07 SEP. 2012

Digital in China: Smartphone War, dENiZEN, Lancôme

The smartphone war heats up in China

A string of recent news stories shows that China’s smartphone market is entering a new phase in its development with major manufacturers and local players vying to capture a bigger share of a market that will according to market intelligence firm IDC represent over a quarter of the global smartphone market.

Data from analytics company Flurry shows that China has over 128 million active iOS and Android devices, a figure up 401% compared to 2011. This figure does not include Symbian and Windows Mobile powered smartphones whose share of the market is nonetheless slipping fast. Most interestingly, the prime drivers of the market’s development are T2 and T3+ cities where declining prices are putting smartphones within the reach of the masses.

As the customer base becomes larger, local manufacturers are increasing their share through cheap models (often developed conjointly with local tech giants such as Alibaba or Baidu) that are gaining popularity amongst mid to low income populations. Toward the mid and high ends of the market, Lenovo (who saw sales increase 44 fold this year), ZTE, Huawei and Xiaomi are giving Apple, HTC and Samsung a run for their money by leveraging their understanding of local requirements and distribution channels.

These figures should of course come as no surprise as mobile has become in 2012 the most popular way of accessing the internet. For brands, the democratization of quality smartphones opens up new ways to integrate mobile more deeply into their touch-points mix.

dENiZEN engages with fans through iPad game

In 2010, Levi’s launched dENiZEN, a sub-brand specifically targeted at Asian markets and China in particular whose cheaper products and trendier image would help Levi’s expand its presence in the target countries.

In keeping with its casual tone and fun image, dENiZEN just released a branded iPad game that allows the user to manage his own jeans’ boutique. The game features retro-style graphics and puts the player into the store manager’s shoes, forcing him to deal with a wide range of difficult clients in order to keep his store running and profitable.

As the player advances, he can expand his product range and transform his shop into a chain. Through social media integration, players can also share their progress with their friends and unlock virtual and physical prizes.

dENiZEN shows us here how brands can take advantage of tablet’s richer features to promote more engaging, entertaining experiences.

Lancôme promotes Doll Eyes Bar campaign through Sina Weibo

Lancôme has recently launched a national “Lancôme Doll Eyes Bar” (兰蔻大眼娃娃Bar) campaign to promote its new Doll Eyes mascara. The campaign features a themed bus travelling throughout China to give interactive presentations about makeup and mascara. The campaign is featured prominently on the brand’s Chinese website. By sharing the campaign information on Sina Weibo, users will gain the opportunity to participate in a lucky draw and win Lancôme products.

In addition, Lancôme has created a special campaign page to boost interactivity with consumers. The online app is based on a 6 steps process from filling in personal information, creating doll-eyed avatar to watching videos and uploading pictures, all of which require sharing on Sina Weibo in order to participate in the final lucky draw. By completing the six steps, netizens get to learn about the product and participate in the event without going to the one in real life. Popular Youtuber Michelle Phan, who is also the official makeup artist of Lancôme, is also featured on the page.

With this operation Lancôme shows us how the impact of real life events can be multiplied through digital operations that echo and support the events.

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