China Marketing Weekly: How Much Does It Take to Irritate Chinese Consumers?
This week, we talk about a vaccine scandal and a very confusing Weibo post that cleverly acted as a whole marketing campaign. Also, have you heard Douyin is launching a platform matching KOLs to advertisers?
Trending On Social Media
Vaccine scandal becomes a number one topic on Chinese social media. Parents say they lost trust in the system after 113,000 vaccines sold to health institutions were proven to be of substandard quality. Some parents claim they'll never buy Chinese-produced vaccines again. - Read more (English)
It’s not good news for infant-related industries in China. The Chinese still haven’t recovered after the milk powder scandal in 2008, and now they’ve been struck again.
How To Get Attention
Laoxiangji acquired a Yonghe Soymilk brand. Wait, what? What are these brands? Well, Yonghe is a very popular chain store in China, but where did Laoxiangji come from? And how did it manage to buy the entirety of the Yonghe chain? Weibo users unknowingly initiated a marketing campaign out of confusion.
The reality of the situation is: Laoxiangji acquired a small store in Wuhan that is a copycat of the famous Yonghe brand. Then, profiting on the similarities, they published an intentionally misleading Weibo announcement and used KOLs to spread the word. Confused Weibo users shared and discussed and BAM! Overnight they grew from an anonymous brand into one of the biggest trending topics in the public strata. - Read more (Chinese)
A lesson here: make sure your brand name is properly registered and your social profiles verified to avoid a similar situation. Foreign brands, such as Starbucks, have had to face similar situations in China before.
The spot released by Zhihu for the World Cup was named the most irritating TV commercial of 2018 in China (they repeated “Zhihu” nine times in 15 seconds!). Some netizens even claim it ruined their World Cup experience and they deleted Zhihu app. But the ad’s creator says: doesn't matter if they loved it or hated it, everyone will remember the brand's name, and that’s what counts. - Read more (English)
Food delivery company will now deliver… clothes and home supplies too. Meituan signed a deal with Heilan Home (HLA). They promise deliveries from HLA’s offline stores to customers’ homes within an hour. - Read more (Chinese)
Apparently, Meituan wants to take them all - both services and competitors. Having started with food delivery, they moved to ride-sharing and now want to compete with Taobao and JD.com. The delivery from the e-commerce platforms take 1-2 days- not an hour; so, I guess that’s a good move.
JD.com moves to Germany. The e-commerce giant, also the biggest competitor of Alibaba’s Taobao, plans on entering the European market. They announced they’d open their German branch by the end of 2018 and then move to other European countries. - Read more (Chinese)
WeChat marks 1 million mini-programs and 2,000 mini-games released by 1.5 million developers in 16 months. As the total number of mini-programs users grows to 600 mln, they’ve become a must-have feature for brands in China. - Read more (Chinese)
Douyin will launch a platform to match influencers to businesses. Advertisers will be able to place orders on the Star Map Platform and will be connected with KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders) that fits their budget and requirements. After it’s launched, the platform will be the only way to place ads on Douyin. Similar features are already offered by Kuaishou and Weibo. - Read more (Chinese / English)
Facebook and Google try to find a way back to China. Facebook just set up a subsidiary in Hangzhou. Instead of re-launching its social platform, the company is looking “to bring its innovation know-how to China” and will aim at Chinese companies that want to advertise overseas. - Read more (in English / Chinese)
In the meantime, Google just released its first WeChat mini-game. It’s an AI-based version of charades. Google clearly tried to work closer with Tencent and find a way to be more involved in China. - Read more (English)
Baidu will now have its own domain name. The government has just approved their application, so we’ll be seeing the “.baidu” URLs soon enough. - Read more (Chinese)