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Attract Chinese Millennials with Nostalgia Marketing

Positive experiences create a sense of comfort and security for everyone, and marketing strategies that tap into cherished memories work exceptionally well with millennials [S]

As the service and high-paying technology industries continue to grow rapidly, millennials face increasing pressure to constantly learn and adapt to avoid being replaced by younger workers. In fact, the highest level of anxiety for millennial workers tend to occur around the age of 32-33 [S].

By leveraging nostalgia, brands can connect with millennials on a deeper emotional level compared to other generations. Taking a stroll down memory lane offers a brief respite from the constant stress, provides opportunities to reflect on personal growth, and fosters a heightened self-awareness. Ultimately, this reshapes millennials’ attitudes toward an uncertain future, forging a stronger link between past and present.

Furthermore, millennials in China are the first generation to actively engage in social activities. Utilizing nostalgia to build social connections becomes an effortless and more effective way for brands to forge bonds and cultivate closer relationships.

Three Types of Nostalgia Marketing Scenarios:

1. Evergreen brands that were popular in the 80s or 90s

Spend the least effort as they are part of the nostalgia sentiment. However, innovation is important as nostalgia cannot be relied on forever.

The logo of white rabbit candy
An advertising flyer of the lipstick with white rabbit flavor.

White Rabbit cream candy is a shared childhood memory for all millennials. At the end of 2022, White Rabbit and Maxam, a brand for personal care, jointly launched a line of lipstick of limited edition with white rabbit candy flavor, triggering consumers’ emotions and memories through familiar smell.

In recent years, White Rabbit has also collaborated with other brands and launched products such as perfume, shower gel and hand cream, all of which have been sold out on Douyin. White Rabbit used nostalgia as an opportunity to expand its business lines and to increase brand awareness.

2. Brands who produce nostalgia-specific merchandise

It requires a heavy investment to handle everything from copyright issues to customizing products or services.

Logo of Jimmy Choo

“Jimmy Choo”, the famous fashion brand, collaborated with “Sailor Moon”, the well-known Japanese anime upon the 30th anniversary of its publication. They issued sailor moon-themed products including shoes, boots, and handbags, attracting quite the buzz.

pictures of jimmy choo shoes and boots in sailor moon style
3.Brands riding the coattails of nostalgia for brand awareness only

This is the most accessible scenario for the majority of brands. We’ll dive into it on the next page.

Example of Ping An, China Using Nostalgia Marketing to Attract Millennials

Jacky Cheung(张学友)released his debut album in 1985 and has since become one of the most renowned singers among millennials in China. In light of his latest concert tour this year, Ping An China, one of the largest domestic insurance companies that was established during the same era when Jacky rose to fame, seized the opportunity to craft a tribute video. They also initiated a Weibo super-topic: “There ‘YOU’ are along the way,” cleverly playing on the pun of “YOU,” the last character in Jacky Cheung’s Chinese name.

A picture of Jacky Cheung and the logo of Ping An, China together.

There “YOU” are along the way

Numerous Weibo influencers and regular users shared the video and generated related posts using the designated hashtag, resulting in a total engagement of 261 thousand and a remarkable 110 million reads.

Screenshots of the comment sections under the posted video, and one of the comment says: Ping An, China is 35 yo already. Time flies.

The tribute video from Ping An, China follows the trajectory of a man and a woman’s love story, and pairs each stage of their life with a Jacky Cheung song. The songs covers the themes of love, companionship and life troubles, resonating with millennials who are living through them.

screenshot of the "There you are along the way", depicting each stage of the love relationship.

Ping An, China offers various insurance plans for customers with different needs, providing a sense of security. The nature of its product and service fits the video’s narrative perfectly, and expresses Ping An’s message that: We understand what you’re going through in life, and just like Jacky’s songs, we’ll be there every step of the way. It’s a successful attempt to raise brand awareness and make an impression.

Capitalize on Timely Topics on Nostalgia Marketing with Weibo

There have been 6 trending topics on Weibo related to Jacky Cheung in 3 month since he announced his concert tour.

Weibo is an online space for public discourse; Ping An, China successfully married its brand value with nostalgia marketing and a trending event. They took full advantage of the Weibo ecosystem to stimulate engagement and insert their brand narrative.

If you want to learn more about how can brands attract Chinese millennials on China social media platforms, feel free to download our guide “Social Media Marketing to Millennials in China”.

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