How Luxury Watchmakers Make Themselves Relevant To Chinese Shoppers

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 Michael Kors’ new brand ambassador announcement to Watches & Wonders’ Livestreaming on Tmall.

Michael Kors Announced New Brand Ambassador Gao Yuanyuan

BRAND Michael Kors
PLATFORMS WeChat, Weibo, Tmall
MEDIUM Short Video, Imagery
FEATURED TALENTS Gao Yuanyuan (49M Weibo Followers)

On September 14, Michael Kors announced that Gao Yuanyuan would be its new global brand ambassador via the brand’s official social accounts on Weibo and WeChat, as well as its Tmall flagship store. In addition to Gao staring in the brand’s Fall 2020 campaign, Michael Kors created a 30-second video showcasing the actress’s long-term partnership with the brand since 2014. The appointment also coincided with Michael Kors three-year anniversary with Tmall Luxury Pavilion, with  exclusive discounts and complimentary gifts.

To date, the Weibo hashtag “Gao Yuanyuan Michael Kors Global Brand Ambassador” has garnered 66.53 million views. Her fans were excited about Gao’s comeback after a two-year intermission and commented that her look and personality match well with the brand’s DNA. The campaign video that unveiled the collaboration has so far reached 3.6 million views.

Naming a Chinese face as global brand ambassador indicates Michael Kors’ dedication to the Chinese market. Gao Yuanyuan is a 40-year-old actress with an elegant looks and recognized performance in many well-known films. While she has left the public eye for two years, Gao is set to return to the big screen in the highly anticipated crime thriller Son of the Neon Night. Teaming up with Gao Yuanyuan, in parallel with the brand’s Greater China brand ambassador Leo Wu and China ambassador Lareina Song, Michael Kors looks to tap into not only a younger demographic, but also the relatively mature ones with stronger purchasing power.

Croquis Taps Into Self-liberation To Reach Young Males 

BRAND Croquis
PLATFORMS WeChat, Weibo, Tmall
MEDIUM Short Video, Imagery, Music
FEATURED TALENTS Victor Ma (11M Weibo Followers) | Chen Hongyu (902K) |  Chen Chen Chen (152K)

Croquis, the menswear line by homegrown fashion powerhouse JNBY Group, collaborated with three musicians — Victor Ma, Chen Hongyu, and Chen Chenchen — to promote its 2020 Fall/Winter collection under the theme of “Non-Aligned.” Beside the release of the single “Nature,” which was tailored to the campaign, a documentary exploring personal freedom and the process of shaking off labels and social norms was produced in collaboration with the multimedia brand Nylon China. The trailer was released on Weibo on September 14, while the full version will premiere in November in Beijing’s fashionable Sanlitun area.

The film trailer posted on Victor Ma’s Weibo account received over 1.8 million views in two days. Viewed as a singer, actor, and a curator, Ma is not seen as a typical idol persona among his followers, but as an all-round talent with a distinct individuality. His unorthodox journey from a well-educated architecture background to a pop singer fits well with the campaign and the theme of the film.

As content marketing has become one of the most popular marketing tools in China, brands now pay more attention to the right content production to hit their target customers instead of product exposure in their campaigns. In JNBY’s case, their womenswear line focuses on female identity exploration, while their menswear label leverages males’ self-liberation. While both campaigns skip casting A-list celebrities with huge social followings, the talent featured in the films help unfold dynamic narratives developed based on their own experiences, which can resonate deeper with the local youngsters who are going through similar journeys.

Tmall Bets On China’s Hard Luxury Market


BRAND Tmall Luxury Pavillion
WeChat, Weibo, Tmall, Douyin
Short Video, Livestream
FEATURED TALENTS Mr. Jiliang (3M Weibo followers) | Zhao Daneng (7.9M Douyin followers)


Tmall Luxury Pavilion, in collaboration with Net-A-Porter, hosted Watches & Wonders, the leading trade show for the international watch and jewelry industry, at the West Bund Art Center in Shanghai, from September 9 to 13. It featured ten top watch makers, such as A. Lange & Söhne, Cartier, Jaeger-LeCoultre, and Vacheron Constantin. The exhibition — part of Tmall Luxury Pavilion’s three-year anniversary campaign — was livestreamed via Taobao Live and hosted by fashion KOL Mr. Jiliang (吉良先生) and watch KOL Zhao Daneng. The livestream offered professional takes on watch craftsmanship and connoisseurship, in addition to a detailed tour of the show.


The Weibo campaign hashtag “Open the Door of Wonders” (打开奇迹之门) has garnered over 120 million views. Zhao Daneng’s short-video posts on Douyin documenting his experience at the exhibition received over 272,000 likes in total.


Hosting the prestigious Watches & Wonders exhibition solidifies Tmall Luxury Pavilion’s growing ambition in the hard luxury sector. Top watchmakers, which usually lean on offline channels, have experienced a myriad of problems amid the COVID-19 crisis. However, Tmall’s luxury platform serves not only as a retail partner, but also helps watch brands build a wider reach among local digital consumers. In the livestreaming session, Daneng, the most popular video-maker and KOL of the watch category on Douyin, seamlessly connected watch brands with their target customers and prospects. While e-commerce has yet to become an ideal purchasing channel for luxury watch consumers, hosting the leading trade show of the watch industry could consolidate Tmall Luxury Pavilion’s brand profile and credibility among business partners and consumers.