Chinese lifestyle retail brand, MINISO, has teamed up with McCann China, to launch a multi-touchpoint integrated marketing campaign, called Reinvigorating China’s Intangible Cultural Heritage, during China’s Golden Week national holiday in October.
Due to changing times, much of China’s Intangible Cultural Heritage now gathers dust in collections of artifacts in museums far removed from people’s daily lives. Whilst many agree that China’s Intangible Cultural Heritage should be preserved, MINISO wanted to go a step beyond this and revitalise heritage items, bringing these back to life to enrich people’s everyday lives and those of future generations.
The campaign is one of the key projects in the “Chinese Cultural Innovation Global Development Plan” launched by MINISO and the Xinhua News Agency (China’s official state news agency). It is part of the 10th anniversary of the Belt and Road Initiative and carries the vision of both parties to shape and promote Chinese culture.
The campaign had multiple touchpoints. Commencing with a film to explain the beauty and current status of China’s Intangible Cultural Heritage through to engaging consumers via interactive offline events to allow them to experience the pride and excitement of being a part of “Continuing to Write China’s Intangible Cultural Heritage.”
Leveraging its huge retail network, MINISO launched a series of Chinese Intangible Cultural Heritage daily necessities. Based on three traditions: Jiang Yong Nüshu (an exclusive script used only by women), Chinese Paper-cutting, and Cao’s Kites, MINISO leveraged its design expertise and embedded the heritage items into the designs of a new suite of products ranging from paper fans, to aromatherapy, stationery and even pet supplies.
The three traditions are also front and centre of the campaign TVC.
David Zhang, Group Planning Director of McCann Shanghai, said: “When MINISO reintroduced the three wonderful daily items they really enriched people’s lives. The campaign resonates across hundreds of years of time and space. When people put these small intangible cultural heritage items to use, you can say that our cultural heritage came alive again.”
As part of the campaign, MINISO also transformed its Xian flagship store into an intangible cultural heritage theme store. The fusion of ancient and modern life vibes caught the attention of consumers and the store became a must-visit spot in Datang’s Sleepless City (a pedestrian street that promotes the fusion of culture, tourism, and commerce) – the most popular travel destination in Xian. Sales in the store increased by 150% during the holiday compared with the previous month.
To further engage people, MINISO and McCann China also launched an interactive event in Datang’s Sleepless City called The Lost Nüshu, during the Golden Week holiday. This featured digital ink calligraphy from the Ballad of Mulan written in Nüshu by Jiang Yong. When people were not interacting with the exhibit, the ballad shown on digital screens slowly disappeared. But every time a participant started to write the Nüshu text on the experience iPads, the text showed up on the big screens, filling in the gaps and re-forming the complete ballad. Nearly 3,000 people participated in the event, and over 1,000 people shared their onsite pictures on social media.
This direct way of interacting enabled the campaign theme of “our intangible cultural heritage will not disappear if someone is using it” to resonate.
Relevant hashtags went viral on social media. In just a few days, total views reached nearly 500 million, with an engagement of nearly 1 million. Relevant brand videos have been played nearly 15 million times.
To extend this event experience, Mulan ballads co-written by hundreds of female users were also displayed on large outdoor screens in New York Times Square, and other downtown areas of Xian, Guangzhou, and Shanghai gaining great attention from passers-by.
The entire marketing campaign triggered a huge buzz on social media like Tiktok, Little Red Book, etc. Thousands of people shared their observations and thoughts on Nüshu, female power, and praised the spirit of maintaining China’s Intangible Cultural Heritage. Numerous conversations were generated, bringing the engagement between the brand and consumers to a new level, and the views of relevant content reached over 10 million during the holiday period.
How Chu, Executive Creative Director of McCann China, said: “Our Intangible Cultural Heritage should not be a cultural memory that will gradually fade over time. So we took a very sincere approach to tell the story in a way that made our Intangible Cultural Heritage fresh and vivid, so it could be recognised and used by people again. MINISO was the key driver of this transformation. Our Intangible Cultural Heritage will not disappear if people actually use it.”