China's top 10 marketing campaigns in 2020 (2023)

While 2020 has been a lot different than most of us expected, Chinese advertisers have still managed to come up with some unique and remarkable marketing campaigns. In fact, many of the innovative marketing campaigns in 2020 revolved around the pandemic. Unlike Super Bowl commercials, many Chinese advertisers rely on social media platforms to engage with audiences.

Pandaily evaluated the 2020 advertising campaigns in terms of creativity, call to action, impression level and value. Despite the large number of creative campaigns, we've narrowed the list down to our top 10, with contributions from these companies:Bilibili, Ding Talk, Genki-Wald, W+K Shanghai, Neiwai,NetEaseYanxuan, Nongfu Spring, Perfect Diary, Pop Mart e SAIC-GM-Wuling.

(The following companies are listed in alphabetical order.)

Bilibili(Station B)

China's top 10 marketing campaigns in 2020 (1)

As one of the fastest growing video streaming platforms in ChinaBilibilireleased a motivational video, "The Rear Waves 后浪:Bilibili's Speech for the Young Generation' on May 4, China's Youth Day. The video features 52-year-old actor He Bing paying tribute to the younger generation by giving an inspiring speech about how young people are changing the world.

"All these people complaining that each generation is worse than the last should look at you the way I look at you - with admiration," he said. "Because of you, the world likes China better."

This trending video especially resonated with people born in China in the late 80s and 90s, as the older generation often say that they are rebellious and spoiled due to China's rapid development. The video featured beautifully captured footage of young people who are "changemakers": vloggers filming skydiving, winning esports championships, playing traditional Chinese instruments abroad, etc.

THE WAY:BilibiliThe video campaign not only invited Gen Z audiences to discuss how they themselves have the power to shape China's future, but also attracted potential consumers of all ages with its refreshing idea. As a result, this video was ranked #1 videoBilibiliwith over 20 million views in the first week.Bilibilisaw its stock price increase by 11% three days after the release of this trending video.


China's top 10 marketing campaigns in 2020 (2)

While many brands created sentimental ads during the COVID-19 crisis,Ding-Talkit gave us much-needed joy. During the pandemic in FebruaryAli BabaDing Talk, the Chinese version of Slack, has developed a new feature to provide live streaming classes to many schools in China, and over 120 million students have signed up to use it. However, DingTalk received negative reviews because it does its job so well. Many of these students have bombarded app stores with one-star ratings for DingTalk, complaining that the app has ruined their extended vacation by allowing teachers to monitor them remotely.

In response to these one-star ratings, Ding Talk released a funny video titled "Begging for Mercy 亲定丝端在线听听" on their official website.BilibiliAccount. The video contains viral memes and a popular song featuring the cartoon character from Ding Talk, a beautiful gray bird screaming for mercy. Ding Talk also posted a meme on their Weibo asking for good reviews.

China's top 10 marketing campaigns in 2020 (3)

"I'm only five years old. You're all older than me. Please forgive me my friends," sang the cartoon character DingTalk in the video. “I know you don't want to go to class, but please don't hurt me. My fatherAli BabaI would be very disappointed if I found out about this," continued Ding Talk in his meme.

TAKEAWAY: As a smart work platform supported byAli BabaGroup, Ding Talk is aimed primarily at businesses, but this campaign has successfully changed their brand image from a stiff app to a fun friend. This is also a great example of crisis management as the company has revised its bad reviews and gained brand recognition.


China's top 10 marketing campaigns in 2020 (4)

Founded in 2016, Genki Forest is one of the fastest growing unicorns in the Chinese consumer market. Genki Forest's health-focused drinks are popular with young consumers. The company also has beautifully designed packaging with an eye-catching logo that immediately grabs people's attention. The company has spent a lot of its marketing budget on Chinese social media platforms like TikTok, Weibo, and Red Book, as well as product placement on popular TV shows.

See too:

China's top 10 marketing campaigns in 2020 (5)

Most prominently, it sponsored the Hunan Satellite TV celebrity game show "the irresistible' (元气满满的哥哥), in which two generations of male stars compete in various competitions. The Chinese name of Genki Forest, "vital forest", coincides with the name of the TV show, "brothers full of vitality". The TV show helped the beverage brand build a healthy brand image, as the older generation also seems to be energetic and often outperforms the younger group.

