- Chinese electronic appliance brand Midea won over consumers with an emotional commercial featuring its solution to sweaty summer cooking conditions – a kitchen air conditioner.
- The short film was accompanied by an offline pop-up in Foshan, Guangdong province, where an “experimental kitchen” was set up for visitors to experience the difference that its innovation can make.
- These series of efforts demonstrate Midea’s confidence in China’s kitchen air conditioning sector, which has been gaining traction over the past two years.
A typical scene in a Chinese household kitchen
Starting off with a sequence of familiar scenes from Chinese households where meals are busily being prepared in a muggy kitchen in the summer, the short film released by domestic electronic appliance manufacturer Midea intended to evoke a strong feeling of kinship amongst its viewers, and ultimately, promote the brand’s solution to unpleasant cooking conditions – Kitchen Cooling Series Kitchen Air Conditioner.
Entitled “Neglected Background Board”, the three-minute film cleverly zooms in on the details where family members, including an elderly couple, a middle-aged mum, and a young husband, are drenched in sweat as they cook in the kitchen.
The video also highlighted some of the characteristics of traditional Chinese cooking, such as using intense fire to stir-fry and generating lots of smoke as a result, while focusing on the images where the cooks’ clothing and backs are drenched. By doing so, the production attempts to play on the emotional aspect to spur consumption desire.
A physical taste of Midea’s kitchen-cooling solution
To contextualise the idea of kitchen air conditioning, Midea set up an “experimental kitchen” at ASLO Community in Foshan, a prefecture-level city in central Guangdong province. From 14 to 15 July, the two-day pop-up event invited visitors to “take the challenge” of cooking in the “Summer High Temperature” kitchen, which was set to 40°C, so that they could experience the difference when they moved over to the other section where the room was cooled to a comfortable 22°C with its air conditioner installed.
While the Olympic gold medallist and swimmer Jiao Liuyang was also in attendance, presenting Midea’s summer kitchen innovations, the event extended the concept of family, entertaining eventgoers, especially those with children and included some parent-child bonding activities as well as a band performance.
Expanding into the kitchen air conditioning market
Through these series of efforts, Midea has shown its ambition of pioneering into the kitchen air conditioning sector. Despite emerging as early as 2009, the domestic market response to the practice of installing an air conditioner in the kitchen was lacklustre over the past decade. However, the segment has signalled growth in the past two years, with sales of such products recording nearly 80,000 units in 2022, which is a year-on-year growth of 20.1%, as per the Chinese media outlet Industries Online.
Meanwhile, the publication of the first Group Standard for Household Kitchen Air Conditioners in March, which was jointly produced by Midea and the China Association of Standardisation, has placed air conditioning as a focal point in the development of household appliance makers in the coming years.
The continuously growing consumer interest in these kitchen facilities injects further confidence into the market as 16,600 air conditioner units for the kitchen were sold in the first quarter of 2023, a 25.6% increase compared to the same period last year, while the market concentration of the top 5 brands is 70.7%, which has increased by 4.5% compared to Q1 2022.
The growing foothold in the sector is believed to be driving consumers aged between 25 and 40 years old, including the post-95s and post-00s cohorts who are in pursuit of a high quality of life, according to China Household Appliances Network. As a result, having a comfortable cooking environment contributes to an improved life experience. Such a consumer need is expected to continue as these generations grow older, resulting in the projected rise in kitchen air conditioners in the next ten years.
Therefore, it is a shrewd move by Midea to lend weight to the sector whilst it is picking up steam in the country. By leveraging the emotions around family, Midea is able to create a psychological connection between the featured product and its target audience. The timely endeavour coupled with innovations designed to cater to more specific consumer demands, and thus, enhance life satisfaction of those savvy generations of consumers, allows the brand to maintain and even expand its foothold in the long run.