Chinese manufacturer Mayinglong, which has a history of more than 400 years, is best known for its hemorrhoid cream. But the brand's recent expansion into another product line is on everyone's lips, so to speak.
Mayinglong recently announced a seemingly unlikely branching out into the lipstick market, with the release of three types of lipstick on its Tmall flagship store, priced at 138 yuan (US$20).
The somewhat surprising introduction caused the news to immediately go viral on China’s social media platform, Weibo. A Weibo user named “在下坂本2-0 (zai xia ban ben 2-0)” made fun of the new lipstick, saying “Mayinglong makes you exceptionally charming, from lip to butt.”
In response, the brand published a Weibo post that made use of self-aware and creative wordplay, saying that "You can't avoid using a Mayinglong product." It doesn't really translate, but the statement implies that even if consumers don't need the company's flagship hemorrhoids ointment, they'll be tempted to buy the lipstick. The post also reassured poential buyers that "The lipstick has a normal yummy, sweet scent", as opposed to the hemorrhoid-cream's medicated smell. "Please rest assured that you can use it," the post continued, followed by a 'shy' emoji.
In a seperate post on its Weibo account, the brand again made use of cyber-slang to engage with the young audience, saying "Once you smell the lipstick, you'll be crazy about the product; once you paint it, you'll never stop using it. Have you fallen in love with Mayinglong?"
As of now a total of 1,218 Mayinglong lipsticks have been sold on Tmall, with many comments proclaiming their good quality and clean and elegant design. An anonymous consumer said “Mayinglong lipstick is so popular! I bought one to have a try. The lipstick stays feeling moist for hours. And its premium packaging ensures high quality. I like the magnetic hook especially.”
The lipstick actually comes from Mayinglong Pharmaceutical Group’s personal care and cosmetics unit, called Mayinglong Babao, which is distinct from the arm manufacturing the hemorrhoids ointment. Mayinglong claims to date back to 1582, when it was engaged in producing traditional Chinese medicine for the eye. Its hemorrhoid product caught some international attention in 2016 when US users called it a miracle and magic from the East.
Mayinglong is not the only older Chinese trying to appeal to younger consumers recently. To commemorate its 60th anniversary, traditional candy brand White Rabbit collaborated with bubble-tea chain Happy Lemon on a pop-up shop in Shanghai in June. Consumers queued for hours to buy a cup of White Rabbit-flavoured milk tea.