Staff Reporters
May 21, 2020

How a 192-year-old tea brand got an infusion of character from Gen Z

DIGITAL MEDIA AWARDS: Wang Lao Ji, established in 1828, reached out to comic and manga communities through a hot video platform to energise the brand.

How a 192-year-old tea brand got an infusion of character from Gen Z

Young users are the future that every brand wants to grasp, especially a brand as old as Wang Lao Ji.

As the oldest Chinese herbal tea drink brand, established in 1828, Wang Lao Ji has gained huge popularity in China as a healthy beverage. The company said it reached more than Rmb 20 billion ($2.88 billion) in sales in China as of the year 2018.

But Wang Lao Ji wasn't always the cup of tea for young people. Early on, it was seen more as a drink that grandmothers would urge you to drink for health. Later on, it became known as a drink for people to have while eating barbecue.

Wanting to win younger consumers, Wang Lao Ji, with Inspire Communications Group, started a campaign to target Gen Z in the summer of 2019.

See the full winner list and read about more winners

Wang Lao Ji chose an interactive method to talk to young people directly. It started to collect contributions from comic and manga communities, which are of interest to the people born after 1995. Wang Lao Ji asked young people to create a cartoon charactor for the brand, and to use Bilibili—the biggest comic video site in China—as the main channel for the campaign. People voted for their favourite submissions, and Wang Lao Ji picked the top three most popular charactors to produce a campaign video.

Young people welcome this kind of campaign strategy. The combination of contribution and ballot allows full participation by the audience.

The campaign attracted 888 cartoon character designs, and received over 15 million replies on Bilibili. The final video hit 1.5 million views on Bilibili, demonstrating a successful dialogue with Gen Z.

This campaign won gold in the 2020 Digital Media Awards in both the Interactive Media/Video category and the Digital Media Innovation category.

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