Campaigns in China
Over the past few years, we can see that increasingly more Chinese businesses are aware of the importance of campaigns. In this blog post, I will present three interesting examples to provide you with a taste of Chinese business campaigns.
Becoming Famous Overnight
VANCL is a Chinese online retailer, which mainly sells clothes (t-shirts and polos) and accessories. The company became well known in China since a successful advertising campaign launched in 2010.
In July 2010, the company produced a series of outdoors adverts to promote its brand image. In particular, the adverts were all based upon a special style of copywriting, which joked about mainstream cultures and highlighted a unique subcultural identity.
A “VANCL Style” advertising copy typically comprises the following features:
- a company logo on the top right corner;
- an image of a brand spokesperson, who is young and famous among teenagers and young adults;
- a series of contradictory descriptions of the brand spokesperson, which then ends with the statement “I am (the name of the spokesperson)”
The spokesperson in this case is Han Han, a famous young writer in China. The copy describes him as “Love Internet, love freedom, love getting up late, love midnight food stall, love car race, and love a 29 RMB T-shirt, I’m not a flagship, I don’t speak for anybody, I’m Han Han, I only represent myself, I’m one of you, I’m VANCL”.
The campaign by VANCL was probably the most influential in China over the past few years. The advertising copy was named as “VANCL Style” by advocators. It followed Chinese post-80s and post-90s’ (similar to Generation Y in the West) unique way of self-presentation and therefore was accepted by these younger generations. Even though the campaign was mainly organised offline, the copy was shared extensively among social media users and soon became viral on the Internet. VANCL’s campaign is a very good example that shows how a campaign can make a company famous overnight in China.
Blurred Boundary Between Online and Offline
The example of VANCL also reveals an increasingly more significant trend in campaigns in China: the boundary between online and offline has been blurred. The so-called “VANCL Style” adverts were initially distributed offline through outdoors advertising boards, but they eventually became famous because of social media. Today, most of the businesses in China are aware of this tendency and start planning their campaign strategy with a comprehensive consideration of online and offline. Here I present a fairly recent example from Fudan University.
Fudan University is a top university in China. Recently, the university organised a campaign of events to promote its 110th anniversary. The most interesting one is presented in a Weibo post updated by the university’s official account on 27th May 2015.
The post reported a series of flash mobs organised by the university’s student union. It shared photos and videos of the related activities, including how the students organised the flash mobs and what exactly happened in the scenes. The post was very popular, which has been shared by more than 2,000 times and attracted over 5,000 comments within a week.
Engaging with Audiences
Xiamen University provides a good example of the ways in which Chinese universities organise campaigns with consideration of both online and offline. In particular, this example emphasises audiences’ participation.
On 19th May 2015, the university’s official Weibo account created a Hashtag topic, encouraging students to share pictures of their graduation ceremony. Within a month, the hashtag topic became a trending topic on Weibo, which attracted more than 300,000 followers. Many of the creative entries were shared and distributed by students. These became resources to promote the university as well. In this example, we can see the rise of a campaign era in Chinese market.
If you would like help planning your next campaign strategy for a Chinese audience, please get in touch.