- Tmall’s Chongyang Festival campaign brought together China’s Millennials and Gen Z, as well as the silver generations by capitalising on their shared pursuit of “being modern”.
- It invited senior KOLs who have already become national sensations due to their avant-garde fashion tastes to collaborate with young content creators, showcasing modernity in different practices.
- The strong age contrast also allows brands to refashion their approach to engaging with a wide range of Chinese consumers.
Getting older is inversely proportional to the statement “keeping up with the times”, a stereotype in itself but a key message that Tmall, one of China’s largest e-commerce platforms, wants to convey through its latest campaign dedicated to this year’s Chongyang Festival. Also known as the Senior Citizens’ Festival, the traditional event is held on the ninth day of the ninth month of the lunar calendar, which fell on 4 October 2022.
Some visit their ancestors’ graves to pay their respects as they would on Tomb Sweeping Day, while others view it as an opportunity to appreciate the elderly, which is a more common practice on the day.
Although the festival seems to be less relevant to modern China and the younger generations are now less likely to take part in other customs like climbing a high mountain, drinking chrysanthemum liquor or wearing the Zhuyu plant (or cornelian cherry), Tmall’s campaign brought together both China’s Millennials and Gen Z, as well as the silver generations while breaking the generational gap by capitalising on their shared pursuit of “being modern”, giving birth to Tmall’s Modern Plan.
Targeting the young on a day for the elderly
Gifting remains commonplace amongst the young Chinese to express their gratitude. With the post-95s becoming economically independent, products that are designed for the needs of the elderly such as electronic massagers, walking sticks, and health supplements are gradually losing their appeal to the savvy demographic of consumers.
Meanwhile, the unique emotional bond between the younger generations and their grandparents also contributes to the change in gifting preferences. Growing up under China’s one-child policy, most of the country’s Millennials and Gen Z spent a lot of their childhood with their grandparents, and therefore, are generally more attached to them compared to the older generations, resulting in an intergenerational intimacy.
Such closeness also plays a part when it comes to choosing gifts, which is regarded as an enhancer and sweetener for the relationship between the young and their elders. In response to consumer needs, the campaign for seniors, unconventionally, mainly targets the young, while connecting the different generations by recognising that the desire of being fashionable never gets old.
Leveraging a cross-generation intimacy
Guided by their goal, Tmall partnered up with a total of 52 brands, including emerging new businesses and time-honoured market players, which is a nod to the campaign’s concept where young meets old. Participating brands cover categories ranging from fashion clothes and jewellery accessories to designer toys and consumer electronics.
“Same-style” offerings have become the feature to capitalise on with the contemporary characteristic of brands’ products and the cross-generational relationship. By doing so, not only has Tmall catered to the gifting needs of the younger generations, but it also connects a purchase to those young buyers, therefore, strengthening the intimacy between consumers of different age groups while further provoking the consumption desire amongst the young.
To further the campaign voice, Tmall invited six silver-haired KOLs who have already become national sensations due to their avant-garde fashion tastes to join other content creators from the Gen Z crowd and younger to showcase modernity in different practices ranging from fashion and beauty to technology.
Such a strong contrast in the age not only corresponds to the campaign tagline but has also drawn in huge public interest online. While the main hashtag Tmall Silver Modern Plan garnered accumulated views of 910 million across all social media platforms as of 4 October, several derivative topics soon followed, generating another 310 million views on China’s largest microblogging site Weibo.
By discovering the same pursuit of maintaining relevancy in the modern world between China’s younger and older generations, Tmall is able to leverage both the lucrative young consumers and the senior demographics who are expected to generate a market value of over 20 trillion RMB ($279 billion) by 2030 while the number of people aged over 60 is estimated to hit 400 million by 2035, accounting for more than 30% of China’s total population.
Meanwhile, the campaign also allows long-established brands to rejuvenise their offerings and stay relevant to the young while maintaining their appeal to the senior generations, and providing other market players with an opportunity to refashion their approach to engaging with a wide range of Chinese consumers.