On 9 December, a special spacecraft was launched into orbit at Site-96 at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Northwest China. It was a Zhuque-2 rocket by the private launch provider LandSpace. What is special about it is that it bears blind box maker POP MART’s Skullpanda silhouette markings on its body.
The take-off was the third flight of the Zhuque-2 rocket and the second successful one. The rocket was also the first liquid-fuelled private rocket to be successfully launched in China. The latest launch also marked the first methane launch vehicle to launch payloads into orbit, with the three satellites carried by the rocket.
Branded with the “Front Garden Blossom” series of Skullpanda, the collaboration was named “Enchantment in Space”. The “Front Garden Blossom” is a limited series of blind box figurines from late 2023 that includes 12 regular versions and 1 secret version. The series is in the theme of traditional Chinese ink and wash paintings, especially that of plum blossoms, a typical winter flora.
The crossover also included limited edition pin badges with exclusive artwork of Skullpanda and the Zhuque-2 rocket, which are also given away as part of a prize draw. POP MART states that the brand has long been fascinated by space, as evidenced by its Space Molly figurines and a previous Molly collaboration with ASES Space, a state-owned company.
For POP MART, the crossover is a continuation of their space-themed toys and also a chance to further its reach to those who are into spacecraft, such as model collectors. On the other hand, by partnering with the toymaker, LandSpace is trying to tap into younger audiences. A possible crossover point is spacecraft model collectors since POP MART blind boxes are collectibles themselves. The collaboration is another example of POP MART trying to broaden its brand awareness via co-branding campaigns.