International luxury brands are adamant about marketing around festivals like Valentine’s Day and Chinese Lunar New Year, but, for whatever reason, International Women’s Day on March 8th receives much less attention.
Few brands have released dedicated initiatives to honor Chinese women on this special occasion — thus far — even though the day celebrates a group of consumers that holds massive purchasing power. This could represent a missed opportunity for brands that are trying to create meaningful and emotional connections with China’s female shoppers. Luxury brands' silence on Women's Day is even more curious when one considers that other subcategories of the consumer goods sector, such as beauty and fast fashion, have made full use of the holiday for marketing initiatives in recent years, while achieving tangible success.
The lack of action from luxury companies in China also stands in stark contrast to what they've done in the Western world. Chanel, for example, will host an evening gala with Harper’s Bazaar in London to celebrate the holiday this year, and Gucci has launched social initiatives to empower women and girls over the past several years. But one company, the American high-fashion brand Calvin Klein, has observed the holiday in China by releasing its first-ever, Asia-initiated campaign this past week — and it's one that addresses an increasingly important social agenda: gender diversity.
Aside from Calvin Klein, here's a roundup of five luxury fashion brands that are smartly celebrating Women’s Day in the Chinese market in 2019:
For Women’s Day in 2019, Italian jewelry brand Bvlgari rolled out the China edition of its long-standing “Bvlgari Avrora Awards.” The Awards, which were created to recognize stories of outstanding and inspiring women who embody ultimate femininity, were given to seven leading female characters in China who represent the power of Chinese women. The winners were Duan Ni, modern dancer; Liang Jiayan, chief content officer of Pingyao Film Festival; Zhuang Huijia, sensory expert; Gong Yan, curator of Shanghai Minsheng Art Museum; Hui Ruoqi, world tennis champion; Mai Zi, film director; and Rosey Chan, pianist.
Cartier is entertaining Chinese consumers with a puzzle game on WeChat for Women’s Day. This is how it works: A reader will be randomly assigned a keyword that describes a female quality such as "elegance" or "brilliance" by clicking on Cartier’s red box (see image above), then the reader will see a Cartier product that matches that female quality, encouraging her to place an order for the luxury item.
Furla’s Women’s Day celebration is centered around its new product the Furla Brava handbag, which was just released at the brand’s Spring/Summer 2019 collection in Milan. The brand invited some Chinese celebrities and influencers, who were named as “Furla Girls,” to pose with the handbag and showcase their styles.
German luxury brand Montblanc created a gift list, from pens and suitcases to bracelets and watches, for Chinese female consumers to reward themselves for Women’s Day. They can place orders directly on the brand’s official website, and the brand also encourages readers to leave comments on their WeChat posts in exchange for the chance to win a secret gift.
British high fashion brand Paul Smith’s Women’s Day celebration honors Chinese women with real strength in their hearts. In its marketing campaign, the brand said these women deserve to own a Paul Smith item — be it a handbag, shoes, or a jacket — to make a personal statement about who they are.