Prada Leveraged China First Strategy To Drop Its Next “IT” Bag

The Social Edition is our weekly series which deep dives into luxury initiatives in China’s social media landscape. Every week, we highlight brand campaigns distributed on Chinese digital platforms — WeChat, Weibo, Tmall, Douyin, and beyond.

Our coverage spotlights global luxury brands, global beauty brands, and local Chinese brands. The latter gives insight into some of China’s most successful campaigns, which often come from local players, and are outside of the beauty and fashion space.

In this week’s roundup, we look at three campaigns: from Prada’s Cleo Handbag campaign to Cartier’s collab with local artists.

Prada Drops Its Next ‘IT’ Bag In China First

MEDIUM Weibo, Instagram, Red (Xiao Hong Shu)
FEATURED TALENTS 22 celebrities including Fan Bing Bing (63M)  | Jin Chen (11M) | Zheng Shuang (10M) | Zhao Tao; 8 top models including Liu Wen (25M) | Ju Xiaowen (3M); and 24 fashion KOLs

To introduce the latest Cleo line from its Spring/Summer 2021 womenswear collection to Mainland China, Prada rolled out its “Prada Cleo Handbag” social campaign on Weibo. On November 16, 22 Chinese celebrities (including Fan Bing Bing, Jin Chen, and Zheng Shuang), 8 top models, and 24 fashion influencers such as @SunnieLovesFashion and @Fil小白 posted black-and-white filtered styles that featured the Cleo handbag. Ahead of other regions, China was the first location for the new launch via offline boutiques and online flagship stores.

The campaign’s hashtag on Weibo garnered over 80.4 million views in one day, thanks to the huge combined social followings of its featured celebrities, which amounts to roughly 260 million followers. The handbag is projected to be one of the top IT handbags for next year, and, as such, ranked seventh on the general “Weibo Hit Products Chart” and topped the “Weibo Fashion Chart.” The consistent black-and-white social posting concept on both Weibo and Red have been well-received by local netizens.

The approach of drawing inspiration from heritage pieces has paid off in the luxury fashion market recently. From Hobo to Cleo, Prada sorted out a balance between retro and novelty that resonates with younger and more mature consumers. Meanwhile, digital channels have become the top priority of brand communication and distribution in terms of creating hero products. By collaborating with A-list celebrities like Fan Bing Bing as well as emerging faces such as Zhou Ye, the campaign found extensive social exposure and the ability to tap into different consumer groups.

Cartier Teamed Up With Chinese Young Artists To Tap Local Gen-Z

BRAND Cartier
PLATFORMS WeChat, Weibo, Douyin, Tmall
MEDIUM Short Video, Imagery, Mini Program, Pop-up Exhibition
FEATURED TALENTS Jackson Wang (25M Weibo followers) and 8 artists including Chen Yingjie, Chen Fenwan, Nod Young, Leslie Zhang, Li La, X-Crew, Anti-General, and Zou Siwei

Cartier launched its “Pasha De Cartier — Make Your Own Path” campaign on November 16, with a 15-second video teaser starring brand ambassador Jackson Wang. The brand also partnered with eight artists working with various media, including photography, painting, music, and installation. The collected works, which drew inspiration from the theme of the campaign, are on exhibition at 14 landmarks in Shanghai like Xin Tian Di and TX Huaihai from November 14 to 25. The hashtag “Fangyuan (方圆) Battle, ” along with a filter, was also rolled out on Douyin to invite users to participate in a dance battle campaign.

The campaign hashtag on Douyin has received over 326.9 million views to date, while the ones on Weibo has garnered 250 million views. Netizens commented that the idea of “Fangyuan” — meaning square and circle — aligns with the Chinese philosophical perception of boundaries. Artists such as Chen Fenwan and Chen Yingjie as well as photographer Leslie Zhang are highly appreciated by local audiences.

Luxury houses have doubled down on local Gen-Z consumers in the post-COVID era, from celebrity endorsement to leveraging online-to-offline initiatives. In Cartier’s case, the campaign aims to increase the awareness of the Pasha De Cartier watch collection. Through tapping contemporary art and exhibitions, which are favored by local fashionistas and art-goers, the brand leveraged content marketing to drive offline buzz. Jackson Wong’s endorsement also fuel the campaign’s social impact from Weibo to Douyin.

Ralph Lauren Launches China Collab With Controversial Bad Boy Edison Chen

BRAND Ralph Lauren
PLATFORMS Weibo, Tmall, WeChat
MEDIUM Short Video, Imagery
FEATURED TALENTS Edison Chen (29M Weibo Followers) | Qin Shu Pei (1M)

Ralph Lauren launched a new iteration of its global advertising campaign Family Is Who You Love in China on November 13, while making featured products available on the brand’s Tmall flagship store and WeChat Mini Program. Praising unity and hope in advance of this year’s pandemic-tinged holiday season, the campaign stars 11 families from different areas and communities around the world. In a surprising move, the controversial Chinese singer/actor/streetwear icon Edison Chen, his supermodel wife Qin Shu Pei, and their daughter Alaia were cast as one of the represented families.

The campaign hashtag #FamilyIsWhoYouLove has generated over 3.1 million views thus far. But the overall social traffic on the brand’s official Weibo page has been slim compared to what other celebrity endorsements from idols like Deng Lun have collected. Edison Chen’s follower impressions and engagements for the campaign have also been inferior to those of other streetwear-related content. Though netizens mostly adore the sweet family, some comments pointed out the discrepancy between Chen’s current home-loving character and his former bad-boy image.

Under the theme of celebrating family, Ralph Lauren’s campaign teamed up with star families to tell their stories and showcase womenswear, menswear, and childrenswear products. However, brands must walk a fine line when casting celebrity partners. On the one hand, Edison Chen’s cult following has predominantly been driven by his influence on local streetwear culture and hip hop music, both of which are loosely aligned with Ralph Lauren’s campaign narrative. But on the other, featuring a celebrity who was involved in a sex scandal is a risky choice, even though he has recast himself as a responsible, family-oriented man since marrying Qin.