed show, which includes a merchandise display from the 1970s, is a loving tribute to the revolutionary era. Many local visitors spontaneously shared their impressions of the pop-up exhibition on Little Red Book.
Labelhood’s approach to traditional Valentine’s Day showcased its authenticity around modern Chinese culture and fashion. Compared to international brands, this local fashion incubator is much more agile and can elevate celebrations with localized twists. In addition to the curated exhibition, the visual presentation of the photography and its featured models resonated well with local visitors, many of whom share collective memories of those past lifestyles.
Estée Lauder & SHUSHU/TONG
Beauty & Fashion
Weibo, WeChat, Tmall, Little Red Book
Guo Junchen (12M Weibo Followers)
Estée Lauder has partnered with SHUSHU/TONG to launch a limited-edition beauty gift box to celebrate the coming Qixi Festival. The special launch features Estée Lauder’s signature Double Wear BB cushion, an eyeshadow plate, and lipstick, with the Shanghainese designer brand’s iconic flower pattern on its package. The collaboration, named Love on the Edge, is also being promoted on Tmall Makeup Week through a partnership with Estée Lauder’s brand partner, Guo Junchen.
This collaboration brings a huge surprise to Chinese beauty and fashion enthusiasts. With over 6 million views on Weibo so far, the campaign hashtag #EstéeLauderQixiExclusive has actively engaged users, thanks to endorsements from beauty KOLs like @橙也Chen and @Janicekidd. The 15-second campaign video presented in SHUSHU/TONG’s dreamy and girlish style has also garnered 61,800 views on Weibo.
Estée Lauder x SHUSHU/TONG marks the first time a leading global beauty player has partnered with a homegrown fashion designer brand, and it's a win-win deal for both parties. Now that SHUSHU/TONG’s feminine-yet-avant-garde approach is making waves in China — particularly with Gen Z consumers who use clothing to make personal statements — the brand is sure to help Estée Lauder build a dynamic and bold brand image. Meanwhile, Estée Lauder’s extensive recognition among local beauty shoppers will allow SHUSHU/TONG to achieve a broader reach.
Weibo, WeChat, Little Red Book
Johnny Huang (20M Weibo Followers)
On July 20, Bally, the Swiss luxury house, announced that young Chinese actor Johnny Huang will be its global brand ambassador. The collaboration also pays tribute to the house’s 170th anniversary, celebrating its outstanding design and extraordinary leather craftsmanship. Along with the announcement, Bally released its Fall 2021 campaign imagery starring Huang and the Chinese supermodel, Zhao Jiali.
Johnny Huang started his career in 2016 and gained international fame in 2018 as one of the main protagonists in the action movie Operation Red Sea. His popularity continued to skyrocket thanks to his lead role in the drama My Dear Guardian. Meanwhile, the campaign hashtag #BallyGlobalAmbassadorHuangJingyu received over 266 million views in one day, with positive feedback from his fan base on Weibo.
This move consolidates Bally’s ambition to expand its presence in China. Today, the marketing value of local faces can be tricky business amid the current political and social environment in China. Bally, however, appears to be well aware of this with its new brand ambassador selection, which it hopes will only add value as the brand aims for further growth in China’s vast luxury segment.