Meituan recruits indie band for back-to-spring campaign

On 2 April, food delivery platform Meituan launched a new springtime campaign with disco-tinged indie band Huichun Dan. Together with Watsons, MINISO and Decathlon, Meituan released 3 short video ads featuring the band and their songs. The campaign promotes outdoor protection, skincare and outdoor products for the spring. A prize draw to win a picnic blanket is also available to people buying from certain Watsons or MINISO outlets.

Huichun Dan, founded in Qinzhou, Guangxi in 2016, was an internet indie darling before shooting into the mainstream in 2023 via the TV show The Big Band. Huichun Dan (回春丹, restorative pill, or lit. back-to-spring pill) is named after a traditional Chinese medicine formula that treats children’s colds, coughs and digestive problems. The campaign name, “回春就在这一单” (one order back in spring) is a play on the fact that the “Dan” (丹, lit. pill) in the band’s name sounds the same as “单“, meaning order. On Weibo, China’s Twitter equivalent, the topic “one order back in spring” gained 343,000 views.

On the same day as Meituan’s campaign, Huichun Dan also faced controversy in Taiwan. The band was set to play the Taiwan Music Festival in Pingtung over the weekend after a show in Taipei on 2 April. Huichun Dan posted on Weibo about its Taipei gig and referred to the island as “Taiwan, China” (中国台湾), which caused backlash among Taiwanese netizens. Their slot at the festival was then cancelled on 2 April by the event organisers. On Chinese social media, netizens mostly support the band and accuse the organisers of being overly sensitive.

As live music, festivals and indie music find a wider audience, brands are increasingly recruiting bands into their campaigns. However, having been on TV, shows such as The Big Band still provides a sort of approval from the cultural establishment. Season 3 champion Second Hand Rose and Varihnaz, who are also from Guangxi, are two of the examples. However, the fit between bands and brands is also an important factor in collaborations. Huichun Dan’s light-hearted but sincere music works very well with springtime outings and personal care, and it would seem Meituan has found a fitting ambassador for its new campaign.


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