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It is the largest annual celebration in the fastest growing luxury market in the world. The Chinese Lunar New Year fell on February 12 this year, and the festivities lasted for 16 days. The list of the most popular luxury brands on WeChat for the New Year period was led by Lanvin, Moschino and Burberry, according to Vogue Business research.
For the coming of the Year of the Ox, international luxury brands have re-invested heavily in CNY-related products and courtship campaigns for Chinese consumers, with an increasing number of promotions in the digital focus. Vogue Business analyzed which campaigns stood out on social networks and the WeChat daily messaging platform – with useful teachings for all.
Our analysis of CNY luxury brand campaigns is based on the WeChat Index, a public trend-measuring tool developed by Tencent for China’s WeChat. The search volume relating to fashion and luxury brands from January to February can be seen as replacing the popularity of brands with Chinese consumers during the CNY holidays.
French luxury brand Lanvin, owned by Chinese conglomerate Fosun Group, has experienced the fastest increase in the number of searches on WeChat. Lanvin’s CNY campaign in 2021 harnessed the power of four young male film and music idols – Cheng Yi, Wang Anyu, Chen You Wei and Yu Menglong – who dressed up in Lanvin to promote the brand’s CNY offering.
Lanvin aired a campaign on various Chinese social media channels, including Weibo and Xiaohongshu, to maximize impact, while its prominence on WeChat coincided with Lanvin’s first use of WeChat Channels – a short feature of the app. The brand released its first short video on WeChat on January 25, in which Cheng Yi greets his fans with Lanvin’s CNY message, followed by similar videos by other celebrities. In his official account, Lanvin posted five regular posts to further promote CNY products, encouraging interested readers to order at the mini-program store.
It is also likely that local street fashion medium Nowre, who supported his chunky Lanvin Curb sneakers (pictured above) from the Fall / Winter 2020 show, contributed to Lanvin’s popularity in the search. Released on February 2, the report notes that Lanvin’s sneakers have become new favorite fashionistas and trendsetters since launching in September.
Moschino came in second in the percentage growth of WeChat searches closely behind Lanvin. While Lanvin relied on Chinese celebrities to generate media buzz, Moschino created around CNY narratives based on his collection of Year of the Ox capsules and a related cartoon ox character.
On WeChat, the Italian brand announced its first ever mini-game, a simplified version of Super Maria with Moschino’s ox as the main character running on the “Mooschino” runway. The game was presented on January 19 in a regular WeChat post. Readers land on the mini-game page by following the link provided in the post. Personal information, including name, cell phone number, and email address, is required before access is granted. Once inside, Moschin’s creative director Jeremy Scott greets Chinese players in his virtual cartoon figure. Players complete three rounds of games (or runways) in Los Angeles, New York and Milan. The top 30 players were rewarded with an exclusive edition of the Moschino Mahjong set, and others have the opportunity to collect coupon coupons.
“The ultimate goal of the Moschino CNY mini-game was to channel Internet traffic offline during Chinese New Year,” says Chenyin Pan, CEO of Fireworks / Adiacent China, the agency that helped develop the game. “Customers can collect coupons to buy through the game and use them in Moschino stores in China, helping the brand increase foot turnover and generate sales.”
Moschino’s first mini-game WeChat, with the character of an ox on the Mooschino runway.
Burberry’s high ranking is not surprising given the brand’s large investment in CNY. In January, the brand released a mini-film to celebrate the Year of the Ox, starring brand ambassadors Zhou Dongyu and Song Weilong, two movie stars with massive fan bases. On January 27, Burberry distributed free movie posters to five designated offline stores across China, available to fans who have completed member registration on WeChat.
Burberry has also used the passion of Chinese mobile users to collect luxury red envelopes (or hong bao in Chinese pinyin) on WeChat. The brand has invited four Chinese illustrators to work together to create cover images for Burberry red envelopes, published in two series. Users were asked to leave a message on Burberry’s WeChat account before collecting their red envelopes, which significantly increased the search for names and customer engagement.
“The emergence of WeChat hong bao because the engagement channel emphasizes the power of digital marketing engagement over other forms of marketing, ”says Thomas Piachaud, a luxury expert and former director of consulting at Kantar. “It’s able to combine gamification, reactions to dopamine, interesting content, social media sharing and convenience.”
Burberry red envelopes designed by four Chinese illustrators.
According to official Tencent statistics, more than 50 million digital red envelopes of 60 different brands were offered to Chinese users on WeChat in February. Piachaud further notes how WeChat hong bao they help brands capture new customer details for their CRM data systems, as well as serve existing ones with a creative CNY offering. WeChat brands charge only one RMB per open red envelope, which is a relatively low customer cost.
Versace and Miu Miu
Versace and Miu Miu took fourth and fifth place on the WeChat Index list. In early January, Versace announced the release of capsules to celebrate the Year of the Ox in which Ren Jialun, a famous Chinese actor, performed. At WeChat, the brand also competed in digital red envelopes, sending headlines via a mini program. Miu Miu has collaborated with Chinese models and KOLs to pose for CNY products, ranging from handbags, fragrances and fragrances, footwear to clothing.
Key to take away: By drawing lessons from the leading runners on the WeChat Index list, brands should explore the potential of features within apps like WeChat Channel, mini-games and digital envelopes. Celebrity power remains one of the most powerful tools for international brands looking to create local relevance and improve visibility among China’s emerging consumer generation.
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