Last year, Marriott International commissioned Arnold Ma to create a marketing campaign for the Shanghai opening of Moxy, a hip and modern offshoot of the US hotel giant for young adults.
At the US Marriott Moxy Hotel, the front desk doubles as a bar, and lobby furnishings feature slogans like “Pizza is my spirit animal.” Marriott knew it needed to localize Moxy to appeal to his Generation Z in China. China-Focused Digital Hires Ma, his CEO at Qumin, his marketer, to pitch an energetic and vibrant brand to younger Chinese consumers, who are known to be skeptical of foreign influences I was. And to “lying down” to escape the rat race of the Chinese economy, we do nothing we can.
The project was a contradictory study, but it was up to Ma’s Qumin team to make it work.
They began by conducting a kind of informal ethnography of China’s Generation Z and found that members of China’s Generation Z had an ‘innate confidence’ in their abilities and desire to create. did. So Cumin hired an underground Generation Z artist with a cult following to paint the hotel interiors and craft his cocktails for the launch of China’s first Moxy Hotel in Shanghai’s Hongqiao district. I asked the group for help. Local graffiti he artists tagged walls with robots and abstract images. A DJ played house music. There was a pink and purple plastic ball and a pillow pit specifically designed for the opening with a picture of a guitar and red floating lips.
An accompanying campaign on Douyin, a Chinese TikTok called “Where Brave Starts,” featured an influencer who created a Moxy-themed video, encouraging his followers to create thousands of videos. “We had a sort of pyramid effect of having creators create work for the hotel and then turn it into content,” he says.
The “Make Moxy Yours” campaign generated “a staggering 420 million views and 5.98 million likes” on social media channels in China, said Jennie To, vice president of brand marketing at Marriott Asia Pacific. Toh) said. After opening in Shanghai Hongqiao in June 2021, Marriott has opened her second Moxy hotel in Shanghai and her four hotels on the mainland. More locations are “planned,” Toh said.
Courtesy of Marriott
In the weeks following the campaign, occupancy at Moxy’s flagship store in Shanghai increased by 500%.Marriott declined to say whether its success will continue this year amid stringent COVID restrictions, but executives insist the company’s business in China remains strong. [Marriott’s or its partners’] Hotels benefit from increased domestic travel [in China]but we pause when certain markets are put on lockdown,” Marriott CEO Anthony Capuano said on an earnings call earlier this month.
Marriott appreciated the success of its marketing campaigns, but its leaders didn’t fully understand how Ma was performing. “[A Marriott executive] I was like, ‘I don’t understand what’s going on in these videos,'” says Ma.
Foreign executives don’t have to look China’s Generation Z in the eye to recognize their power. His 270 million Generation Z in China make up his 19% of the country’s total population, and this proportion he expects to increase to 27% by 2025, according to China’s Digital His Marketing Agency. is he Alarice predicts. According to China Renaissance, her Gen Z spending power in China is expected to quadruple from now to 2035, reaching $2.4 trillion. However, Gen Z’s habit of hating overwork and preferring local goods ignores the generational shift of the past. Western brands that want to maintain a presence in a market of 1.4 billion people must rethink their China strategy and learn a new set of rules to crack her Gen Z code in China.
China’s Gen Z isn’t just unreadable to foreign executives. Older Chinese also struggle to understand cohorts who were relatively wealthy and grew up in the world of WeChat.
China’s Generation Z population was born between 1997 and 2012. It was a time when the country was transforming from a turbulent backwater into a global powerhouse. During that time, China’s economy has grown eight times its size, growing from the seventh largest economy in the world to the second. When the first Generation Z was born in 1997, China’s economy was just beginning to boom, with the country’s GDP per capita at $781. By 2007, when Gen Z turned 10 years old, her per capita GDP in China more than tripled to his $2,694. Generation Z sees China only as an economic powerhouse, and is distinct from its elders, who have accumulated years of service at the same time as China’s rise.
“This is probably the biggest generation gap anywhere in history,” says Ma.
Allison Malmsten, marketing director at Daxue Consulting, says smartphones are exacerbating this relationship. Generation Z in China is defined by their digital life. “In the West, the integration of social media and e-commerce is kind of testing the water,” she says. “But in China, they’ve been doing this for years already…So social media time is more integrated with shopping time, more integrated with bragging about what you buy. .hobby.
Courtesy of Marriott
The chasm between Gen Z and older generations fosters movements such as “lie down” and “regress.” The term refers to the opposite of evolution and encourages people to stagnate. The older generation happily recorded long working hours to grow China’s GDP. Generation Z struggles to find profit. China is already the top economic powerhouse, and the rewards for their hard work are dwindling.
