Brands, both local and foreign are becoming more innovative in their digital marketing campaigns in China.

Here are three inspiring examples:

Citroën DS and Crowdfunding

Brands selling luxury cars in China have recently started using the “crowdfunding” technique. This new trend came from the United States provides projects funding through the contribution of a large number of people. This phenomenon is very useful for brands in China in terms of digital marketing strategy, with the country‘s over 618 million internet users.

Citroën has decided to offer Chinese Internet users to help co-develop their new luxury line of DS cars. The French manufacturer has submitted to various online opportunities to participate in crowdfunding on mobile platforms.


So they opened their DS WeChat store on January 1st at 11:11. Somehow managing to take out the special meaning of the number 1 existing in the Chinese culture on this special date.  This hight number of 1s, indeed reminds the date of the Double 11 an online festival shopping held every year on November 11th (11/11), the day Singles Day in China. An event where huge spending is taking place on Chinese Internet e-commerce sites each year. Repeating this combination of 1s was therefore a smart move for Citroen and presenting their promotions scheduled from January to June 2014 and divided into three stages:

For the first step, the “luxurious party” of DS 5LS, the goal was to educate users to the brand and to enroll them into participate in the promotion operation. So that they could pay 1 yuan to have a 100000 kilometers free maintenance on a period of 3 years.

For the second step, “Bao DS orders” users could pay a deposit of 5000 yuan (via WeChat) and were reimbursed 11.11 yuan per day until the car arrives. The sum is again a symbolic reminder of the Double 11 shopping festival.

The last step, “DS premium crowdfunding” offered Chinese Internet users to be reimbursed 100 yuan, for each 1 yuan they had paid. This is a sort of discount on the price of the DS car for the potential buyer based on its fundraising skills.


The success of this crowdfunding campaign for the DS is based on Citroën’s excellent knowledge of the Chinese purchasing behaviors. The manufacturer was able to reuse the symbolic meaning of the Double 11 on a new date, the one of their WeChat store opening. The French auto giant also understood the necessity to federate a large community to have successful online marketing operations on a platform such as WeChat.

Indeed, the reputation of the brand via the internet word-of-mouth and community forums is of paramount importance to reassure consumers about their online purchase.

Crowdfunding campaign for his new Citroen DS line has created the craze with its creativity. It will also permit the manufacturer to reduce its selling costs, by avoiding going through intermediate traders. In addition to proving to the world that China can sell anything online, even luxury cars.

Momo, the flirt application

Following its launch in 2011, the application of geo-localized messaging was a huge success. Indeed it gathered 100 million users and more than $ 2 million revenue through the sale of stickers and games. This makes it the most used application after WeChat. By the end of the year Momo is even thinking of an IPO in the United States.


However, the application sufferedfrom being accused of  hosting and encouraging pornographic content by the Chinese National Office against pornographic and illegal publications in April. But the purpose of the application is only to connect geographically close users, who can then decide to converse. However, we note that the men connected to Momo tend to seek a partner, whereas women are looking for new friends.

In order to change its image after the accusation made by the Chinese authorities, Momo introduced new features to its application. Such as a timeline function where the latest news of the users is visible. The application has also created communities that users can join depending on their interests

The brand also launched a new communication campaign, with the message “find fun around you.” With these changes, the application managed to change its image while differentiating WeChat.

The investigation of Yves Saint Laurent

Chinese are big consumers of luxury brands, mainly foreign. Particularly in the field of cosmetics, that is controlled by foreign brands at 80%. Companies in this sector must differentiate themselves from the competition in order to take the advantage. This is why the luxury cosmetics companies are among the most active in digital marketing.

Yves Saint Laurent is known for its frequent activities on the different Chinese online platforms. In July 2014, Yves Saint Laurent made a survey circulate via its WeChat on ” kissing habits ” in order to promote its new collection of lipstick.

enquête YSL

The survey had 8 questions, one on the sign of the horoscope. The following questions were about the kiss itself with: the elements of a good kiss, the duration that should have the first kiss with a new partner, and finally what part of the body of the loved one they prefer to kiss. The results of the survey included a personalized recommendation of lipstick that participants could share on a social network. A good way to link the two major Chinese social networks that are WeChat and Weibo.

This survey reflects a certain liberalization of Chinese society. Indeed, the survey questions were quite explicit but catchy and appropriate for the targeted customers, modern young women.

The trend of digital marketing campaigns in China is to be more innovative and try to involve as many Chinese consumers online as possible. An understandable goal because that is how the brand will encourage them to share their positive experience around them. Therefore creating a positive word of mouth on the Chinese internet, a good online reputation and consequently, customers.

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