Valentino’s Pink PP campaign has been making waves on China’s social media since the house announced its dedicated takeover of the coastal city of Qinhuangdao’s Aranya district. Between September 22 and October 31, the beachfront Aranya Community Hall will be painted with the shade co-created by the brand and Pantone Color Institute.
Alongside this landmark event, a local cafe at the Tang hotel has had pink touches added on everything from coffee cup sleeves to ice cream cone holders. The all-pink visual merchandising like “V” logos and repainted parasols brought in quite a crowd, eager for the caffeine as much as the photo opportunity.
According to iiMedia’s report, the market size of the country’s fresh coffee market was about $12.26 billion (87.6 billion RMB) in 2021, with a growth rate of 38.9 percent year-on-year. The number is expected to reach $26.58 billion (190 billion RMB) by 2024. More importantly, in the first- and second-tier cities, the drink has become a habit for many consumers and a crucial part of office culture. Given this, the image of coffee can help the maison, known for its haute couture, to become more approachable — and forge emotional connections with the younger generations.
A pop-up showroom was unveiled to present the Pink PP Fall 2022–23 offering, as well as the line’s collaboration with renowned novelist Douglas Coupland. The new capsule collection, composed of two cotton sweatshirts and two t-shirts in either black or the exclusive Pink PP, is online-exclusive beyond this special preview.
On September 22, Valentino kicked off the campaign with a physical event in Aranya, with attendees including brand ambassadors Lay Zhang, Li Ronghao, and Guan Xiaotong, Korean singer Jessica Jung, Chinese idol Liu Yu, and Gao Qingchen from boy group INTO1. Singer Li’s appointment was announced on the same day of the event, which did great things for the online traffic. And Zhang and Li’s all-pink looks worked to challenge the designation of pink as a color for girls — a nice touch, considering the firm’s belief in inclusivity. The online discussion of celebrity exposure has amounted to 1.1 billion on Weibo within just 2 days.
Valentino’s brand ambassadors Lay Zhang, Li Ronghao and Guan Xiaotong, Korean singer Jessica Jung (swipe left) Photo: Courtesy of Valentino
The presence of the Korean idol and ex-member of the K-pop band Girls’ Generation was also a cause for excitement. Her performance in the hyper-popular variety show Sisters Who Make Waves (乘风破浪的姐姐) has given the star a much bigger profile in China. She suited the color well, and campaign photos featuring her long dress with bow details received 4,500 comments and 22,100 likes on Weibo.
Thanks to the localized approach, Valentino’s Aranya initiatives have driven over 1,000 user-generated posts on Xiaohongshu. When searching “Valentino” on the lifestyle social platform, the number of posts including the keywords escalated from 110,000 to 160,000 in 3 days. The unique and bold color has allowed the label’s pink takeovers to become users’ social media moments, like the many visitors who took selfies with the Aranya Community Hall and pink coffee cups.
Valentino could not have achieved the success of the Pink PP campaign here without the selection of Aranya. The seaside travel destination has seen increased popularity among young visitors in recent years, due to its commitment to creating a more inclusive and artistic lifestyle through various cultural projects. Sharing such values, the Italian establishment wanted to create visual experiences that would inspire audiences who yearn for an escape from urban life.
With 48 boutiques in the mainland, Hongkong, Macau, and Taiwan, Valentino has achieved an ambitious offline expansion in the Chinese market. In particular, the make has been reinforcing its presence in key cities such as Chengdu, Wuhan, and Guangzhou. A new store has just been opened in Shenzhen Bay MixC mall this week.
Earlier this year, CEO Jacopo Venturini disclosed that the business’ revenue was $1.36 billion (9.75 billion RMB) in 2021, posting a 41 percent jump in sales last year at constant exchange rates and a 3 percent growth compared to the pre-pandemic levels of 2019. Based on this momentum, in April the organization appointed Janice Lam as its chief executive of China (directly reporting to Venturini). Lam’s lead on expansion in the region will focus on “inspiring a sense of belonging, company passion, retail engagement, and client experience,” as detailed in Valentino’s statement. The leadership has been validated by the smart color marketing strategy behind the Pink PP campaign. By crafting an upgraded brand image with both modern and legacy attributes, Valentino should expect the payoff of its repositioning strategy.