Jenny Chan 陳詠欣
Jan 7, 2015

Chinese cosmetics brand calls on star power for run at premium market

SHANGHAI - Director Wong Kar-wai's style of romantic fantasy is evident in a new campaign for Maysu, a brand that is in the mood for love from high-end cosmetics buyers.

Client: Jala Cosmetics Group

Agency: Air Paris

Market: China

Scope: Regional TV (30-sec ad), online (90-sec ad), print (Self, Elle)

Details: The TVC, directed by Wong, features international movie star Shu Qi. Along with the launch, the brand has expanded its distribution channel from small cosmetics stores to premium department stores, which are now welcoming Maysu to have dedicated in-store counters.

Maysu's ambition, like all skincare brands, is to become the number-one skincare brand in China. The brand is now communicating in major women's magazines with mention-worthy 10-page advertorial formats.

Press release quote: "Look at existing Chinese brands, mostly hovering in the low-end cosmetics market in China. It is more difficult to find traces of premium Chinese ones with the market share of foreign brands as high as 75 per cent. Previously, the distance between us and international brands is only 10 metres, but today, Maysu has finally broke the boundaries of this by officially entering the high-end cosmetics market. This has cast an indelible mark on the rapid rise of Chinese brand power."

Campaign Asia Pacific's comments: This is an exemplar of the emerging trend of young Chinese brands trying to upend a tough category and compete with world-class foreign brands. However, Maysu has lacked clear positioning and has had difficulty establishing itself as a key player in the past, despite having Qi's endorsement since 2009. Its image was not so relevant to contemporary Chinese women, with a “local” feel even though its prices are higher than mass-market levels.

At first glance, we are not completely convinced about Maysu's creative and image upgrade, since it is still the same celebrity fronting the domestic brand, but a second look discovers a different expression of feminity. Shu Qi used to look "frozen" with a cliched idea of beauty in old ads (see below for example), more like a supermodel posing rather than an actress emoting. Without being overly sexy or sartorial in the American way, Wong managed to get Qi to display the purity and innocence more acceptable to Chinese descriptors of Oriental beauty.

                                  Before                                                                        After

Parent company Jala has never been short of money from growth, thanks to it quietly gaining ground in lower-tier cities for the past 10 years. Maysu's enhanced emotional dimension, brought out by Wong and Qi, is really its best bet to break more ground.


Creative director: Tho Van Tran

Art director: Fifi Tsang

Copywriter: Rainbow Ying

Strategy & planning: Nora Ladghem

Account manager: Helen Zhu



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