Best Practices of Qixi Festival campaign: a case study of beauty brands’ WeChat effort

by Queenie Yao

The Qixi Festival, also known as Chinese Valentines Day, is an important date for brands in China. This year’s Qixi festival falls on August 14, and we are already observing a laundry list of international brands launching their special campaigns in China, with some starting as early as July.

As a traditional Chinese festival, Qixi tells a love story about a couple of cowboy and weaver girl, being separated by the Milky Way, and can only meet up once a year upon a sky bridge, on the seventh day of the lunar month of July. Now the narrative of this traditional festival has been moving beyond the legend, being given a modern meaning of the Chinese version of Valentine’s Day, that resonates with today's younger generation people. An overwhelming of brand promotions, advertisements, and marketing campaigns can be found on social media and e-commerce platforms. To stand out among the crowd, beauty brands are leveraging new technology, creativity, and the latest market trends to increase their reach to consumers in China.

In this article, we study the best practices of Qixi's digital marketing campaign from four well-known international beauty brands.

YSL Beauty Qixi newsletter redirects customers to visit WeChat mini program

In May this year, WeChat released the latest build, to support the ability to jump from SMS newsletter to mini-programs. Now this new feature is officially available for WeChat mini-programs under overseas entities. It allows retailers to leverage their customer database established across offline flagship stores or other online sales channels, and redirect customers to visit their social e-commerce store in WeChat, and inspire viral share of the marketing campaign.

SMS newsletter helps YSL Beauty quickly reach out to existing customers at low cost. YSL's special SMS also provides exclusive promo codes and custom engraving services at no cost.

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SMS newsletter jumps to YSL Beauty's WMP product page

The example displayed above showed how ordinary promotional SMS works. The URL link in the SMS directs customers to a mobile landing page. When customer hit the button in the mobile landing page, the page will activate WeChat and launch YSL Beauty's WeChat mini-program. For new users to the mini-program, they will be invited to quickly authenticate the mini-program with their WeChat account, and officially become a WeChat MP user of YSL Beauty.

The landing pages of SMS newsletter marks love and romance with the new capsule lipsticks. Featuring a sleek, slim silhouette, this new luxury lipstick from YSL Beauty is offered in 9 different matte shades for selection. This also creates incentives for male customers who want to buy presents for their wives, girlfriends on this special day.

SkinCeuticals invite customers to participates in their exclusive Qixi livestream in WeChat

SMS's one-click linkage feature empowers brands to effectively improve retention efficiency and enhance the operation of the brand's private domain members.  Other beauty brands such as SkinCeuticals are also leveraging SMS to attract customer traffic and promote campaigns.

SkinCeuticals embedded their short link to the WeChat mini-program at the end of a promotional SMS newsletter and invite customers to participate a live-streaming campaign.

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SkinCeuticals SMS invites customers to livestream 

After customers joined livestreaming session, they will receive an exclusive promo code and gift with purchase. Each product page has a short video to provide a comprehensive introduction to SkinCeutical, which will further educate customers about the brand.

After the video, the anchor provided professional skincare advice and recommendations according to the different skin types of different customers. He demonstrated to the audience how to match and choose other serums for oily or dry skin.

During the livestream, if a customer is unsure which serum is suitable for her dry skin type, the anchor will then provides a specific serum item and application tips based on the customer's demand and inquiry. Real-time interaction during livestream helps the brand to better foster customer understanding about the function of products.

This short link released by SkinCeuticals precisely directed consumers to the specified page of the mini-program.  SkinCeuticals can also collect click and browse data to form a comprehensive analysis of consumer behavior.

Armani Beauty Kicked off a Series of Missions to Maintain Customers

Building engagement and creating social hype can be leveraged into a heightened brand image.  Some brands even provide incentives for consumers to engage in the Qixi UGC campaigns, like how Armani Beauty gives its customers rewards when inviting friends to its customer club or sharing content on Little Red Book. Such a campaign can be leveraged to drive engagement as customers are able to preview how products will look when they see other people use their desired cosmetics items.

To capture the Qixi Festival hype, Armani WeChat mini-program shop released an interactive campaign themed "Declare Your Love" to encourage customers to initiate sharing action. This campaign offers various benefits for customers: extra samples, upgrade gifts, exclusive bracelets.

Exquisite visuals that can attract customer participation are another crucial step. Armani Beauty built a suite of romantic love-letter "Qixi Card" (七夕卡片) to distinguish different missions and goals of social sharing.  Each Qixi Card is downloadable and designed for saving and sharing.  This can effectively improve customers' sense of belonging and increase their likelihood of initiative sharing.

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Qixi Card with different sentences

To add, Armani Beauty launched a limited-time “True Love Quiz”, which is a relationship match test that allowing quiz initiators to share the quiz link with their partners or friends. The quiz is fun, and it can spread wildly in a short time and gain a large number of users. After completing the quiz, respondents can also send their own exclusive link to other people to invite them to join the love match test. This session establishes the emotional connection between brand and customer.

This stimulates consumers to pull in more personal contacts to become Armani Beauty's new registered member.  A variety of rewards are available: the rewards for consumers depend on the differentiation of the numbers of new users that invitees can pull in. The more friends you invite, the more samples you get.

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True Love Quiz

Besides the WeChat sharing mission, the brand urges the consumer to share the brand's Qixi-relevant content on Little Red Book.  Consumers can choose to post the Qixi Card or posting images and experiences with Armani Qixi-themed items on Little Red Book.

From serums to facial creams, and foundation to lipsticks, Chinese customers now share their own beauty experience and expertise more frequently on Little Red Book's social-sharing platform. Also, they tend to spend hours fixated on social media to provide them with insight and experiences on brand and product. Thus, user-generated sharing offers prestige beauty brands an opportunity to project product seeding within their social communities. 

In many cases, it is hard to get consumers to post content and reviews on social media, while the reward tier incentivizes users to create content. In this way, hashtag campaign #Armani Qixi "阿玛尼七夕" drives traffic to the brand among Little Red Book.  This helps Armani garnering more attention to Armani Beauty's WeChat mini-program shop and join in the interactive campaign or make purchases.

A search for #Armani Qixi "阿玛尼七夕" on Little Red Book returns over 8k posts, with many commenters saying that they could give each other a “Like”, some commented: “now I can redeem the samples now”.

Customers only need to upload the screenshots to the campaign gallery of Armani Beauty's mini-program to redeem multiple samples. 

Kiehls’s Qixi-themed mini-game improve customer’s engagement

For brands, always think about the shareability of your promotional campaigns so that they will access your customer's network.

In July, Kiehls built a campaign title "Romantic flight with love" (爱的浪漫飞行) within its WeChat mini-program for its digital-savvy shoppers.  Kiehls created a built-in mini-game: Romantic flight with love. The game is based on a romantic Chinese legend of a weaver girl Zhinü (Chinese: 织女) and a cowherd Niulang (Chinese: 牛郎), who can only meet each other once a year.


New players have only 6 chances to play

Customers can collect rewards after advancing in the game, and there are a limited number of rounds per day. To unlock additional playthroughs, you will be prompted to share the Qixi campaign link to invite friends to engage and play the game. As more friends participate, it gets easier to succeed.

The campaign looks like a mission roadmap, giving rewards to consumers that either invite friends to Kiehls' WeChat store or sharing content on Little Red Book with the hashtag #Romantic flight with love.  Encouraging such frequent interaction embeds the brand into consumers' daily habits.

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