How Brands Engaged Chinese Lovebirds on ‘520’ Day


Brands which know little about ‘520’ day could be missing a great opportunity to engage with the Chinese lovebirds

Many global brands may know that nowadays, Chinese consumers celebrate both the Western Valentine’s day on 14th February and the Chinese Valentine’s day on the seventh day of the seventh month on the lunar calendar, but only a few know about ‘520’ day- And those who don’t know about it could be missing a great opportunity to engage with the Chinese lovebirds.

May 20th is nowadays regarded unofficially as China’s second Valentine’s Day and is especially popular among the young generation. The number ‘520’ is used to express “I love you,” as the pronunciation of the two phrases is similar in Chinese.

Over the past week, many brands have taken advantage of this opportunity and launched Chinese consumer-centric campaigns on social media. The following is a roundup of three most engaging marketing campaigns that caught our attention.

1.     Durex: Confession Studio

Durex’s Confession Studio

In collaboration with T-mall, China’s biggest online retailer, Durex launched an HTML5 (H5) campaign on WeChat the day before May 20th. Aptly named the ‘Confession Studio’, the H5 campaign designed ten questions to gauge the users’ ability to profess his/her love.

For example, one of the questions is ‘The girl whom you have a crush on is going to study abroad, what will you say to her at the airport?’ Ten questions were designed for ten different everyday settings including the airport, office, subway and so on.

The user can choose from three answers per question. After they complete the ten questions, they are graded on their ability to express love. The more points you get, the better you are at expressing your love.

But what if you got a bad grade in the test? No worries, Durex has prepared a video at the end of the test which offers some tips for you to improve!

Box of Durex

In the video, a couple is sitting in front of each other. Each time they say a phrase to express their love, they can grab a Durex condom from the answer box. Five phrases have been designed in this video to encourage people to express their love which include ‘I miss you’, ‘I want you’, ‘I love you’…

Comment: To show that you like someone has always been hard for Chinese as they tend to be more conservative and therefore, they will relate more to topics like this.

Durex used this insight and successfully combined it with an engaging H5 campaign. In addition, the questions designed in the test are common dilemmas that people will come across in their daily life, which has greatly appealed to the young generation. What’s more is that the test has used some pretty hilarious answers which are already prevalent among younger consumers. All of these have helped this H5 campaign go viral on WeChat.

2.   Tao Piaopiao: 520 Guide

Tao Piaopiao’s 520 Guide

Compared with Durex, the H5 campaign ‘520 Guide’ launched by Alibaba’s online ticketing service Taopiaopiao is much more direct and simple. As its name suggests, the H5 aims at offering people some tips on how to express love in the right way.

The ‘520 Guide’ consists of five parts: ‘Please Don’t’, ‘Object Select’, ‘Guide’, ‘D-Day’ and ‘What’s Next’. Using some simple drawings, this H5 campaign teaches people what to do in a humorous way.

Tao Piaopiao’s 520 Guide

For example, in the ‘Object Select’ section, it tells you that you can still choose a girl who already has a boyfriend as your objective. However, if her boyfriend is stronger than you, you’d better give up (fair advice).

Tao Piaopiao’s 520 Guide

In the ‘Guide’ section, the Tao Piaopiao logo appears and suggests that inviting your loved one to watch a movie is a good way to express your love. In addition, a link to the official Tao Piaopiao app is placed at the end of the H5 campaign. By logging in the Tao Piaopiao app, people can record and upload a video for their loved one, which may be played in the theater before a movie starts!

Comment:   For young customers, a guide book may be not as interesting as a test. However, the ‘520 Guide’ still successfully attracted many people because of its vivid drawings, humorous tones and well-designed sound. In addition, the advertisement of Tao piaopiao is placed in the H5 campaign quite naturally, which successfully catch people’s attention rather than push them away.

3.  Starbucks: 520 Show Your Love

Chinese Marketing Strategies

Collaborating with TenCent’s new-launched short video sharing app Weishi, Starbucks launched a mini programme on WeChat called ‘520 Show Your Love’. People are encouraged to download the video sharing APP through a link on the mini programme and upload their own videos. The first 100 people who uploaded their videos and got 52 likes received a Starbuck gift card.  

filters contain the Starbucks logo

Various filters which contain the Starbucks logo have been designed for this campaign to encourage young people to create their own videos.  This campaign went viral immediately among young consumers. So far, over 17k people have uploaded their videos earning over 3200k views in total.

Comment: With both brands targeting younger consumers, the partnership between Starbucks and Weishi is undoubtedly a wise choice. As short video sharing apps are gaining increasing popularity in China, video has become a common way for young generations to express their attitude and personality. In addition, the lively filters have enabled people to create attractive UGC, which also helped this campaign spread further.