- Chinese young consumers’ growing enthusiasm for animation provides an opportunity for brands to leverage this surge.
- Tapping into this trend, the Chinese smartphone maker Oppo introduced a limited-edition mobile phone, in collaboration with the beloved Japanese anime Detective Conan, in celebration of the Chinese Valentine’s Day.
- The release excites Chinese anime fans, drawing over 600 million views on Weibo and Sohu.
The brand that created the Internet buzz
Founded in 2004 in Guangdong province, south China, Oppo is one of the world’s leading electronic products brands. Their huge success is due to their excellent high-quality camera phones, with Oppo being a pioneer regarding the development of smartphone cameras. It is the first brand to offer smartphones with 5MP and 16MP front cameras, which, indeed, contributed to the company’s rise to the position it finds itself today.
Currently, Oppo has expanded to more than 40 countries and is part of the BBK Electronics conglomerate. Based in Chang’an, the brand is also a principal investor for the smartphone startup OnePlus. This year, Oppo ranks the fourth largest smartphone brand globally and second in the Chinese smartphone market, as the brand unveiled its latest 5G device targeting anime enthusiasts.
For the purpose of celebrating the Chinese Valentine’s Day, the Qixi Festival, also known as the Double Seventh Festival, Oppo co-branded a Valentine’s Day limited edition mobile phone – The Oppo Reno 6 Pro+ Detective Conan
The announcement made a huge buzz on the internet and soon the hashtag #Oppo柯南联名# (Oppo Conan Collaboration) gained over 600 million views on Weibo and Sohu, receiving many positive comments from the anime fans community, expressing their love for the anime characters and their desire to collect Conan’s gadgets. This ability to tap into new markets and increase the scope and demand for their products is one of the key ways Oppo is building upon its strong brand image.
Bring the “detective environment” to the collaboration
The Chinese tech company, which had already successively collaborated with several anime such as Neon Genesis Evangelion and Gundam, has once again shown its understanding of how to maximise elements of an animated work in its products. Oppo was also very strategic concerning the period when the device came out, during summer vacation when many students have the time and money to upgrade their phones, capitalising not only on their consumer bases tastes but also their financial position to purchase the new product.
The excitement was met with curiosity at the press conference, when Oppo released several clues of the product, recreating the detective atmosphere seen in the anime. This not only kept the audience engaged throughout the session but also left them an impression that there was more than only the mobile phone inside it.
What’s inside is even more surprising. The mobile phone and its accessories with limited color matching and design were placed on the “three-floors” of the agency. The brand chose the theme of the “Red Bond” (红色羁绊), which is one of the main lines of the anime, the bond between the characters Shinichi Kudo (Jimmy Kudo) and More Ran (Rachel Moore). The characters were also ingeniously included on the phone back cover, making the design clear for the target market, of anime enthusiasts that Oppo is aiming to sell to.
Enrich user experience with classic lines of Conan
Having made its debut in 1996, Detective Conan has been broadcast on all municipal TV stations in China and since then it has been constantly showing reruns. As such, it has become a huge part of the childhood memories of many Chinese from the 80’s generation onwards, even post-90s and post-00s can relate to this nostalgic feeling.
Conan has, undoubtedly, possessed a very large fan base in China and this is one Oppo is now using to leverage more market share domestically. It can be seen that brands’ interaction with cultural highlights could be a clear marketing strategy that will be met with success within China if the brand can correctly target the right media.
The collaboration went beyond customising appearance. Creative efforts had also been put into the mobile phone system itself. Users can send a love message to their loved ones using the voice assistant by saying Conan’s classic line “There is always only one truth”. And even more, when the user first enters the device’s system one needs to fill in a new confession in order to unlock it successfully “Love is zero, but zero is the start”, one of the favorite romantic quotes in Detective Conan, incorporating the most memorable parts of the show into user’s experience.
This level of detail and knowledge of the show embedded in the product serves to show the care with which Oppo has created this partnership, gaining trust and additional adoration for Detective Conan fans with these additional features.
With this wealth of experience in product customisation, Oppo saw all limited-edition products sell out online within half a day on July 30. Since then, the brand has been driving customers to its physical stores for remainders, thus attracting a growing number of store visits, with the increase in sales not only of this product line but the chance to upsell further across their product range.
The once-again successful launch of Conan Reno 6 Pro+ limited edition by Oppo has shown the huge potential that China’s manga industry can bring to brands in other territories. In the meantime, it is worth noting that the immersive environment that was created by the brand throughout the launch event, and that has been embedded in its products, have levelled up the collaboration. As more brands tap into this strategy, rather than visual effects, it is the user experience that should deserve more attention when it comes to leveraging collaboration.