CBI News Wrap: Branding the Mid-Autumn Festival

Avengers mooncakes were among the entertainment collaborations for the Mid-Autumn Festival

News From China

Brands turned out in force for the Mid-Autumn Festival on September 13. The big show on TV was CCTV’s gala variety show, exclusively sponsored for the sixth year by the aptly named Blue Moon laundry detergent brand. The brand introduced an upgraded product for the holiday, and gave viewers the opportunity to win prizes during the broadcast. Here’s a roundup of other successful marketing campaigns from Alipay, KFC, and others. 

Entertainment-themed mooncake collaborations abounded this year, in line with the broader trend for branded mooncakes that reaches into the luxury and cultural tourism sectors. Disney princesses and Avengers, Pokemon’s Pikachu, and Illumination Entertainment’s Minions are among the characters appearing on mooncake boxes around China. JD.com reported that its mooncakes sales revenues were up 200 percent this year, with novelty mooncake sales up 300 percent and IP branded mooncakes up 400 percent.

Denmark’s Tuborg Beer seeks to reach China’s millennials and Gen Z consumers with a multi-pronged strategy combining music, celebrity endorsements, and video. The 139-year-old Danish brewery, owned by Carlsberg, has been building a music industry presence over the past three years with a global music collaboration platform, Tuborg Open, and recently tapped singer Henry Lau to expand its visibility in China. Lau is collaborating with another group in Tuborg’s stable, the Britain’s Clean Bandit, to release a single in English and Chinese, “Open to More,” with an accompanying music video. The brewer also brought the artists to Beijing “on shuffle,” a concept encouraging young people to get away from algorithm-driven recommendations and adopt a more “random” approach in their listening and leisure habits, and released short videos of their trip.

Youku produced the custom fitness-themed reality show “Building Your Life”  (头号型动派) for Amway’s Nutrilite line of supplements, allowing for deep brand integration throughout the production process. Nutrilite products are used to support three celebrities throughout their 60-day fitness journeys, which includes the use of Nutrilite-assigned dieticians to develop individualized dietary plans for each and popular activities such as running, Zumba, and Crossfit. The show acknowledges social anxiety surrounding weight loss and aims to emphasize education on developing habits for healthy living rather than extreme diets. 

China Construction Bank planned a well-received brand integration with the art and culture talk show “Hello Art” (你好!艺术), which airs on Bytedance’s streaming video platform Xigua Video. CCB’s short video promoting the series dives into the mysterious identity of the title figure in the classic painting “The Spring Travel of the Guo State Queen” (虢国夫人游春图), which dates from the Northern Song period (960-1127). The clip brings the past into the present to emphasize the convenience offered by CCB’s ETC products for today’s travelers. 

Data from CSM Media Research provides insight China’s short-video market and the current trends:

  • Nearly 60% of online video audiences watch short videos.
  • More than 75% of the short video audience is under the age of 45.
  • Most short video viewers spend two to three hours online every day.
  • Humor and news are the two most popular categories for short video.
  • WeChat is the top app for short video interactions, and other popular platforms include Bytedance’s Douyin (TikTok) and Jinri Toutiao, Tencent Video, and iQiyi. 
  • More than 25% of short video viewers pay to watch online content, and that rate is increasing.

News in English

  • So long summer, hello reports on the season’s viewing trends. On streaming video, Youku is gaining on market-leading rivals iQiyi and Tencent Video. It had the top variety program (“Street Dance of China”) and the most highly acclaimed drama series, “The Longest Day in Chang’An.” And while iQiyi released more films online than both Youku and Tencent combined, Youku scored blockbusters in this category as well. Radii
  • Another report on dramas on both streaming sites and TV notes that the total number of series fell slightly this year, from 34 to 31, with more original content that was not adapted from other sources. Modern dramas will predominate for the rest of the year as costume dramas have fallen out of favor with regulators. Group M
  • A broad set of draft internet regulations was issued to promote a “healthy” and “positive” online environment, including a directive for recommendation algorithms to avoid promoting content that “undermines national unity, disseminates false information, subverts the national regime, or disrupts economic order.” Technode
  • Not trending on Tik Tok: Hong Kong’s protests, raising concerns over Beijing-influenced censorship that could spur calls from Washington for greater scrutiny into the short-video app. Washington Post
  • Jack Ma retired as executive chairman of Alibaba last week at the company’s 20th anniversary gala, which coincided with his 55th birthday. He went out like a rock star before a stadium full of 60,000 associates and employees. WSJ

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