This generation grew up in a “very high pressure environment.” There, fierce competition to get into the right middle or high school is followed by an equally fierce scramble to find the right job or spouse.CEO of consulting firm Young China Group. But the rat race isn’t as profitable as it used to be. In June, China’s youth unemployment rate hit a record high of 19.3%. Buying a home is becoming more and more out of reach. In 2020, the average housing price in each city in China was nearly 13.7 times the average annual income, almost double that in the United States. [Gen Zers] You work, you compete, and you’re out of reach for what you want in life,” says Dichtwald.
Lying down and degeneration aren’t just online prey, experts say. Symptoms of passive resistance are appearing throughout Chinese society. Some white-collar workers are quitting stressful jobs and moving to the countryside. Experts also attribute China’s declining fertility rate, at least in part, to Chinese women’s desire to avoid government and social pressure to have children.
Alaris founder Ashley Dudanerok says dissatisfied consumers who promote a “lazy culture” are not easy marketing targets. But brands doing business in China should try to reach China , but the results are mixed.
Last year, a Russian man named Lelush, whose stage name was Vladislav Ivanov, became a national star and icon of the lying flat movement after participating in a Chinese singing contest reality show.After Lelush signed up for the show , he deliberately tried to lose and stop voting by deliberately poorly singing and begging the viewers not to vote for him. Despite Lelush’s attempts to kick off, he barely missed a spot in the show’s finale, making it through 10 episodes.
Since then, fashion brands Prada, Gucci and Fendi have all featured Lelush in their advertising campaigns in China.An additional chewing gum owned by the American company Wrigley has appeared Lurush in commercials Chew gum and carelessly commute, go to the office, work out at the gym.
national super or nationalistic purchases
Ma argues that China’s “lying” narrative about Generation Z may be “blown out of proportion.” Marriott’s campaign shows that Gen Z isn’t necessarily indifferent. They just wanted to identify their passion and find a way to pursue it.
He said the most difficult part of his job at Marriott was selling foreign brands to young Chinese. “It used to be that Western brands were always considered better. That’s no longer the case,” he says.
that’s right, national super, or nationalistic purchases, are on the rise in China as the rift between the US and Beijing widens. It is especially popular among Generation Z consumers. According to a survey, since 2011, the number of people who said they would buy Chinese brands more than foreign brands increased from 15% to 85%. A McKinsey survey of 5,000 people in 15 cities in China in 2020. And much of that increase is thanks to Gen Z. According to a recent survey by Tencent, 45% of Chinese consumers born after 1995 often buy products with Generation Z. national supercompared to 38% of consumers born in the 1990s and 27% of consumers born in the 1980s
In March 2021, some young consumers burned Nike shoes to protest the company’s stance on forced labor in China’s controversial Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region. Social media users threatened to boycott Snickers candy bars after a Snickers ad shown outside mainland China this month mentioned Taiwan as a country. Snickers’ U.S. parent Marth Wrigley apologized on August 5, saying Taiwan was “an integral part of China’s territory”. Declared.
“Generation Z in China is ‘awakening’ in its own way,” says Malmsten. “Considered advanced among his Generation Z in China, he is very critical of foreign influences.”
Foreign brands cannot be ignored national super tend to lose to patriotic competitors. Instead, companies based abroad are stepping up their collaborations with local brands and institutions.
“Guochao is all about authenticity and nationalism. The only way foreign brands can do it well is by borrowing authenticity and borrowing nationalism through local partners,” says Ma. He cited Oreo’s collaboration with Beijing’s National Palace Museum, a historical museum inside the Forbidden City, as a successful partnership.
In 2019, Oreo and the Palace Museum created a line of empire-themed Oreo cookies with flavors such as green tea cake, red bean cake, and lychee rose cake.Emperor Kangxi. Oreo claimed to have sold 760,000 boxes of new cookies online on its first day and attracted 260,000 new followers to its flagship store on Alibaba’s TMall platform.
Other brands clumsily participate in Chinese patriotism, causing an easily identifiable consumer backlash. national super con man.
American chocolate maker Dove has launched its own Forbidden City-themed chocolate box for Chinese New Year 2020. However, Internet users complained that the box contained few elements of Chinese history and was merely a ruse to capitalize on it. national super.
“Any collaboration that is seen as superficial or incorporates inappropriate cultural elements puts a brand’s reputation at risk,” says Dudanerok.
According to Dychtwald, foreign brands will ultimately have to approach the modesty of the Chinese market.
“We have to make attractive products. [China’s Gen Z] “Global brands invest in market intelligence for that, but they don’t always empower local Chinese teams to actually formulate strategies.”
The days of coasting on brand awareness are long gone, says Ma.
“You can’t rely on the fact that you’re a traditional foreign brand,” says Ma. No, people care what you do now.”