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21 MAR. 2014

Digital in China: WeChat, Baileys, MaxFactor

WeChat opens up payment functionality

Ever since WeChat’s launch we’ve been calling for brands to view it as a customer support and e-commerce platform rather than as a marketing channel. Recent news only confirms the potential of WeChat as a disruptor in the e-commerce industry.

Two weeks ago, Tencent announced that it would open up the payment functionality to all brands, making the dream of a cheap, quality m-commerce experience available to any company with a service account. The functionality works for both online payments and in-store payments via QR codes.

NB: it should be noted that as of the writing of this article the PBOC (China’s Central Bank) had announced a temporary ban on offline QR code payments pending the approval of new regulations. We fully expect the ban to be lifted in the coming weeks.

The implications of this move are tremendous for all brands that can now quickly and cheaply establish an m-commerce presence for China and leverage WeChat’s huge base of about 300 million monthly active users. Through their service account, brands can effectively create fully integrated platforms that integrate marketing, loyalty schemes, campaigns and commerce in one convenient place.



Baileys plays the BFF card with Chinese girls

Over the past year Baileys has been particularly successful in China thanks to its strategy of targeting women. The brand positioned itself as the go to drink for ladies’ nights out and female get together and has carved itself a nice niche in the competitive liquor market.

To further drive its point home, Baileys recently launched a campaign based on the relationship between in a girl and her best friend. One of the defining characteristics of Chinese female consumers is the special bond they develop with their best friends. Having grown up with no brothers or sisters around them, best friends occupy a special place in their life as confidents and companions.  Baileys’ latest campaign adroitly capitalizes on this.

Called “spread your winds”, the campaign features 3 mini movies showing 3 stories of girlfriends supporting each other and allowing each other to fulfill their dreams and reach their full potential. Whether it is opening a shop together, designing the perfect wedding cake or supporting the other’s career; each of these movies show different aspects of the BFF relationship.



As a call to action, Baileys’ encourages its fans to post their own stories of them and their best friends providing each other support and encouragement during key life moments. As of the writing of this article, over 32000 stories were posted on the Weibo application.

Baileys’ example shows how digital brand content must be based on strong consumer insights and hit an emotional cord to achieve maximum impact. It also shows that apps are becoming increasingly important in driving interactions on Sina Weibo.

Max Factor turns smog into gold

Air pollution has been one of the most important online trending topics of the past few months. With everybody sharing his experience of coping with the smog, many brands are wondering how they can integrate this theme into their content strategy.

Max Factor has the answer to that question with its latest Weibo campaign called “Smog, give me back my beautiful face!” The idea for this campaign came after the brand noticed a correlation between pollution levels and sales of eye makeup. Indeed when half your face is covered by an anti pollution mask, your eyes are all that remain for you to make an impression.

On a dedicated Weibo application, fans of the brand can give their own tips to shine in the smog and post their pictures of them wearing a face mask and using makeup to make the best out of a bad situation. The also features a video in which a famous makeup specialist provides his own expert tips for smog weather beauty.



With this campaign Max Factor shows how important it is for brands to spot the online trending topics that are relevant for them and be able to quickly produce content that reacts to these topics.


For more information about Chinese web culture, please view our presentation on China Connect“Losers, Bromance, Chicken & Beer - a journey into Chinese web culture”

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