Spikes Asia
Jan 14, 2021

‘Crushing the biggest shopping day on the planet’ creator on winning at Spikes and Tangrams

Colin Xu of Mindshare China discusses his award winning ‘Crushing the biggest shopping day on the planet’ campaign, which won at both Spikes and in the Tangrams Strategy & Effectiveness Awards.

‘Crushing the biggest shopping day on the planet’ creator on winning at Spikes and Tangrams

As the deadline for the 2021 Spikes Awards and Tangrams Strategy and Effectiveness Awards entries approach, Spikes Asia reaches out to past winners at both award programmes who have demonstrated exemplary creativity and marketing effectiveness in the same piece of winning work. We ask the creatives and strategists to talk about what made the work stand out to the juries and what winning a Spike and Tangram meant for them and their team.

This time we speak with Colin Xu, Managing Director at Mindshare China who took on the dual role of Creative and Strategist to create the award-winning work, ‘Crushing the biggest shopping day on the planet’.

The entries deadline for the 2021 Tangrams Awards has been extended but will close on Thursday, 14 Jan 2021. If you are concerned that you won’t meet the deadline, please get in touch at [email protected].

Please provide a brief summary of 'Crushing the biggest shopping day on the planet'.

You may know Uniqlo was the first brand to cross the 100 million RMB mark on Single’s Day, the world’s largest shopping event—in less than one minute.

What you may not know is how Uniqlo was able siphon Alibaba’s huge third-party platform’s traffic to Uniqlo’s own offline platform: their 500 stores.

While the Alibaba ecosystem drives huge volumes—it’s hugely competitive and cluttered. The antithesis of the preferred Uniqlo experience. Uniqlo wanted to own their customer relationship and provide a truly value-added experience. So, it needed to create the ultimate O2O2O experience for its customers.

By combining both offline and online purchase data, we were able to identify multiple methods to bring Uniqlo’s Alibaba shoppers to their offline stores. We combined years of consumer insights on Single’s Day shopping, categories, location data and purchase behavior to segment consumers and push relevant messages, creatives and coupons, maximizing foot traffic to Uniqlo’s 500 stores across China.

As a result, we drove 10x higher traffic to Uniqlo stores vs. last year’s Single’s Day.

Not only that, each Single’s Day offline order was 34% higher than those online.

This O2O2O approach ensured Uniqlo was the biggest winner in terms of sales in the apparel category this Single’s Day.

Moreover, acquiring one consumer offline on Single’s Day ended up being 100x cheaper than online!

Tell us why your team decided to enter 'Crushing the biggest shopping day on the planet' into the Spikes Awards.

It was the first time that a retailer wanted to hijack the largest online shopping festival to drive traffic to offline stores. This case allowed for creation of tailor-made offers based on unique consumer segments. It was a truly O2O2O campaign that demonstrated the true meaning of the ‘new retail’ model. Gaining recognition for this new generation of creative internationally with Spikes was a very rewarding experience.

Why did your team decide to enter this work into the Tangrams Awards?

UNIQLO cleverly harnessed behavioral data and then combined this with the unique attributes of different media channels to focus communication and induce high purchase conversion of our targets during the world’s biggest sales event. As a result of the campaign, UNIQLO was able to successfully convert this online traffic into offline footfall in stores. Having so much recognition of this fact from around the region really gave the team a great boost of pride as we have continued working in the world’s most advanced eCommerce market.

Every team has their own way of coming up with a campaign idea. In this case, how was the idea conceived? How would you describe the working relationship between the creative and strategy/planning team?

As a data-driven idea, the role of the creative team was to clearly connect with consumers and help them understand that they could obtain a better offer offline vs. online, with an even better personalized in-store experience.

The most important part of the campaign was leveraging big data to analyse consumer behavior on e-Commerce. Firstly, we defined the hottest products on shoppers’ consideration lists. Then we tailor crafted sales messages and pushed these to consumers via the targeted media mix while optimizing the best timing to maximize consumer purchase intention. Finally, we drove them to offline stores to close the purchase action successfully.

At any point of conceiving the idea and planning the execution of the campaign, did either party (creative or strategist) oppose the creative idea or how the campaign should be executed? How did this affect the campaign results?

By having one team lead both the strategy and the creative output, we were able to seamlessly work together and create a successful solution.

As the coronavirus swept through the world and Asia-Pacific hard, everyone’s way of working and collaborations have been forced to change. Do you think you would have been able to pull off 'Crushing the biggest shopping day on the planet' the same way as you did now? How would it have affected the way that the campaign was rolled out?

Having a team with clearly defined roles and processes who are able to work as a team to create provocative, innovative solutions at speed is key to our success—both during normal times and throughout COVID-19. This, combined with a successful Government response ensures that we would have had an equally successful campaign.

From a creative standpoint, if you had to pitch a solution to the same brief from the client today, how would you change your creative idea in light of the economic climate and new way of life caused by the coronavirus?

Since our first successful launch, we have expanded this campaign. Our learning upon reflecting on consumer and sales data has been to enlarge the product offering from single products to a product series/bundle to better fulfill consumers’ individual needs.

From a strategy/planning standpoint, if you had to pitch a solution to the same brief from the client today, how would you execute the campaign in light of the economic climate and way of life now caused by the coronavirus?

Thanks to a successful response from the Chinese Government, the coronavirus didn’t have a large impact in China during the second half of 2020, allowing UNIQLO to further enlarge its communication scale to celebrate the economy recovering from the first half of the year. 2020’s Single’s Day sales results were fantastic, growing 175% vs. 2018 offline store sales.

Putting on your creative hat, describe the role of a strategist in a campaign.

Strategy is the root of a good idea. It will allow a creative team to clearly understand the communication objective and deliver the best creative work and resulting brand experience to the consumer while demonstrating this idea or message.

Putting on your strategist hat, describe the role of a creative in a campaign.

The creative is the soul of a campaign’s success. It allows the strategy to land and it’s most important role is to create a brand connection between the consumer and the advert. It ensures that consumers have a smooth UI and UX.

How have the roles of creatives and strategists evolved over the years?

In today’s digital era, it’s vital that strategists are creatively trained and vice-versa. Strategy and creativity need to come together for the optimal result, and can no longer exist in silos. That’s why Mindshare today is so much more than just a media partner, we are our client’s most trusted growth partners, helping to advise on the full breadth of marketing services.

What did winning your first Spike/Tangrams mean to you and what will winning again mean to you now?

This is the first case that I won. It gave me a good experience to understand how impactful a campaign can be when the team successfully combines creativity and strategy. It demonstrates that nothing is truly impossible to change when it comes to communications.

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