In China, pop-up events are the latest fad for international brands that want to give consumers a little taste of luxury. We’ve seen a lot of brands like Louis Vuitton, Prada, and Cartier host elaborate pop-up exhibitions that offer a variety of unique opportunities for fashion fans to immerse themselves in — anything from themed parties to gatherings where decades of fashion house history is put on display. Now, Hermès — a brand that’s widely considered atop the high-end luxury brand hierarchy — has turned to music for a different kind of experience.
At the end of last year, Hermès hosted an eight-day record store pop-up event in the ultra-hip Beijing shopping district of Sanlitun, where visitors could listen to recorded music, as well as live performances. What branded the event as distinctively Hermès was the fact that album covers, featuring music from years of the brand’s runway shows, were emblazoned with designs from different Hermès scarfs on sale.
The famous French fashion house also offered a photo booth for attendees that printed selfies onto vinyl records as free souvenirs. Here, music served as a democratizing tool, offering a delightful taste of Hermès’ usually high-end fare to everyone.
The brand’s record store pop-up had traveled to multiple cities around the world before landing in Beijing. But what’s unique about the Beijing event is how the brand used WeChat to spread the word about it.
According to Tencent’s official WeChat ad account (腾讯广告), the pop-up event, which was called “Silk Mix,” was promoted twice as a WeChat Moments ad. The first focused on directing users to a mini-program where they could sign up for the event. Once on the WeChat mini-program, users could create their own unique mix by selecting from a wide range of music — anything from jazz to rock — that they were able to pair with a Hermès scarf pattern of their choice. Users could then sign up and visit the pop-up event where they could make real customized vinyl records. The mini-program increased traffic to Hermès’ official account by more than 60 percent and ultimately helped to attract thousands of guests to the event.
The second WeChat Moments ad directed traffic to Hermès’ e-commerce site. The targeted demographic included Hermès’ WeChat account followers, “lookalike” users, and users with luxury fashion interests. The second round of promotion attracted an engagement three times the size of the first ad.
Feedback from attendees on the crowd-sourced review site Little Red Book was generally positive. One user wrote that receiving two free drinks by logging into the brand’s WeChat mini-program at the event was a pleasant surprise, while others on Little Red Book suggested that visitors should dress in rock n’ roll styles to create cooler pictures at the event.
Hermès was an early adopter of WeChat — their first WeChat promotion in 2017 was for branded Apple watches. They were one of the first brands to drop a specific collection onto WeChat, a technique that’s been copied by many others since. These days, Hermès is experimenting on WeChat more strategically by promoting accessory products at lower price points (watches and scarves) with a strong call to purchase intention. And while it has become standard for a brand to leverage WeChat for their pop-up events in China, what Hermès demonstrated with “Silk Mix” is that bringing digital engagement into a store-like setting is still more of an art.