Sneaker Con took place at the Guangzhou Poly World Trade Center on May 20 and 21. There were collaborations aplenty at the event, designed by creative director Jeff Hamilton and attended by 250 exhibitors.
Premium cognac brand Hennessy collaborated with artist Huang Yulong especially for the sneakerhead fest, producing an exhibition that featured a performance by dance collective Hood Kidz.
This week, we delve into Yulong’s Hennessy tie-up, as well as Shiseido’s latest China-dedicated launch, and how smartphone brand Xiaomi uses nostalgia marketing to connect with Chinese millennials.
To Summer x Shiseido
Date: June (date TBA)
Product: Crystal fragrance night cream
Social context: To Summer has 55,000 followers on Weibo and 159,300 on Xiaohongshu, a platform popular among Gen Z consumers, suggesting the younger cohort is its main consumer base. Shiseido has 3.81 million fans on Weibo, and substantially fewer, 322,000, on Xiaohongshu.
Verdict: Operating in China from its regional headquarters in Shanghai, Shiseido pays close attention to its Chinese consumer base. It’s even launched brands tailored just for the mainland, such as Aupres and Urara.
To Summer prides itself on producing scents that reference historical, Asian botanicals like osmanthus, gardenia, jasmine, orchid, honeysuckle, citrus, and bamboo, among others, making it an effective vehicle for Shiseido to authentically reach out to its Chinese consumers.
Furthermore, To Summer’s presence on Xiaohongshu, known for its younger audience demographic, is more extensive than on Weibo. Therefore, this collaboration will enable Shiseido to foster its relationships with younger consumers.
Hennessy x Huang Yulong
Date: May 20 and 21
Product: Sneaker Con 2023 Guangzhou Station “Cheer” exhibition
Social context: The event’s official hashtag on Weibo, #sneakercon广州#, has been read 400 million times, attracting 17 million views on the opening day alone, and it’s sparked 74,00 organic posts. The artist has just 376 followers on Xiaohongshu, and 1,740 on Instagram.
Verdict: Presenting at Sneaker Con is an effective way to connect with an audience of sneakerheads and streetwear fans. Huang is an emerging artist who combines art and hip-hop, making him the ultimate collaborator for a sneaker event.
A cognac label long synonymous with hip-hop and streetwear culture, Hennessy is capitalizing on its cultural associations by launching collabs with the likes of the NBA, Dior menswear creative director Kim Jones, and rapper A$AP Ferg. Participating in Sneakercon Guangzhou is an innovative way to maintain its connection with street culture, while simultaneously supporting emerging talent in one of its key markets.
This isn’t the first time Hennessy has worked with a Chinese artist, having released 888 limited edition decanters by Yan Pei-Ming for Lunar New Year in January this year.
Xiaomi x Disney
Date: Early June (date TBA)
Product: Limited edition Civi 3
Social context: Xiaomi boasts 28.46 million fans on Weibo. It’s yet to announce the collaboration via social media platforms.
Verdict: In celebration of Disney’s 100th anniversary, Chinese consumer electronics giant Xiaomi is releasing a Mickey Mouse mobile phone in collaboration with the entertainment conglomerate.
Having previously launched designs with the likes of BMW, Daniel Arsham, Leica Camera, and even Genshin Impact, Xiaomi has implemented a strong collaboration strategy in recent years, and connected to a range of consumer groups.
Working with the Mickey Mouse IP provides access to the mainstream market. Plus, a 2019 report from McKinsey stated that the post-1980s generation in China was the first group of consumers in the country to grow up with Mickey Mouse, and they account for over half of the mainland’s buyers of luxury.
Nostalgia sells, and the Mickey Mouse IP boosts its cultural relevance in the process, working with China’s rival to Apple.