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  • Writer's pictureAkina Wong

How Vans China wins over skateboarders as more young Chinese get on rollers?

Updated: Sep 28, 2021

The Olympic debut of skateboarding has redefined the sport as a symbol of “young, trend and freedom”. With more young Chinese turning into skateboarding, sportswear brands in China starts to leverage the trend to win over skateboarding fans.

| Tmall Super Brand Day Promotion

In a recent campaign for Tmall Super Brand Day, Vans China brings the sport to Chinese skaters by creating a skateboarding-themed pop-up foot gym at TX Huaihai, the Youth Energy Centre in Shanghai.

The venue is equipped with tracks and visitors are invited to experience skateboarding on site. Under the slogan of “范得着吗” or “Is it worth it?”, the offline theme gym is companied with a short film featuring Fan Zhiyi, a Chinese football coach and former international footballer, whose surname was also adapted to the campaign’s slogan as its [Fan] pronunciation is close to the brand name Vans.

Through a time-travel story, where the footballer met the childhood self whose passion is skateboarding and tried to pursue the young boy to switch to football, the video wants to convey a message that is “it is always worth sticking to your true love”.

Having had Shanghai Opera running through in the background in the video, the campaign also taps into the guochao trend, recreating a scene of an old Shanghai in the 1980s. The nostalgia edge has also been infused into the theme gym, where objects such as old stereo and TV box, blackboard, chess table and pedicab are displayed. And the site is surrounded by grey-bricked wall that is decorated with old-fashioned posters.

To enrich visiting experience, Fan takes the role of the chairman of the gym, sharing experience in footcare. Foot bath chairs are also made available for visitors, and skateboarding fans are given the opportunity to DIY (Do it Yourself) their sports shoes.

| Result

The official video published on Vans China Weibo has been liked by more than 7,000 and the hashtag #范得着吗 has drawn more than 130M views on Weibo China’s one of the most popular micro-blogging site. 76% of content are created by top-tier KOLs with shares by the footballer on his own Weibo accounts garnering over 6,000 likes, data analysed from Vfluencer shows.

The campaign also attracted some fashion bloggers to scout around the gym and shared their on-site photos on their socials. Notably Chen Shu who has more than one million followers on Weibo and Yan Yubo with 1.8 million. The two’s shares in relation to this campaign saw 2,394 likes and 5,736 likes respectively.

The campaign has also been reported by Vogue Business China, calling it a “surprising” marketing initiative.


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