Kiehl’s dyes Shanghai’s Yuyuan Road blue for Spring unwinding

Key takeaways:

  • Leveraging Tmall Super Brand Day, Kiehl’s revealed a “Moisturiser Street” on Shanghai’s century-old street Yuyuan Road.
  • The street space was dyed sky-blue, which is the same colour as the campaign’s featured products.
  • The event provided a real-life pixel game experience, capitalising on the concept of gamification while also tapping into the niche sport of skateboarding.

The American cosmetics brand Kiehl’s unveiled a “Moisturiser Street” on Yuyuan Road, a century-old street in the Chinese city of Shanghai, capitalising on Tmall Super Brand Day, a brand-specific mega-sale initiated by China’s e-commerce giant Tmall, allowing brands to offer special promotions and exclusive perks, which is also known as brands’ own “Double 11” shopping festival.

A blue realm for games, skateboarding and more

Under the slogan “Super Chill”, the street space was dyed, sky-blue, the same colour as the protagonist products in the campaign, including an ultra-facial cream and an oil-free gel cream. A large-scale games console was placed at the centre of the event space, recreating a life-size version of the rather old-fashioned pixel game Eat Beans.

Running from 6 to 11 April, visitors were invited to a real-life game experience with an “adventurer guide” providing instructions on “missions”, such as a Scavenger Hunt-like game where participants were asked to take “check-in” photos of selected “Chill” spots. Rewards were available upon completion of a task, therefore, smartly playing on the concept of gamification while enriching the visiting experience. Meanwhile, it also leveraged the game’s element of beans, or (dou; beans) in Chinese, which is a homophone of (dòu) (dou; acne), giving a nod to the main functions of its featured products which is to clear acne.

A skateboard playground was installed in the “players’ base camp”, shrewdly tapping into the niche sport that has continued its momentum amongst China’s post-95s and post-00s, who are the demographics the brand aims to engage with. An “Icy Lounge” was strategically built a stone’s throw away from the activity area, where visitors could experience the hydrating and refreshing solutions that Kiehl’s products can offer after a sweaty session.

A shelter from work burnout

To not miss out on the audience who simply seek a space to wind down, benches along the street were covered with the featured blue colour and also served as a reminder of the brand’s efforts. Meanwhile, signages along with balloons were scattered across the area, delivering messages that highlight some of the practices exercised by China’s Gen Z workers, protesting the country’s toxic work culture, such as (tǎng)(píng) (tang ping) or lying flat, and (bǎi) (bai lan), which means a voluntary retreat in the face of a losing battle.

These slogans speak to the psychologic needs of the young generations of office workers. As such, the brand was able to resonate with its target consumers while keeping in line with the campaign’s tagline, further encouraging photo opportunities, which is crucial for brands’ campaigns to generate additional buzz online. As a result, the campaign hashtag “Let’s Chill” soon garnered over 10 million views within 24 hours on China’s largest microblogging site Weibo.

Signages along with balloons were scattered across the area, delivering messages that highlight some of the practices exercised by China’s Gen Z workers.

In addition, a “Rest Station” was set up at the foot of a historic villa in the surrounding area, serving as another site point for photo opportunities. Recreating an oceanic ambiance, the station demonstrated a continuation of the pixel game with the artificial mountain and coconut tree in the background designed in the pixel cartoon style.

The beauty label also went the extra mile to partner with several coffee shops and fast-food restaurants on the street and created co-branded coffee sleeves. This is a thoughtful endeavour that shrewdly grasped the consumers’ need to recharge with food and drinks during a visit, therefore, extending the time visitors spent on-site.

Meanwhile, it allowed the brand to create an immersive visiting ambiance and to enhance the brand’s voice while extending the campaign’s reach. By doing so, Kiehl’s was able to bring a more thorough consumer experience and add its appeal to young consumers who have a large appetite for coffee consumption.