Anyone who has been in a top city in China over the past few weeks would have witnessed the growing importance of Christmas celebrations. Under the influence of Western brands, shopping malls and stores have started adorning their facades with Christmas decorations. The quintessentially Western holiday is becoming harder to ignore in China of late.
However, while luxury brands have been eager to leverage the end of the year holidays to stimulate gift purchases, many questions remain when it comes to the adoption of this custom by the Chinese audience. It is one thing to indulge in Christmas decorations and gather for a nice festive dinner with friends – but it is another thing altogether to actually celebrate Christmas with the practice of exchanging gifts. A significant investment in terms of time and money is involved, and having not grown up with this practice, Chinese consumers might be harder to reach in this aspect.
That said, Austrian luxury label Swarovski appears to have found the right approach with its latest Christmas WeChat campaign. The brand observed record-breaking results in terms of social engagement, fan recruitment, and more importantly, online purchases, for its Christmas WeChat campaign.
Interestingly, the campaign is based on the concept of an Advent Calendar. While this approach could have proved challenging in the past, Chinese consumers are now wholly familiar with the concept of counting down the days to Christmas. Designed as a box with 24 individual compartments – each featuring a different gift to surprise the consumer – the calendar allowed for the discovery of a new item everyday in the lead up to Christmas.
The Swarovski Advent Calendar Box contains 24 gifts, including 3 full priced items and 21 surprise gifts. It retails at 2,980 RMB.
While such an appealing product presents a strong concept for a digital campaign, the mechanism of an Advent Calendar is actually much harder to replicate online. Acquiring visitors is already an uphill task in itself – let alone trying to drive repeat visits day after day on WeChat.
As such, Swarovski made use of a WeChat interactive development (also known as a H5) to not only recreate the Advent calendar experience digitally, but also to provide a highly engaging and emotional experience.
Every day, the Advent Calendar would give users access to a different, interactive mini-game. Upon winning the game, users were given a card. Once 7 unique cards were collected, users received a Christmas gift from Swarovski.
The positive response towards this initiative clearly displayed that user interest is not only aroused by the possibility of winning incentives, but also simply by offering a new and entertaining experience on a daily basis – a key criteria of success for this campaign.
Additionally, repeat visits were driven through a strong social engagement mechanism. Following the completion of the various games, users were able to collect cards and more importantly, swap these cards with friends in order to maximize their chances of winning the prize.
The campaign was further supported by a mini program, which offered users the opportunity to directly purchase the limited edition Advent Calendar Box. While a H5 allows a brand to develop highly interactive and engaging components, a mini program offers a seamless buying experience and integration with WeChat Pay. Deployed in tandem, these WeChat functionalities present the perfect approach to drive sales on the social media platform.
In this case, the mini program was fully designed to support gifting. After purchasing the Advent Calendar Box and selecting the gift card of their choice, users would make payment through WeChat Pay and be prompted to send the gift to a friend on WeChat. Upon notification, the recipient had 24 hours to accept the gift by sharing an address for gift delivery.
While this bold approach discourages people from purchasing the Advent Calendar Box for themselves, it definitely helps to highlight the purpose of the mini program and define a clear value proposition for this digital activation (as opposed to more traditional online or offline retail experiences).
Last but not least, the campaign was promoted directly in Swarovski stores with various collaterals showcasing the product and taking advantage of QR codes to drive traffic from offline to online.
This campaign allowed Swarovski to generate a significant amount of followers, two-thirds of which were acquired organically. Sales of the Advent Calendar Box were also remarkable, with the item going out of stock within 10 days.
While the resounding success of this WeChat campaign may be the exception rather than the rule, it clearly demonstrates that with the right mix of elements, it is possible to engage audiences for prolonged periods of time despite their typically short attention spans.
All images: Swarovski