The Top 5 Luxury Brand Campaigns of 2021

    With consumption repatriation surging in China this year, luxury brands worked harder than ever to craft unique, localized campaigns in 2021.
    With consumption repatriation surging in China this year, luxury brands worked harder than ever to craft unique, localized campaigns in 2021. Photo: Haitong Zheng
      Published   in Retail

    With consumption repatriation surging in China, luxury brands have been betting more on localization with their new campaigns. Although the country saw some clusters of pandemic outbreaks in certain provinces and cities, Mainland offline activities fully returned this year. This positive trajectory allowed luxury players to roll out physical pop ups and exhibitions alongside their digital activations on social media and e-commerce platforms.

    In 2021, participating in both traditional and modern festivals in China became crucial for brands wanting to maintain their relevance among local luxury shoppers. However, as the festival marketing arena has become more crowded and competitive, it has been harder for brands to stand out.

    Therefore, in addition to typical festivals like Chinese New Year and various Valentine’s Days, discerning players have put more effort into developing consistent storytelling based on house legacies. Many also started diversifying their celebrity collaborations during the second half of the year after the governments began cracking down on toxic celebrities and fan cultures.

    Below, you'll find Jing Daily’s selections for the top luxury brand campaigns of 2021. For more of our 2021 year reviews and highlights, read here.

    Louis Vuitton celebrated its house founder’s 200th birthday with a local twist

    In August, Louis Vuitton kicked off a dedicated “Louis 200” project, consisting of digital initiatives celebrating the house founder’s 200th birthday. The house launched a mobile game called LOUIS THE GAME, which comes in only two languages — English and Chinese. Players travel to explore the house’s legacy and collect as many monogram candles as they can along the way while accessing more levels. Moreover, between August and November, a series of short videos featuring local creative talents was released to tell the story of Vuitton's legendary founder. These digital initiatives made the legacy house more accessible to the general public by exposing them to the house’s rich history in an interactive and fun way.

    Gucci experimented with podcast content marketing

    In honor of Gucci’s 100th birthday, the house invited up-and-coming musical talents to look at its enduring culture through the lens of pop music. The centennial series was inspired by the number 22705 (the number of songs containing the word GUCCI written between 1921 and today) and focuses on two China-specific initiatives: a video campaign and a podcast program. Both projects feature singer Jin Au-Yeung (professionally known by MC Jin) and Ricky from the band click15. This experiment showcased how Gucci’s connections with celebrities tend to be more holistic, moving beyond just creating campaign images on social platforms.

    Max Mara recontextualized brand narratives in China

    From September to December, Max Mara rolled out a special campaign starring its iconic Teddy as a way to celebrate its 70th birthday. The campaign featured a WeChat Mini Program with interactive user experiences to explain the house's legacy. Proposed and executed by the house’s China team, this discerning initiative smartly turned a WeChat Mini Program into a brand content marketing vehicle. In addition to the digital program, Max Mara launched pop-up stores with the same Teddy’s Time Travel theme across 14 Chinese cities=since mid-September.

    Prada wowed with a market takeover in Shanghai

    In September, Prada transformed both Rong Zhai — the brand’s social and cultural hub in Shanghai — and a fruit and vegetable market in the city's Wulumuqi Road neighborhood through the brand's designs and prints from its Fall/Winter 2021 collection. At the latter, even simple food products got wrapped up in exquisite Prada packaging. The brand's unexpected takeover impressed local young audiences, enticing many to visit this market and feel the brand vibrantly and emotionally.

    Luxury brands opted for safer approaches during this year’s Chinese Valentine’s Day

    The narrative of Chinese Valentine’s Day (also known as the Qixi Festival) has been moving beyond the legend behind this traditional festival as today’s younger generations have added modern twists to it. Unlike bold aesthetic experiments that could spark cultural controversies, this year’s campaigns opted for safer approaches. In addition to leading players like Louis Vuitton, Dior, and Prada, Valentino’s campaign featured romantic and playful settings, while Miu Miu’s emphasis on Personal Obsession spoke clearly to local audiences.

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