China Marketing Weekly: China Marketing Campaigns That Failed

Fri, 02/09/2018 - 18:06
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Hello!

This week we’re talking about Chinese New Year, of course, and WeMedia (WeChat & Weibo) updates. Read also about marketing campaigns that didn’t work in China and find out what Apple does to win the Chinese people’s hearts back.
Also, make sure you check our latest blog post. Ivo, our guest author, talks about the problems Chinese students face when applying to study abroad. Do you know what mistakes are often made by Western institutions on their way to reaching Chinese students? Read more here.

Chinese New Year
As there’s only one week left til Chinese New Year, all the shop windows look like someone just spilt some red paint on them, queues in supermarkets get tremendous - seriously, I already gave up on shopping on the weekends. And all the retailers, online and offline, get crazy with promotions. Our latest addiction in the office? Alipay app has a new feature - it encourages you to scan 福 (which means luck) character to collect unique cards. There are five of them and the more sets you collect, the bigger your red envelope might get. Moreover, instead of 福, you can also scan some logos, like the Starbucks one, in order to get some discounts.

Taobao just announced an exclusive cooperation with CCTV's for Chinese New Year. They will host special "Spring Festival Gala" this year. There will be four different ways for the audience to get red packets. Moreover, Taobao app will be updated with a whole new theme, just for the evening. It will include a real-time interactive program - they promised to feature a famous star and black technology, but details are yet to be revealed. - Read more (Chinese)
E-commerce
We often talk about Millennials in our newsletter, as they’re China’s main spending force. But let’s not forget other generations! Alibaba just released a customized version of Taobao app for elderly people. It’s simplified and can be linked to child’s account. All the viewed items may be easily shared with children and even paid by them. As there are over 200 million elderly people in China, and the number is growing, it’s surely a great group to target. - Read more (English)

WeChat & Weibo
Apple has officially launched their WeChat store, just in time for Chinese New Year. After losing market share to Asian brands and the issue concerning tipping on WeChat, they finally decided to catch up. The first article published on their WeChat account is about a short video they posted on Youku. It’s called "Three Minutes" and was directed by Peter Chan. The video tells a story of a Chinese New Year reunion, and as the timing was just perfect, it got many shares on social media. It is said to be entirely shot with the iPhone X. It’s a good way of promoting the products and accessories people can now get directly in their WeChat store.

Oh, and from now on, 41 Apple’s retail stores in mainland China will accept a new payment method, Alipay. - Read more (Chinese)

In last week’s newsletter we mentioned that Weibo’s “top trending” list got suspended, remember? Well, it’s now back, but it does not look the same anymore. It’s 100% compliant with the country’s regulations. So, the top searched topics are focused around “Chinese New Year reunion”, celebrity news and gossips are long gone. It undoubtedly reflects how much power China’s administration has over public opinion and perspective.
A new update on WeChat’s public accounts. You can now edit articles that are already published. Don’t get too excited though. Each article may be edited once, and you can change up to five words. - Read more (Chinese)
Other
If you have ever taken a train in China, you probably know that train stations here are not as easily accessible as in Europe, for example. Before you even enter the building, your ticket, ID and luggage need to be scanned. But apparently, it was not enough. Starting with Chinese New Year travel season, policemen at China’s train station will wear special glasses with built-in facial recognition feature, connected straight to a police database. It’s been reported that just in 2018 they managed to arrest at least seven suspected criminals and 26 fake ID holders thanks to the system. - Read more (English)
More and more foreign companies encounter backlash from China’s government or netizens. The brand that got to the spotlight last week was Mercedes-Benz, highly praised in China so far. What did they do to offend Chinese netizens? Well, they quoted the Dalai Lama in an ad posted on their Instagram page. The company, of course, apologised and promised they would pay more attention to understanding their customers’ feelings. In some comments on the company’s Weibo you may read though, that apologies are not enough. The Dalai Lama got even compared to Hitler. - Read more (English)
I’ll just remind you to be very careful with the content you publish, and I don’t only mean campaigns targeting China market. Mercedes-Benz ad was posted on Instagram which is in fact banned in China, and yet they had to face the consequences.
Some ads data: Chinese watch ads for about 24 minutes a day. 26% of the time belongs to Internet ads, 21% to tv ads and 19% to elevator ads. The fastest growing area turns out to be movie ads (25.5%), followed by elevator commercials (20.4%) and elevator posters (18.8%). - Read more (Chinese)
Haidilao Hot Pot, a giant of the catering industry, just recalled the announcement from December according to which customers could have brought their own ingredients to the hot pot restaurant. The company believed customers would only bring some of the ingredients, but they went all in, bringing veggies, tofu, fish, drinks etc. As they only had to pay for the soup and seasoning, an income per client dropped from around 30$ to 10$. Moreover, the restaurant chain could no longer control the food safety and therefore cancelled the promotion. - Read more (Chinese)
One more thing! Chinese-speakers, don’t forget to join our weekly live-streaming on Friday! If you’re watching on your mobile, download Yingke or Zoom app. For the desktop users, we’ll share a direct Zoom link before we start. Add us on WeChat or follow on social media to not miss it! :-)

Ok, that's all for today. See you next week!
 

 

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