Tony Liu, chairman and chief creative officer at M&C Saatchi aeiou, explores some of his favourite projects to come out of China over the last few months
I am Tony Liu, founder of M&C Saatchi aeiou in China. In this article, I have included five pieces of work exploring if lazy is the new trend, if Mozart is still alive, what to cheers to to turn red to green, how to comb your way to beauty and an opportunity which only comes once in a hundred years. These works give Western viewers quick grabs and hints of what projects are like in China. But most importantly, I would like to take this opportunity to share some cultural differences, local insights and local values, which are used to create one-of-a-kind campaigns, showcase thinking outside the box and create impacts on society...
Haier - 'Lazy Times'
Production: Qianxi Media
Laziness drives the development and progression of human society, which is a very interesting entry point creating a statement that provokes people’s curiosity. Combining consumers' intuitive perception, actual behaviours, usage experiences, product functions and product qualities with the use of humorous execution, 'Lazy Times' makes it easier for consumers to identify with the products and the brand while also easily receiving information on the Haier Smart Home and creating a likeable brand impression.
Pfizer - 'Mozart's 80-Year-Old Concert'
Mozart died of a bacterial infection at the age of 35 in the year 1791. At the time, there was simply no cure for his condition. Imagine if the right drugs were available back then to avoid the fate of Mozart’s premature death and extend his life to the age 80 and even beyond; the history of music would be all the more magnificent!
Guangzhou Baoline Fine Brewing - 'Liwan Cheers'
Facing the sudden pandemic lockdown of Guangzhou’s Liwan District in May of 2021, instead of morale advertisings, a new product 'Cheers' was born. The product name, 'Liwan Yinsheng', is meaningful, as the word 'Yinsheng' means 'Cheers' in Cantonese. Guangzhou Baoline Fine Brewing hopes to call on everyone in Guangzhou who underwent the lockdown of Liwan District to have a drink, make a toast to this great city and pay tribute to every Guangzhou citizen actively cooperating with the anti-pandemic measures, as well as to themselves. By using Lychee - the signature fruit of Liwan District - as a key ingredient of the product, Baoline Fine Brewing has helped to relieve the local farms from hoarding pressure. The design of the packaging also includes the iconic visual of the 'Green Health Code'*. The beer is currently sold online, with a portion of the profit donated to support small local business.
*The 'Green Health Code' is a government issued app developed to manage the outbreak of Covid-19. A green-coloured code indicates that one can travel and the immediate district or city is safe. A red-coloured code indicates one cannot travel and the district or city he or she is from is not safe, or in lockdown. If a district or city is in red code, then the green health code on the drink becomes a symbol of recovery, hope and joy as a common perception.
MuQing - 'Hairstyle Figure'
Agency: 33 and Branding
MuQing, a timber products company, is known for producing wooden furniture and also small wooden goods such as hair combs. MuQing wanted to create a series of posters to attract more attention to their combs product line, and thus, 'The Daily Beauty of Combing' was born.
SHEDE - 'A Toast to SHEDE from SHEDE'
Agency: M&C Saatchi aeiou
Production: Hotshot Films
On the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China, the SHEDE brand launched a communication in conjunction and synchronisation with the People's Daily, a national authoritative news media, to make full use of the brand name 'SHEDE' for the 95 million Communist Party members. The Chinese term 'SHEDE' means 'willingness to sacrifice or cast aside one’s grudges in order to receive or gain something' - a concept embedded into thousands of years of Chinese philosophy. In China, 'SHEDE' is not only the name of a Chinese liquor brand, but also a spirit, a culture and a national philosophy worthy of being proclaimed in the centennial of the Party. Together with the People’s Daily news content, the brand also used party members in different professional sectors of society to embody and push the SHEDE philosophy’s impact and spirit on a national level. Combined with the SHEDE brand's own online and offline marketing content, this campaign created a full dimensional coverage of 'A Toast to SHEDE from SHEDE”. And thus, SHEDE, a special brand at a special time with a special meaning, created a special communication and marketing structure and established a new campaign model that cannot be replicated.