Balenciaga received a lot of negative publicity in China for its Qixi campaign earlier this year, but the luxury brand’s recent Singles Day success demonstrates it has a deep-rooted understanding of local Gen Z subculture, according to strategic consultancy Yuzu Kyodai.

How’s that then? 

  • Older generations grew up aspiring to Western and imported brands but Gen Z has a more confident relationship with their Chinese identity, say agency directors Jessica Kong and Scott Teng.
  • The younger generation celebrates ‘tuku’ (or ‘peasant cool’) and this is what Balenciaga was tapping into, they argue, rather than mocking Chinese consumers with a call to embrace ‘ugly fashion’. 
  • The campaign shows the importance of a brand marrying its own values – Balenciaga experiments with bringing the surreal and mundane together – with those of its target audience in a relevant manner.

Key quote 

“The backlash the campaign faced is more a reflection of the difference between generations of Chinese consumers when it comes to their relationship with Chinese identity.”

Read more in WARC’s Spotlight series on how brands can craft better culture-relevant marketing that resonates with consumers in a changing China.

Sourced from WARC