Skincare brand Zhiben “job-hunts” in metro stations

Since the end of May, commuters have started to notice job-seeking ads in some metro stations in Chongqing, Zhengzhou, Henan, Guangzhou and Shenzhen, Guangdong, as well as Beijing Subway. Upon closer inspection, these ads are from Chinese skincare brand Zhiben for two of its products, showcasing their CVs/résumés and answering some interview questions.

Zhiben has brought out its ‘Soothing Recover Foam Cleanser’ and ‘Soothing Recovery Cleansing Balm’ with taglines such as “very gentle” and “very effective” respectively. The CV includes graphs showing the products’ strengths and experiences (both worked from 2016 to now). Meanwhile, there is also a Q&A section answering possible questions from interviewers, such as “Introduce yourself in one sentence”, or “What’s your biggest advantage”,  which are answered with the benefits of the products.

Job-seeking ads in metro stations have been growing in popularity since April when a jobseeker posted his CV in Guangzhou Metro. He reportedly spent 1,000 RMB (137.82 USD) to have the lightbox spot for 5 days. He received 30 interested parties instantly. This made the people of Guangzhou realise that the Metro accepts ads from individuals and in June it was reported that Guangzhou Metro has seen job-seeking, lonely heart, and all sorts of personal ads. A lot of them are, incidentally, similar to the earliest personal ads according to Wikipedia, satirical or for “memetic” fun.

Founded in 2012, Zhiben has been known for not doing much, if any marketing. Unlike most C-beauty and skincare brands, Zhiben did not do any brand manifesto-type of marketing or celebrity endorsement in its early days. Instead, it focuses on products and users, and leverages advanced research and development to harness the “skintellectuals” who delve deep into ingredients and functions. The brand also runs educational accounts and promotes the latest findings from the research they conduct, which is affectionately called “(academic) paper marketing” by fans.

However, the brand clarified that since it opened its offline flagship in 2019, it had started regular marketing including “brand story” type of content. Its offline marketing still shows much restraint as this campaign demonstrates. The recent Zhiben metro ads shows that the brand has found a simple and creative way of advertising that fit the minimalist and “frigid” brand image, while also relevant to this job-hunting season.


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