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Digital in China: Kleenex, McDonald's, The North Face

Digital in China: Kleenex, McDonald's, The North Face


Kleenex promotes its new product with viral video

We frequently stress the need for foreign brands to pay attention to key topics of debate and discussions on the Chinese web and be reactive in order to create brand content that is contextually relevant.

With its latest web campaign, tissues and toilet paper brand Kleenex surfed on the popularity of the TV show “The voice of China” to promote its newest product (a sort of wet wipes) with a homerun web video.

The 4 and a half-minute video parodies “The Voice of China” by turning it into “The PP cleaning paper of China” (PP is the phonetic translation of PiPi屁屁, a colloquial term for buttocks in China), a fictional show that mimics the organization and themes used by its model. In it, judges represented by pairs of underwear choose the best “PP cleaner amongst several contestants, each representing a real world “PP cleaner” (including a slice of raw salmon, a rabbit and a left hand)

Not only does the video surf on a hot trending topic on the Chinese web but it also integrate many references to Chinese slang and pop culture. With this video Kleenex manages to promote a taboo product in an original way and shows its understanding of local pop culture.


McDonalds’ partners with Rovio to launch Angry bird location-based campaign

Gamification is a hot trend in digital marketing with many brands exploring ways of extending building new types of interactions with their customers through gaming mechanisms online.

McDonalds’ recently deployed this approach in China by partnering with mobile game developer Rovio (famous for having taken over Asia and the world with its Angry Birds franchise) to design an innovative location-based campaign. When playing Angry Birds in McDonalds’ restaurants, visitors can unlock special game modes and features that enhance the playing experience.

The campaign is also a case study in cross-platform storytelling. TVCs build a story about the operation (showing the feud between birds and pigs starting with pigs stealing a burger) while in store operations echo the game partnership (customers can vote on the city in which McDonalds’ will build a giant Angry Birds style slingshot).


The North Face builds a social network around hiking and trekking

The North face is currently in the middle of a major China marketing push that sees the brand heavily promoting the idea of “Go wild” (去野). Most recently, this push as included a partnership with photo sharing app Tuding to promote the custom “Go wild” photo filter (one of the first examples of a brand using photo sharing applications for marketing purposes in China).

This month, The North Face took the “Go wild” campaign to the next step with the launch of the “Go wild” social network for hiking and trekking enthusiasts. On it, users can create their profile, post their own stories about trekking and create detailed presentations of their own trekking and hiking trips, which users can join through the site. The platform also includes a special section where users can browse The North Face products and purchase them through the brand’s T-Mall space.

With this highly sophisticated platform, The North Face provides a service that effectively supports its brand promise and shows how thin the frontier is between digital communication and product and service development.



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