SUMMARY: Genki Forest captured the growing concerns of Chinese millennials about health and fitness. The fat-free beverage with a health-centric media presence increased its brand awareness in a short amount of time. As a result, the company has surpassed 800 million yuan in sales revenue in the first half of 2020.

Wieden – Kennedy Xangai

China's top 10 marketing campaigns in 2020 (6)

The global advertising agency W+K decided to cheer up the country amid the pandemic. W+K Shanghai created a "You Can't Mask A Smile 罩样笑" campaign near a hospital in Shanghai. As many Chinese people had to celebrate the New Year with masks, it was difficult to see people's smiles. That's why W+K started a series of photos of workers in different industries wearing masks with funny facial expressions.

China's top 10 marketing campaigns in 2020 (7)

This digital campaign started in the W+K district of Shanghai but later went viral on social media as many Chinese people joined the campaign and posted their photoshop photos of masks online. Although the agency did not produce the physical product, many enjoyed this happy digital campaign.

China's top 10 marketing campaigns in 2020 (8)

TAKEAWAY: This humorous and creative campaign quickly caused a stir on social media. Also, creating a trending hashtag and inviting regular people to post images for the campaign was a huge bonus. Campaigns featuring everyday people are sometimes more influential than celebrities because they more naturally capture the sincerity of the message.

NEIWAI (in and out)

China's top 10 marketing campaigns in 2020 (9)

In the post-Metoo era, China has quietly struggled with traditional norms of beauty.NEIWAI(translated “in and out”), a Chinese lingerie brand stands out in 2020 with its inspirational “No Body is Nobody” campaign.

"I was afraid of gaining weight, so I gave up carbs and went on a diet that made me miss my period for a year," said Naiping, one of the six women who star in the short film. This social media campaign was launched on WeChat and Weibo ahead of International Women's Day. All the women in the video had real stories to tell: "Big Boobs with No Brains", "Mom", "The Aged", "Muffin Top" and "Scars". Female stereotypes were portrayed in the film with strong visual storytelling.

China's top 10 marketing campaigns in 2020 (10)

With the Victoria Secret Lot, the brand is promoting body positivity by producing different sizes of products and underwired bras for consumers to choose from. "Whether women have large or small breasts, whether they are thin or fat, it doesn't matter what age group, the ideal thing is for them to find their underwear at NEIWAI", says the company's advertising campaign.

China's top 10 marketing campaigns in 2020 (11)

Founded in 2012 as an online lingerie brand, the company quickly expanded into an online and offline retailer with 2 million loyal customers worldwide and is backed by well-known investors including ZhenFund, Xiangfeng and Qiming Venture Capital.

TAKEAWAY: 2020 was definitely the year to break gender stereotypes in China, especially with the trending reality shows focusing on women. In addition, the brand knew that "body positivity" has a global impact, so it launched a new website in English last May and plans to expand its market in America.

NetEaseYanxuan (NetEase Yanxuan)

China's top 10 marketing campaigns in 2020 (12)

As an online shopping platform primarily for housewares,NetEasesub-brand ofNetEaseYanxuan (translated toNetEaseselection) decided to reject the big e-commerce shopping festival of 2020, Double 11, because they wanted to remind consumers to buy the right products instead of the more expensive ones. The brand also launched aVideo(in Chinese) online titled “Consume but not consumerism” to remind people to buy rationally.

With the hashtag, the action generated a lively discussion online#Yanxuan will not participate in Double 11 War41.63 million views on Weibo.

TAKEAWAY: Similar to famous outdoor gear store REI's #optoutsideBlack Friday campaign, Yanxuan has a similar message to convey to Chinese consumers: shop rationally. However, several users commented that the reason for this anti-consumption campaign was because Yanxuan knew he couldn't compete with Tmall and JD during the big shopping holiday in China. Lesson Learned: Remember that the public can easily see the real reason for your campaign!

Nongfu-Quelle (Nongfu-Quelle)

China's top 10 marketing campaigns in 2020 (13)

In July 2020, 15 special poetry POS machines appeared in Shanghai, which would print receipts with poems when people donate 1 yuan. Meanwhile, 100 million water bottles with poems on their packaging were circulating wildly in China. This was a cross-brand collaboration between bottled water and beverage companiesNongfu-Frühlingand leading financial services company China UnionPay.

