Think herbal drinks aren’t rock ‘n’ roll? Think again! Last month, the 354-year-old traditional Chinese medicine brand Beijing Tong Ren Tang opened a stand at the Guangzhou Strawberry Music Festival. This unlikely pharmaceutical venture was for a drink called Shengmaiyin, a herbal tonic that fortifies the “qi” or spirit. Tong Ren Tang promoted the drink at the event to energise the festival goers.
In a “dopamine”-coloured booth, the Shengmaiyin stand contained a photo-friendly corner for “checking in”. There were also fun activities such as Q&A, hair braiding and sticker sessions. Gashapon-style (randomised capsule drawing vending machine) prize draws gave away wristbands, bags, portable chargers and Tong Ren Tang merch. Herbs contained in the drink were also exhibited at the stand while two costumed mascots provided further photo opportunities. Tong Ren Tang’s loquat drink was also available at the stand.
It was not the first time Tong Ren Tang made an appearance at a music festival. This August, it opened a similar booth at the Xiami Music & Arts Festival at Aranya, Hebei. Trying to appeal to a younger audience, the Shengmaiyin drink is marketed as a tonic for overtime work and helps boost energy for fun, such as at festivals.
Banking on the “self-care” culture, Tong Ren Tang opened a coffee shop in Beijing, providing herbal-infused coffee and tea in 2020 and brought its coffees to Taobao Maker Festival the year after. As “China Time-honored Brands” face difficulties connecting with the younger generations, Tong Ren Tang’s tour of the festival circuit will surely help it stand out from the crowd.