In the Name of Love: How These 6 Luxury Brands Capture Consumers’ Hearts in 520 Holiday

    In China, May 20 is now a special time for expressing love, and an important gift-giving holiday, here are how luxury brands monetize on this opportunity.
    520 is now marked on luxury brands’ calendar, and they spend significant marketing dollars to help promote exclusive products. Photo: Estee Lauder/Weibo
    Ruonan ZhengAuthor
      Published   in Fashion

    In the West, May 20th is just another Monday. But in China, it’s now a special occasion for expressing love. The number 520 said aloud sounds a lot like “I love you (我爱你)” in Chinese, and it started out as secret internet slang, but the term soon went mainstream, and now it’s become an important gift-giving holiday, even more so than Mother's Day (which falls in the same month) and Chinese Valentine’s Day (Qixi). Perhaps that’s because it’s a holiday everyone can celebrate: parents, children, friends, significant others, and more. Therefore, 520 is now marked on luxury brands’ calendar, and they spend significant marketing dollars to help promote exclusive products. Below we collected 6 of this year’s most noteworthy campaigns.

    Estee Lauder: Exclusive lipsticks for fans#

    For 520, Estee Lauder is bringing some excitement to fans of the singer Hua Chenyu (who is also the brand’s ambassador) with three exclusive lipstick colors. Their campaign features a video of Hua that makes one feel like the product is a personal gift designed by the star himself, it had Hua inscribing the number 520 onto a lipstick tube and talking about the new reddish lipstick color titled “Mars” (which is the nickname of Hua’s fans). This isn’t the first time Estee Lauder has monetized fan culture around Hua, though. One exclusive lipstick, which was made for his fans to wear at his concert, saw massive success. And it looks like the strategy is still working. Within a day of posting the video,10,440 tubes of lipstick (each at about 117) had been booked for pre-sale on Taobao.

    Fan Chengcheng in LV.
    Fan Chengcheng in LV.

    Louis Vuitton: Bags on a chain#

    Louis Vuitton is celebrating 520 with the nationwide release of their “bags on chain”(#爱上LV链条包#) digital campaign, which features different styles of their chain bags. The campaign marks the brand’s official debut on the popular shopping app Little Red Book, and to help Chinese consumers demystify the functionality of the bags, fashion influencer Mr.Bags signed on to demonstrate how much LV’s new wave bag can hold. The brand also has an exciting lineup of stars promoting the campaign, including singer Fan Chengcheng, actress Dilraba Dilmurat, and others. On Weibo, topic #爱上LV链条包# has garnered 23 million page views so far and 596,000 discussions.

    Actress Yu Feihong, model Cci Xiang. Courtesy photo.
    Actress Yu Feihong, model Cci Xiang. Courtesy photo.

    Prada: My character customized design#

    Focusing on customized service, Prada celebrated 520 by decorating two bags with studs in unique shapes: The Prada Panier starting at 2,276 (RMB15,750) and Cahier, known as the notebook bag in China, at 1,930 (RMB 13,350). The brand kicked off the My character event with a cocktail party at one store in Beijing that featured actress Yu Feihong, model Cici Xiang, and many others. The collection is available in 14 boutique stores.

    Bvlgari: Ice cream jewelry#

    This 520, the Italian jeweler Bvlgari has created unique ice cream-themed accessories, from 2,746 (RMB 19,000) rings to 3610 (RMB 25,000) bracelets. The mouth-watering ice lollipop bracelet (with a cheeky bite taken out of one corner) is anything but conventional. Consumers seem surprised by the cute design, which feels different from their usual high-end look with more historical motifs. “Am I still looking at Bvlgari?” asked one, “please save me the vanilla flavored one,” commented another under the brand's WeChat post.

    Modern Keys featuring actor Liu Haoran.
    Modern Keys featuring actor Liu Haoran.

    Tiffany: Love confession from celebrity#

    American luxury jeweler Tiffany & Co. knows what makes female fans tick: sexy male stars. The brand chose to feature their Modern Keys collection on a WeChat post that featured a “520 confession” voiceover by the actor Liu Haoran. Fans can buy jewelry from the collection via the ‘click to buy’ feature on WeChat.

    Harvey Nichols 520 creative video. Courtesy photo.
    Harvey Nichols 520 creative video. Courtesy photo.

    Harvey Nichols: A Love Story#

    It's refreshing to see a retailer interpret the meaning of 520 with a creative narrative instead of focusing purely on products. The British luxury department store Harvey Nichols made a video that shows different types of modern love stories worth celebrating, including romantic love, family love, friendship, and even love for pets. The retailer has worked with 20 influencers to help spread the message and is also giving a gift to consumers: Those who pay with WeChat Pay in the store – from now until May 31st — receive a 10% discount.

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