Next stop: China
This September, Hexun (Chinese) reports, the LVMH-owned champagne brand Moët & Chandon will kick off a host of events in China, leading up to a Great Wall fly-by of the cork-shaped "Spirit of 1743" hot air balloon and a visit to Shanghai by the Hollywood actress (and M&C brand ambassador) Scarlett Johansson. Coming nearly 20 years after the 1993 worldwide tour of the Spirit of 1743, which passed by global landmarks like the Egyptian Pyramids, Mount Fuji, the Golden Gate Bridge, and Moscow's Red Square to celebrate Moët's 250th anniversary, this will be the first appearance of the balloon in China. While a trip over the Great Wall might seem like a no-brainer, considering the highlights of the balloon's 1993 trip, it just goes to show that China's wine and spirits market is too important, and growing too quickly, to ignore.
Though Moët & Chandon made its debut in China in 1843, 100 years after its formation, the champagne maker has had to pull out all the stops to educate and appeal to China's notoriously red wine-obsessed wine drinkers. Unlike other LVMH Moët Hennessy-owned wine and spirits labels like Hennessy cognac and Glenmorangie scotch, which aim almost exclusively at middle-aged, male drinkers, Moët & Chandon is aiming at a younger and hipper urban crowd, recently holding promotional events at Beijing's Park Hyatt and Shanghai's URBN Hotel and kicking off its "Looking for Mr. & Ms. Moët" campaign on Sina Weibo.
For that event (ongoing), users who follow Moët on Weibo, answer questions posed by Moët on its page and retweet to three friends, or post a picture of themselves with a bottle of Moët & Chandon are placed in the running to become Mr. and Ms. Moët, with the 12 finalists (six female, six male) with the most comments to receive a free bottle of bubbly and the top two (one female, one male) winning invitations to next month's event with Scarlett Johansson.
Seemingly every brand may be turning to Weibo now, following the lead of relatively early adopters like Louis Vuitton and Burberry, but it appears that Moët & Chandon is one of only a few champagne brands to actually leverage the microblogging platform's popularity as a marketing tool. Last year, in L2's China Digital IQ Index, champagne and spirits brands came dead last in terms of Chinese-language and e-commerce functionality on their websites. Considering the success that its sister company, LV, has had on Weibo and other social media platforms like Jiepang, it's not terribly surprising that Moët & Chandon is jumping on the digital bandwagon.
But if all else fails, an old-fashioned publicity stunt -- like flying a giant cork-shaped balloon around the Great Wall -- is a good way to cover your bases.