Jenny Chan 陳詠欣
Jul 3, 2016

Cannes 2016: China at risk of becoming a "giant supermarket"

Campaign caught up with Peter Shen (沈翔), chief creative officer of Cheil PengTai China, for his analysis on China's performance in the Direct Lions.

From the Chinese-language interview with Shen, we summarise his key points here:

  • China's entries in the Direct category were using very singular forms of communication indeed, but differed from the Grand Prix in that they were not interesting enough to filter through to social content in order to form direct relationships with consumers. The ideas lacked certain scalability and cut-through ability.
  • Granted, China's media landscape toughens the task, as there are simply too many media tools to deploy. And in China, using grassroots influencers, internet celebrities and KOLs to speak to their fans is also considered a form of direct marketing, but again, those ideas are more concerned with pure reach instead of a core concept.
  • There is a risk of China becoming a "giant supermarket", as the plethora of e-commerce price wars is leading to an unhealthy, overly-discounted market. Every imaginable date combination is being turned into an "online shopping festival", from the initial Double Eleven, to Double Twelve, to 520, to 618. Even industry practitioners can't remember all of them, not to mention the consumers. All these 'direct marketing campaigns' are actually really promotional tactics, and increase the risk of branding in China becoming homogenised.
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