This Beijing Winter Olympics season has seen a myriad of international advertising and marketing campaigns with many iconic stars winning the hearts of the public. Brands around the world are benefiting from partnerships with athletes, increased CNY sales and increased interest in winter sportswear.
A panda becomes the most coveted mascot
Bing Dwen Dwen (冰墩墩), the official mascot of the Winter Olympics, is a giant panda wearing a transparent coat shaped like an ice cream scoop, inspired by a traditional northern Chinese snack made from ice cream. candy mountain hawthorn.
The mascot was unveiled on September 17, 2019. More than two years later, it has become one of the most difficult products to buy in China. Yahoo Sports wrote of the Bing Dwen Dwen madness: “What’s harder than winning an Olympic medal? .
Bing Dwen Dwen was unveiled at a launch event in 2019. (Getty Images)
As people line up outside department stores in Beijing to buy a Bing Dwen Dwen plush toy, millions of consumers have had to resort to online stores through sweepstakes. The mascot also got a boost on Chinese social media’s hot topics list when Japanese journalist Gido Tsujioka shared his collection of pandas for a Japanese NTV show and called himself “Gido Dwen Dwen”.
Fueled by the slogan “one Bing Dwen Dwen for every family” in China, manufacturers got back to work earlier in the holiday season to produce more panda toys.
Athletes help brands win over consumers
Another name to rival Bing Dwen Dwen’s fame is Olympic skier Eileen (Ailing) Gu, who has over 5 million Weibo followers. As of February 10, the number of subscribers on his Douyin (Chinese TikTok) account exceeded 110 million.
Sonja Prokopec, professor of marketing at ESSEC Business School Asia-Pacific, believes that “for athletes like Eileen Gu, this represents a massive market of young consumers who are inspired by her sporting achievements, but also by her beauty, and identify themselves with their due”. to his Chinese heritage.
From Xiaohongshu (Little Red Book) to Tiffany, from Anta to Estee Lauder, Chinese media reports that 30 brands are currently working with Gu in the categories F&B, luxury, fashion, skincare, sports, home furnishings, telecom, banking, insurance, automotive , social media and others. It is reported that the number of trademarks increased from less than five in 2019 to 2020, and its approval fees more than doubled in 2021.
Among these brands, Luckin Coffee seized the opportunity and started partnering with Gu last year. Although the brand experienced delisting and bankruptcy in the United States, Gu-endorsed drinks immediately sold out, and the coffee brand said it would launch more products.
Chinese media reported that even though Mengniu is not an official partner of the Olympic Games, he managed to sign the hottest athlete, which improved brand sentiment. The dairy brand reportedly signed the contract with Gu in 2019.
Despite the Winter Olympics’ complex marketing scene, Prokopec said that as long as Gu carefully selects the right brands to promote — those aligned with the image she’s built for herself — there’s no problem with the fact that they also work together. with global brands and international markets.
She associated Gu’s brand power with Gen Z, because around the world, “brands are looking for more authentic faces to resonate with Gen Z, and athletes like Eileen Gu and Emma Raducanu are good examples of that.” .
Yiming Su has been bought by many brands this season
Another rising star is Yiming Su. The 17-year-old snowboarder and former child actor who won a gold and silver medal works with at least 11 brands including Buick, Adidas, KFC, Burton, Oakley and Clear, according to his agency Endeavour. Yili, Mengniu’s biggest competitor in China and partner of the Winter Olympics, announced that Su joined as a brand ambassador on Tuesday after winning the gold medal.
Genki Forest has also invested heavily in Gen Z marketing. After suffering several brand crises last year, it is now seen as the biggest winner of all brands thanks to its cooperation with three Chinese gold medal winners. : Gu, Su and Mengtao Xu.
Audiences are switching from television to online video channels
In China, sports fans enjoy sports coverage and short videos on mobile phones and social networks such as WeChat video channel, Tencent sports and Kuaishou. Other video clips were shared and reposted on social media and digital platforms, which propelled the Winter Olympics to the top. It helped that the panda mascot is currently a sought-after KOL and “social currency” in China.
Audiences shifting from TV to online video platforms are not limited to China. the Washington Post explained why NBC’s ratings are terrible, but the Games could be “one of the most-watched video events in US history.” YouTube, TikTok and other digital platforms contributed viewership but were not calculated by the broadcaster.
Increase in sales of winter sports products
Digital platforms, along with brands, have also amplified the marketing and brand impacts of star athletes and online sales of sporting goods.
Sports agency Mailman noted that Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com said sales of ski products on its platform from January 31 to February 4 tripled compared to the same period last year, while sales of ski goggles had increased 15 times and so had sales of figure skates and ice hockey sticks. skyrockets. Incidentally, JD.com partnered with Gu.
According to data from Alibaba’s Global Shopping Festival last November, sales of ski products jumped 120% year-on-year. Last December, Fliggy, Alibaba’s online travel platform, said bookings for snow and ice travel more than doubled from the previous month. The IOC’s official sportswear uniform supplier Anta led the competition when the brand began cooperating with Gu in 2019.