China's top 10 marketing campaigns in 2020 (14)

All poems were written by left-behind children in China, also known as "stay-at-home children" - children who stay in rural areas of China while their parents go to work in urban areas. These beautiful poems also appeared as a QR code on the packaging of Nongfu water bottles. By scanning the QR code, users can hear the children reading the poem. More than 30 million people tuned in to a promotional live stream of the initiative on the Kuaishou short video platform in one day.

On September 8, Nongfu arrived on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange with a big surprise. The share price soared 60% in the first three days of trading, raising more than $1 billion and making founder Zhong Shanshan the third-richest man in China.

China's top 10 marketing campaigns in 2020 (15)

CONCLUSION: In addition to building brand awareness, this campaign also raised people's awareness of left-behind children. In addition to the elegant packaging, Nongfu's cross-brand campaign was promoted on multiple platforms, both online and offline. If you want to achieve emotional resonance, you should always put corporate responsibility at the forefront when designing your advertising campaign.

perfect diary

China's top 10 marketing campaigns in 2020 (16)

On May 12, China's top domestic cosmetics brandperfect diarylaunched an exclusive campaign on Weibo. To show its gratitude to hard-working medical workers, the makeup brand decided to use its products to give nine frontline nurses a facelift on International Nurses Day. The campaign juxtaposed images of the nurses finishing their shift with pictures of them wearing Perfect Diary makeup and their personal stories.

Founded in 2016, Perfect Diary is one of the fastest growing beauty brands in the country. Yasten Holding, parent company of Perfect Diary, went public on the NYSE in November, becoming the first Chinese beauty company to be listed on the US stock exchange. The brand's shares rose 75% on the first day of listing.

China's top 10 marketing campaigns in 2020 (17)

TAKEAWAY: Perfect Diary has long employed a D2C (direct-to-consumer) marketing strategy. In this case, emphasizing the brand's corporate responsibility also strengthened its word-of-mouth strategy.

Pop Mart (bubble market)

China's top 10 marketing campaigns in 2020 (18)

China's blind box craze led to a Chinese toy companyPop-Martworldwide success. Millennials and Gen Z are the target audience for the brand due to its “blind box” feature. The toy is sold in “blind boxes” where the consumer buys packaging without a label, making the purchase a surprise.

Teenagers have loved the random toy phenomenon since 1999, when a dry noodle snack containing hero figurines was sold near schools. Children rushed to buy them. Much like the Pokemon card craze of the late 1990s, toys found in blind boxes are all the rage in China.

In an August 2019 reportAli BabaAccording to Tmall, the online store of , more than 200,000 consumers spent more than 20,000 yuan on blind box toys in the past 12 months. In December 2020, Pop Mart successfully launched its IPO in Hong Kong, with shares rising 100.26%.

China's top 10 marketing campaigns in 2020 (19)

SUMMARY: The "random drawing toy phenomenon" has a long history in China. Capturing the young public's desire for the unknown, Pop Mart found a different way to sell its toys.

SAIC-GM-Wuling Automobile (Wuling Automobile)

China's top 10 marketing campaigns in 2020 (20)

One of China's leading auto companiesSGMWmade a bold move on February 6, 2020, announcing its plan to convert its production line to manufacture masks. Over the next three days, the group took steps to transform its automotive research and development (R&D) base into a dust-free facility, install the relevant equipment and obtain a protective product manufacturing certificate. It took the factory just 76 hours to convert its production line into a mask-making machine and distribute its first batch of masks.

China's top 10 marketing campaigns in 2020 (21)

"We produce what people need," wrote SGMW on Weibo. In addition to masks, SGMW has also started to develop technology products such as a fully automatic mask machine, intelligent mobile temperature measurement vehicles and unmanned disinfection vehicles to support pandemic control, according to the company.

China's top 10 marketing campaigns in 2020 (22)

The company shipped more than 12 million masks free of charge to local epidemic prevention and control agencies, several universities across the country, and frontline workers.

China's top 10 marketing campaigns in 2020 (23)

Known for its iconic Wuling Sunshine minivan, which graced the cover of Forbes magazine in 2010, SGMW sold more than 1.6 million cars in 2019.

TAKEAWAY: For a historic brand like SGMW, the company has embraced change and gained significant brand recognition. By demonstrating its strengths in mask production amid the pandemic, the brand has shown the world that it really can do it all.

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