More brands in China have embraced crossover marketing strategy to explore new customers. While crossover between brands and cultural institutions has seen a growing popularity in this country where national and cultural elements attached to a product have never been more important amid the guochao (or national wave) scene.
As the Mid-Autumn Festival is fast approaching, brands who want to leverage this trend are gearing up to showcase their dedication to Chinese heritage by infusing traditional culture into modern products.
Lyfen, known as Laiyifen in Chinese, which means “get one share”, is China’s biggest snack food retailer. For this year’s Mid-Autumn Festival marketing, the brand launches a campaign that “brings together the West and the East”.
In partnership with The Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met) – the largest art museum in New York, and Shanghai Museum which displays ancient Chinese art, Lyfen introduces gift mooncake boxes where mooncakes are printed with artworks collected in both museums such as the statuette of a hippopotamus called William at The Met and the Da Ke Ding, a 2000-year-old bronze tripod from Shanghai Museum. The package of the boxes is inspired by Vincent van Gogh’s painting Irises and Viewing moon by a plum tree by Yu Ji.
The product is endorsed by its brand ambassador Wang Yibo, a Chinese actor and a member of the South Korean-Chinese boyband UNIQ and it is released on Tmall’s Little Black Box, or Hey Box, the ecommerce platform’s gateway for product debuts.
Similarly, Häagen-Dazs China teams up with The Louvre Museum to introduce an ice-cream mooncake gift box that draws inspirations from artworks including Mona Lisa, Athena and Nike of Samothrace.
Unlike Lyfen whose festival campaign is largely based online, Häagen-Dazs opens an offline mini Louvre-themed Museum through Tmall Super Brand Day where participating brands are given a 24-hour period to offer unique experiences, flash sales and special offers on the Tmall storefront. The mini museum recreates some of the iconic collections at Louvre Museum while offering a virtual exhibition for visitors to view the real artwork through an immersive environment and engages participants with lucky drawings through Hey Drop, a feature on Tmall Little Black Box.
Despite the similar strategy, the outcome of the two campaigns turns out to be different. The overall engagement at Lyfen is seven times as many as that of Häagen-Dazs’s. There is also more content generated by top-tier KOLs in Lyfen’s campaign.
Compared to Lyfen whose campaign is clearer and more focused around this traditional festival, and delivers in a persistent manner, content on Häagen-Dazs’ Mid-Autumn Festival campaign seems to be distracting. Unlike Lyfen’s campaign slogan #来伊份礼遇东西#, or “A gift from Lyfen that brings together the West and the East”, which runs throughout its campaign, Häagen-Dazs’ #调出位宠自己# or “Mixing your own flavours and indulge yourself” is shared by several different campaigns. During its delivery of the campaign, its content is a mixture of posts about different collaborations and updates on other ice-cream products.
The use of brand ambassadors might also contribute to the difference. Although Wang Yibo has nearly twice as many followers as Häagen-Dazs’s brand ambassador Liu Xinyu does, the singer who is at the centre of the Chinese girl group THE9 shows similar ability to drive online engagement.
By including Wang in a campaign video, Lyfen integrates the resource of its brand ambassador with campaign’s theme. Whereas Häagen-Dazs, rather than leveraging the singer’s fanbase in this promotion, creates another campaign that features Liu for the same festival, which does not show any link to its collaboration with Louvre Museum. This distraction has also downplayed the traditional cultural value of this festival campaign. And its mixed messages may have caused confusion to its audience and therefore, leads to a less effective outcome.
Both brands have tapped into the guochao trend and have taken crossover marketing to a higher level by collaborating with western cultural institutions for the traditional Mid-Autumn Festival. While by cleverly imprinting artworks into mooncakes, Lyfen’s campaign has successfully combined resources from its cultural institution partners. In the meantime, its effective use of brand ambassador also enhances the engagement of the campaign and allows a clear and persistent delivery.