Business Video

Sprite & Baijiu: Lessons on Marketing to Chinese Consumers

Successful marketing campaigns in China depend on a deep understanding of Chinese culture and traditions as well as local consumer behavior. This campaign by Coca-Cola and a local Chinese Baijiu maker check many of the right boxes for engaging with and selling to Chinese shoppers.

These days, marketing in China is no easy feat. The immense size of the Chinese population continues to lure many overseas companies as a Holy Grail of new markets, but the continuing evolution of China and its consumers are actually making things more difficult, not easier. The advent of an increasing number of local competitors – who instinctually understand Chinese consumers better than their foreign counterparts, only adds to the difficulties. For sure, gone are the days when “showing up” was the key to success for foreign companies in China.

Recent years have also seen a number of foreign companies commit major marketing faux pas, insulting the sensibilities of Chinese consumers and government regulators alike. These mistakes include Victoria’s Secret wrapping models in a tacky dragon design, companies failing to list Taiwan as part of China (which Chinese consumers and the government certainly view it as), and Dolce & Gabbana producing several cringe-worthy videos which were viewed as belittling the Chinese people.

Even when marketers learn enough to avoid outright insults, challenges still remain. On one hand, marketers need to ensure their content is geared toward local consumers, whether it be reflecting local culture and traditions, taking into account Chinese consumers’ mobile-focused lifestyle, or failing to adapt their brand to appeal to a new market.

And that’s one reason I love this campaign by Coca-Cola, featuring a partnership between its Sprite brand and a local Chinese Baijiu maker, Jiang Xiao Bai. This campaign saw the combination of the Sprite and Baijiu flavors, but also saw a highly effective marketing campaign which not only successfully attracted the attention of local Chinese consumers via a focus on Chinese social values and drinking culture but also succeeded in achieving a huge amount of engagement on Chinese social media.

So, take a look at the below video where I explain this interesting collaboration in more detail, taste the product on-camera, and share some key takeaways for foreign companies who are interested in marketing in China. If you’re interested in more videos about China and Chinese culture, you can check out my YouTube channel HERE.

Thanks for reading!

Do you have any additional questions about marketing or business in China? Do you have any experience marketing or doing business in China, which you would like to share with fellow readers? Please feel free to post your thoughts in the comments section. You can also send a message directly to the author on social media.

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