A record 34 brands participated as sponsors of this year’s Golden Rooster and Hundred Flowers Film Festival, which took place from November 19-23 in the coastal city of Xiamen, wrapping up with the ceremony for the domestic film industry’s most important awards.
While Chinese brands and local Xiamen firms dominated the ranks of sponsors, Audi, Chevrolet, Hennessy, and Voss were among the Western names supporting the festival in various ways. However, the ongoing risks faced by foreign brands were highlighted with the reversal in fortunes for two major European fashion houses. Initially, it appeared that Versace had staged a major comeback in China when it announced that it would be the exclusive fashion sponsor for the festival, just a few months after the brand became a pariah in the country over a T-shirt design suggesting that Hong Kong and Macao were separate countries. But Versace’s return to good graces was very short-lived: the brand’s WeChat announcement of its sponsorship soon disappeared, and rival Dior was seen listed on sponsor page of the festival’s website. The LVMH-owned Dior has also been the subject of controversy in China over its use of a map that excluded Taiwan during a recent presentation, and it was subsequently removed from the sponsor list, with the end result that no fashion brand sponsored the festival.
Although Dior did not prevail as an official sponsor, a number of celebrities, including Zhang Xueyinm Wang Junkai and Huang Jingyu, wore the brand on the red carpet and in the magazine-style fashion shoots that accompanied the event, while no major stars were seen wearing Versace. Dior’s position may have been boosted by its status as part of the LVMH Group, which also includes festival sponsor Hennessy.
As for other event sponsors, they can be divided into several key groups, offering guidance on the types of opportunities available for brands interested in supporting film festivals in China. Below we look at how the event’s brand sponsors lined up under six categories.
These brands had direct brand placement and exposure during the festival, and all were major state-owned corporations, signalling that the top sponsorship opportunities for such a high-profile event will not be available to other types of businesses.
- ITG Group: Title sponsor
- ITG Holdings: Chief strategic partner
- Construction Bank of China (Xiamen branch): Partner
These brands focused on conducting various activities around the festival, with a particular emphasis on campaigns that included entertainment content such as short brand films.
- Hennessy: During the festival, the exclusive alcohol sponsor screened its short brand film, The Seven Worlds” (七重奇境 ), directed by Ridley Scott.
- Wuliangye: While Henessy was the exclusive alcohol sponsor, Wuliangye was designated the official baijiu brand of the festival, and it hosted a dinner event as a title sponsor.
- Migu: The China Mobile-owned short video app was a strategic partner and exclusive 5G sponsor. Migu designed a rooster-catching game for the festival and invited celebrities involved in the event to play and share videos of their participation on the platform.
- Huawei Mate30: Huawei sponsored the mobile phone competition section of the film festival and hosted screenings of the films in select cities. Huawei also screened its ongoing series of films shot on the Mate30 phones, including “Badain Jaran.” LINK
- Jinyuan Group: The investment and business partner of the festival provided funding for the event and created a drone performance for the festival.
- XiamenAir: The official airline partner added Golden Rooster branding on some of its flights, and activities to promote the festival were held on these flights.
Product collaboration sponsors
Several brands released products featuring the IP of the Golden Rooster and Hundred Flowers Film Festival.
- Intretech: Exclusive technology support partner
- Empereur Tea: Exclusive tea sponsor
- Xin Si Hai: Official snack gift box sponsor
These brands that provided goods and services to support the festival’s operations. However, apart from having their products used at the event and seeing their names on posters, these brands did not have much additional exposure.
- Audi: Auto sponsor
- Chevrolet: Celebrity transportation
- Voss: Water sponsor
- The Mixc and the Mixc Cinema: Event and screening venues
These brands offered their platforms to provide streaming support and media promotion for the film festival.
- BestTV: TV and digital platform broadcast
- iQiyi/ iQiyi Entertainment: Film festival streaming broadcast
- Tencent Video: Video news updates
- Tencent WeSee: Fan updates and interaction with celebrities
- Jinri Toutiao: Special festival reports
- Douyin: Special festival topic page
- Xigua short video: Online activities
The remaining sponsors were smaller brands that played a relatively minor role in the festival as either suppliers or investment partners, such as Yuanqisenlin, a tea and fruit drink brand, and soy milk brand Doubendou.
Starting next year, Golden Rooster and Hundred Flowers Film Festival will move from its current biannual format to become an annual event with a permanent home in Xiamen, so brands will have more opportunities to participate going forward.