Jenny Chan 陳詠欣
Aug 16, 2011

Premium FMCG brands go mass market in China

CHINA - Aiming to cash in on the burgeoning demand for consumer goods in China, some premium FMCG brands have taken a somewhat "masstige" approach.

Shiseido Tsubaki targets China's retail haircare market.
Shiseido Tsubaki targets China's retail haircare market.

Japanese cosmetics maker Shiseido has been eyeing China for growth, and recently tasked AEIOU China with the branding campaign of its premium Tsubaki shampoo range.

Tony Liu, chairman and executive creative director of AEIOU China, told Campaign the project was won a month ago, but has been part of a wider trend of premium brands not taking the upmarket route in China. Instead, they are going "mass market" with their premium offerings. Liu termed it as being "mass-premium".

Earlier this year, Shiseido's chief executive Hisayuki Suekawa announced plans to ramp up distribution of "masstige" products in China. 'Masstige' is a new categorisation that blends both 'mass market' and 'prestige' goods.

Viveca Chan, chairman and CEO of WE Marketing Group in China, told Campaign that global brands are getting more localised and creating entire product ranges and price points just for that market. Shiseido has done just that - crafting an under-eye solution exclusively for China after its research found that Chinese women were particularly concerned about puffy eye bags, different from the concerns of Japanese women on its home turf.

Chan said German haircare brand Schwarzkopf, which is a client of WE Marketing, is also breaking into China’s mass retail channels, rather than remaining as a brand that is exclusively available in hair salons.

Senz Chocolates from Belgium also has its sights squarely set on China, opening its own manufacturing facilities in Shanghai, Beijing, and Guangzhou this year. Liu said this will lower the chocolates' production costs and change the brand's strategy instead of banking on the 'imported' craze for foreign goods in China. This move is testament to the company's establishment of its own distribution channels in China, which will push retail prices lower since no import tax will be incurred.

In addition, Jeff Ma, managing director of TBWA Shanghai observed that even luxury brands such as Louis Vuitton and Gucci have adapted their brands for Chinese consumers with simpler designs, lower price points and different retail formats to appeal to the emerging middle class in the country.

With so many international brands wanting a slice of the Chinese pie, will 'masstige' be the  marketing buzzword in China from now on?



Campaign China

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