Chinese Valentine’s Day, also known as the Qixi Festival, marks the third occasion on China’s calendar to celebrate love and romance. The annual celebration falls on August 25 this year, and luxury brands have been running campaigns centered around this lucrative marketing opportunity since late July.
Unlike earlier gift-giving holidays when brands opted for softer approaches, this indigenous day of love is becoming a heated battleground for promotions and marketing. In addition to harnessing digital capabilities on social and e-commerce platforms, brands are leveraging celebrity power and opening physical pop-up stores to help them drive more online and offline traffic.
China’s rapid recovery in the retail sector, which comes from stores quickly reopening and customers flexing their revenge-spending power, is a positive sign, but it has led to more players focusing on the country to try and get their piece of the market share. Therefore, the competition among brands during this year’s Qixi Festival is fiercer than ever. Below, Jing Daily has highlighted seven luxury brands that are winning over Chinese consumers with their unique interpretations of the legend behind this traditional festival.
Dior proceeds with its love-inspired “Dioramour” collection to celebrate this year’s Chinese Valentine’s Day. The new capsule collection, which was designed by Maria Grazia Chiuri, shows love, care, and support and features a wide variety of products, from handbags and accessories to ready-to-wear.
The Weibo hashtag “Dioramour” has hit over 520 million views in ten days, thanks to endorsements from the brand’s ambassadors, including Angelabay, Wang Ziwen, and Zhang Xueying, as well as one of the most popular Chinese girl groups THE NINE. Aside from offline pop-up stores in Nanjing and Shenzhen and a feature in the brand’s WeChat e-boutique, “Dioramour Cafés” have opened in Shanghai and Xi’an to further capitalize on the ever-expanding hype Dior has created among local luxury shoppers.
To celebrate the day of the Qixi Festival, Prada released its “Modern Love Stories” campaign. By using an evocative and modern retelling of the Qixi legend, the campaign film follows the journey of a couple as they move through their respective worlds to achieve an emotional reunion.
An exclusive range of women’s and men’s items was dropped onto Prada’s official site and via the brand’s WeChat Mini Program on August 3 that includes a bright lemon-yellow version of the nylon and Saffiano leather Prada re-edition bag and a nylon cap in an identical colorway. Special installations, including a temporary flower station, are available in selected Prada stores in China, where customers may receive flower bouquets created by floral artists on the day of Qixi.
Michael Kors is celebrating this year’s Qixi Festival by partnering with brand ambassador and actor Leo Wu, who represented the brand in China for the past year and was also named the Asia Pacific Ambassador on August 5. In addition to the new appointment, the brand is launching a unisex capsule collection in time for this year’s Chinese Valentine’s Day. Distinctive from the brand’s Qixi campaigns over the past two years, 2020’s initiative adds a masculine, "boyfriend" touch to the brand's typically girly vibe for Qixi collections.
In designing the capsule, Leo drew inspiration from letters that he receives from his fans, which is how the campaign title “Leo Leo Letter (磊磊信)” got its name. The campaign launched across digital and social channels beginning on August 5 ahead of the 2020 Qixi Festival. Additionally, Wu’s campaign shots will also be reimagined on the KuaiKan Comics app — a leading comic platform and community that hosts over 200 million users, of which 79 percent are Gen Zers. This collaboration with Wu shows the brand’s determination to resonate with young shoppers in China.
Gucci introduced the GG apple print collection on July 30 for Chinese Valentine’s Day. The collection, which features a motif made up of two interlocking red letters Gs, is inspired by the phrase “apple of my eye,” meaning a person one cherishes above all others. The limited-edition items with apple patterns include handbags, small leather goods, accessories, and shoes, and they are available on Gucci’s official site, its WeChat Mini Program, and in selected boutiques.
To simultaneously drive online and offline traffic, Gucci initiated an interactive call targeting Little Red Book users that encourages users to take selfies with wall advertisements at landmark storefronts in Shanghai, Wuhan, Chengdu, and Shenzhen. The hashtag “Gucci Qixi” on Little Red Book has reached 126,000 views as of this publication.
Debuting its Chinese Valentine’s Day campaign on July 8, Saint Laurent was among the first batch of brands to warm up the festival. Under the theme “NameYourLove” (卫爱之名), the campaign marks the brand’s first-ever personalization service in China, allowing customers to print names in English and Chinese on its signature logo hoodie in washed pink. The service, which is available in boutiques and through the brand’s WeChat Mini Program, is dedicated to the celebration of Qixi.
Social content featuring young stars wearing these personalized hoodies drove a sizable engagement on Weibo, WeChat, and Douyin. The Weibo hashtag “NameYourLove” has garnered over 210 million views and 3.26 million engagements as of this publication, mostly thanks to endorsements from idols who have huge social followings like Zhou Zhennan, Zhou Yutong, Wang Linkai, and Ouyang Nana.
Fendi collaborated with British artist and illustrator Sam Cox — commonly known as Mr. Doodle — to launch a limited Qixi Festival-capsule collection on July 24. The collection, which was inspired by the artist’s unique style of detailed doodles, are available on the brand’s official site, WeChat Mini Program, and offline boutiques.
The campaign not only stars Brand Ambassador Jackson Wang, actor Zhang Ruoyun, Qi Wei, and Tan Zhuo, but it also features two members of the Chinese League of Legends world championship team, FunPlus Phoenix: Liu Qingsong and Jin Taixiang. In addition to leveraging celebrity power, Fendi has tapped into hashtag marketing by initiating the Weibo topic “Share A Heart With You” in social arenas. Elsewhere, the brand hosted offline launch parties in Shanghai and Shenzhen and unveiled a pop-up Fendi Caffe in both the Beijing SKP and the Chengdu IFS shopping mall.
French luxury house Celine has made a foray into China’s social marketing arena for the first time during this Chinese Valentine’s Day. Though other brands controlled by the LVMH Group are now veterans of China’s digital channels, Celine was the exception, and, therefore, had a low-profile in the country’s luxury market. But the brand smartly launched its WeChat boutique on June 19 while debuting its Weibo account on July 16 to help roll out a capsule collection that includes limited-editions of classic Triomphe Canvas handbags and Sacrés Coeurs earrings to celebrate the Qixi Festival.
The campaign has achieved much higher engagement than the brand’s previous social posts on Weibo and WeChat, partly because it stars some of the most famous young female celebrities and idols, like Meng Meiqi, Esther Yu, and Guan Xiaotong. From Celine’s product repositioning to its digital strategy, the house has shown a determination to build greater brand awareness among younger consumers in China.