In China, International Women’s Day on March 8 was much more than another shopping festival. As Chinese women show greater awareness for female empowerment, they have also pushed luxury brands to uphold these important values. Given this, many discerning local players have stopped using the phrase “Goddess’ Day,” which distorted the meaning of the celebration, and returned to the holiday’s original intent of commemorating women’s rights and achievements.
Slogans, such as the lingerie brand Ubra’s “Bras are a weapon that allows women to easily lie-down-win (tangying) in the workplace,” that favor the male gaze can no longer survive in today’s social media-driven environment. Agile brands are now alert, transparent, and eager to broaden conversations to drive social change. And according to netizens’ reactions, it’s working. Consumers were drawn to campaigns that pointed out issues neglected by mainstream culture and were happy join these brands on their journeys.
This year, more female-related discourses were spotlighted by brands, from gender bias to female entrepreneurship. Here, Jing Daily reviews five International Women’s Day campaigns that went viral on social media and built allyship with local female shoppers.
Perfect Diary collaborated with the new media production house Xinshixiang and China Daily to launch an eight minute video titled “Outstanding Chinese Girls.” Female celebrities like Yamy Guo, Olympic volleyball champion Hui Ruoqi, comedian Papi Jiang, and stand-up comedian Yang Li were invited to discuss their personal journeys through major life events. The video documented how each broke through various social constraints and tackled challenges with confidence, encouraging audiences to ignore external influences and make decisions for themselves. In addition, Perfect Diary announced that it would become the official partner of the Chinese gymnastics team, as well as launch the “L09 Red” lipstick, which represents the firmness, softness, and confidence of Chinese females.
Tmall Super Brand Day
Tmall Super Brand Day, one of Tmall’s many marketing tools, kicked off this year’s International Women’s Day with the theme of “We are WOMEN.” (“Wo Men” is the Chinese pronunciation of “we.”) The campaign selected 26 brands with initials from A to Z to create “26 Lines of Poems for Women.” Each aphorism is not only in line with the brand’s image, but also conveys various female values. Meanwhile, Tmall Super Brand Day initiated the “Relay Poems to Women” on Weibo, inviting Li Yinhe, Jiang Fangzhou, and Bonnie Bo to post manifestos expressing women’s freedom and equality. The two minute campaign video has received over 21.3 million views on Weibo. Also, the campaign used the phrase “International Women’s Day” instead of “Goddess’ Day,” which has been frequently adopted by brands and retailers to enchant female consumers and increase sales. This nuance — focusing more on values than consumerism — received positive comments from netizens.
JD.com rolled out “Her Festival” to create a dialogue with female consumers, launching a short-video that advocated “to love her with heart.” The first half of the video explores the multiple identities of being a woman when growing up—the struggles of being a student, the fear of not being recognised when entering the workplace, the joyful expectation of waiting to see your lover once again, and the strength it takes to handle pregnancy. The second half brings out the “them” behind “her,” with various examples of women being encouraged by their girlfriends at school, guided by their coworkers after entering the workplace, supported by their partners in relationships, and being taken care of by other mothers after giving birth. In addition, JD Fashion teamed up with Harper Bazaar China to feature five female entrepreneurs, including the founders of Maria Dalger, Yangzi Life, Neiwai, 73hours, and Hefang.
The Chinese cosmetic brand launched its campaign “Gender does not set boundaries; prejudice does,” in collaboration with China Women’s News, publishing a full copy of the campaign on the bottom page of the March 3 edition that spotlighted gender equality. Meanwhile, the accompanying campaign video, which starred female rapper Yu Zhen, showcased various gender biases and stereotypes in today’s society. The storytelling challenged the stereotypical definitions of femininity and masculinity, as well as urged audiences to be themselves rather than conform to social constructions of gender. The video has sparked extensive conversations on social channels, garnering over 2.7 million views on Weibo in one day. In addition, Proya teamed up with illustrators to launch a “Dual Anti Essence Art Gift Box,” which contains skincare products and a special-edition T-shirt.
The popular Chinese skincare label HomeFacialPro collaborated with the photographer Leslie Zhang for its International Women’s Day campaign, casting four KOLs—fashion influencers Iris and Ximeng Dasao, Standbyher foundation founder Stacey Liang, and stand-up comedian Yang Li—to share their understanding of “Real” and inspire female audiences to be brave enough to embrace themselves and pursue their dreams. The brand also teamed up with lifestyle label Neiwai to drop a limited edition gift box, which was stuffed with newly launched products from both brands.