Festival Intelligence: Trends from the world’s best media and marketing campaigns – from this years shortlisted Festival of Media Global Awards – are explored each week by Jenni Baker, and this time the focus is on China.
China is one of those markets that almost every international company wants to enter. With a population of 1.4 billion, strong growth and far-reaching possibilities for development, there’s intense competition between homegrown and Western brands.
Couple that with its unique digital landscape (an online population of 751 million with over 95% using mobile devices to access the internet*) and distinctive consumer purchasing behaviour (Chinese people spend an average of three hours a day on their smartphones, mainly for social media and ecommerce*), winning over Chinese consumers is no mean feat. (*Source: CNNIC)
Revenue in China’s digital advertising market will amount to $75.8bn in 2018, according to Statista, with search marketing proving to be the largest segment with a market volume of $39.8bn. Digital, therefore, is certainly the place to be for advertisers, but what is the key to breaking through and standing out in this crowded market?
Looking at this year’s Festival of Media Global Awards shortlist, China is the third most represented country (after the UK and US, respectively) and of its 22 entries, 15 are from the FMCG category. Other sectors include sports and retail (four); pharma (two) and food & beverage (one).
Chinese entries were most dominant within the ‘Best Use of Data and Insight’ and ‘Best Use of Digital Media’, ‘Best Use of ecommerce’ categories, showing that when it comes to China, a deep understanding of the market is imperative to campaign success.
“The entries for China were the standouts from my perspective,” said Akama Ediomi Davies, Head of Brand Development at Oath UK. “They were often the most aligned to the client’s business and marketing objectives. The Chinese entries also consistently demonstrated the deepest understanding of the market and knew how to best engage their audience based on this insight.”
Some other key trends were apparent:
Partnerships are key – Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent, Tmall, WeChat and Weibo are the biggest platform players in the Chinese market. While all creative and original creative ideas, all the Chinese entries on the shortlist had some element of a partnership to maximise the reach of their campaigns.
Mum’s the word – When it comes to FMCG, this year’s entries tell us that Chinese mothers are the decision makers when it comes to making choices about everything from laundry detergent to nappies and skincare. Therefore, understanding their challenges and behaviours and adapting your communications accordingly to address their needs is a sure-fire way of breaking through.
Phil Wade, Chief Marketing Officer, Jetstar Group at Qantas Group, said: “There were excellent entries from everywhere in the world but the amount of creative and original entries from China stood out. Given the growth in the region and the future potential, this is no surprise. Some provided excellent entries of how they had delivered exceptional results through deep understanding and unique takes on the China market. The ‘unique take’ part is critical, and each entry focused on the need not to follow the trodden path.”
We put the spotlight on two FOMG Awards 2018 shortlisted entries, which highlight this trend:
24-Hour Doctor | Lifebuoy | PHD | China
Shortlisted for: Best Use of Content, Best Use of Data & Insight Award, Best Engagement Strategy, Collaboration Award
Due to the sheer volume of the Chinese population, China’s healthcare system provides only five doctors (including specialists) for every 10,000 children (3 times less than in the USA), leading to an average waiting time of more than 3 hours. There was a real gap in the market to connect Chinese mothers with medical professionals in a convenient and accessible way to help alleviate their concerns and prevent misinformation.
Lifebuoy curated and developed a partnership with La Ma Bang (LMB) – China’s most popular app for mothers, where it offered reliable, fast and convenient aid when they needed it the most. The strategic direction was built around the idea of delivering smart solutions to alleviate a mother’s worries, making Lifebuoy a trusted advisor in times of need. The ’24-Hour Doctor’ concept encompassed everything Lifebuoy’s target audience needed in urgent situations: Instant, uncomplicated and convenient access to trustworthy medical professionals who could offer support.
The partnership delivered bespoke, personalised content to consumers, creating white space between Lifebuoy and other similarly positioned brands. In a three-part execution, the campaign included a Doctor Q&A, long-form content and native advertising, and offline activations in kindergartens across Shanghai and Shenzhen.
Trimester targeting with Huggies | Huggies | Mindshare | China
Shortlisted for: Best Use of Data & Insight Award, Best Use of Programmatic, Effective Use of e-Commerce, Best Use of Digital Media
Analysis of brand relevancy showed an extraordinarily limited window of opportunity when targeting expectant mothers, and that audience relevancy had the biggest impact on sales. During the different trimesters of pregnancy, women respond better to different messaging. How could Huggies optimally target pregnant women specifically within each trimester?
Chinese mothers proactively search different aspects of pregnancy online: sharing photos and following pregnancy WeChat accounts during this life changing journey. This leaves a rich digital footprint that can be used to better understand their pregnancy stage – which would allow Mindshare to deliver the right message to a small audience of women at the right time and with the right message on digital platforms.
Bespoke creative was delivered during the different trimesters to ensure maximum impact. With a laser-targeted ambition, only programmatic could deliver this campaign. Huggies partnered with Tencent to use its DMP and data points to identify women in the different stages of pregnancy.
For more inspiration, you can view the full Festival of Media Global Awards 2018 shortlisted entries here