With the boom in consumer repatriation in China, luxury brands are focusing more on location with their new campaigns. Although the country has experienced clusters of pandemic epidemics in some provinces and cities, the continent’s offline activities have fully resumed this year. This positive trajectory has enabled luxury players to deploy physical pop-ups and exhibitions alongside their digital activations on social networks and e-commerce platforms.
In 2021, participating in traditional and modern festivals in China has become crucial for brands wishing to maintain their relevance to local luxury buyers. However, as the festival marketing arena has become more crowded and more competitive, it has been harder for brands to stand out.
Therefore, in addition to the typical festivals like Chinese New Year and various Valentine’s Day, discerning gamers have put more effort into developing a cohesive storytelling based on the house’s legacy. Many also began to diversify their celebrity collaborations in the second half of the year after governments began cracking down on toxic celebrities and fan cultures.
Below you will find Daily Jing selections for the best luxury brand campaigns of 2021. For more of our 2021 reviews and highlights, read here.
Louis Vuitton celebrated the 200th anniversary of the founder of his house with a local touch
In August, Louis Vuitton launched a dedicated “Louis 200” project, made up of digital initiatives celebrating the 200th anniversary of the founder of the house. The house has launched a mobile game called LOUIS LE JEU, which is only available in two languages: English and Chinese. Players travel to explore the legacy of the house and collect as many monogrammed candles as possible while accessing more levels. Additionally, between August and November, a series of short videos featuring local creative talent was released to tell the story of Vuitton’s legendary founder. These digital initiatives have made the heritage house more accessible to the general public by allowing them to discover the rich history of the house in an interactive and fun way.
Gucci experimented with podcast content marketing
In honor of Gucci’s 100th anniversary, the house invited promising musical talent to look at its enduring culture through the prism of pop music. The centennial series is inspired by the number 22705 (the number of songs containing the word GUCCI written between 1921 and today) and focuses on two initiatives specific to China: a video campaign and a podcast program. Both projects feature vocalist Jin Au-Yeung (professionally known by MC Jin) and Ricky from click15. This experience showed how Gucci’s relationships with celebrities tend to be more holistic, going beyond just creating campaign images on social platforms.
Max Mara recontextualized brand narratives in China
From September to December, Max Mara launched a special campaign featuring his iconic Teddy to celebrate his 70th birthday. The campaign featured a mini WeChat program with interactive user experiences to explain the heritage of the house. Proposed and executed by the Chinese in-house team, this savvy initiative cleverly transformed a WeChat mini program into a branded content marketing vehicle. In addition to the digital program, Max Mara has launched pop-up stores with the same Teddy’s Time Travel theme in 14 Chinese cities = since mid-September.
Prada seduced by market takeover in Shanghai
In September, Prada transformed both Rong Zhai – the brand’s social and cultural hub in Shanghai – and a fruit and vegetable market in the Wulumuqi Road district through the brand’s designs and prints from its fall collection. / winter 2021. In the latter, even simple food items were packaged in exquisite Prada packaging. The unexpected takeover of the brand impressed the young local audience, prompting many to visit this market and experience the brand with dynamism and emotion.
Luxury brands opted for safer approaches on this year’s Chinese Valentine’s Day
The story of Chinese Valentine’s Day (also known as the Qixi festival) has overtaken the legend behind this traditional festival, as today’s younger generations have added modern touches to it. Unlike daring aesthetic experiments that could spark cultural controversies, this year’s campaigns have opted for safer approaches. In addition to top players like Louis Vuitton, Dior and Prada, Valentino’s campaign featured romantic and playful backdrops, while Miu Miu’s focus on Personal Obsession clearly appealed to the local audience.