NESCAFÉ explained how its marketers used personalized messages from one of China's most popular singing cartoon characters.
Objective and Context:
In China, bottled coffee is losing ground with young audiences. Its key advantages, convenience and flavor, are losing appeal when one can easily get the newest viral bubble tea drinks. Among the 15- to 25-year-old audience, growth in the bottled coffee category is 30 percent slower relative to their older counterparts.
To revitalize love for NESCAFÉ, the brand had to demonstrate its innovation and understanding of youth culture.
The key segment for NESCAFÉ to win over was the generation born after 1995, whose members spend 45 percent more on food and beverage every month than older audiences.
Due to China's one-child policy, many of this generation's members grew up alone, often even without cousins. They long for companions. In their solitude, they have been captivated by virtual idols, or "vocaloids." Vocaloids are like anime characters, except their singing voices are synthesized by computers. Fans of vocaloids can upload any song they want at any time, and vocaloids can perform for them using an algorithm.
These highly interactive, "anytime and anywhere" companions have provided young people more intimacy than real idols. To young people, these virtual idols have not just been mere fictional characters; they are revered as indispensable friends.
NESCAFÉ set out to win young people's interest by working with their most beloved virtual idol, providing a personalized experience.
NESCAFÉ partnered with the top virtual idol in China: Luo Tianyi. The brand targeted its audience on the platforms that were most relevant to them and enabled Luo Tianyi to give each consumer a customized greeting, based on people's location, the weather, and time of the day.
Overall Campaign Execution:
To tease the campaign, NESCAFÉ targeted Luo Tianyi's fans through China's biggest youth culture website, Bilibili, and aired a customized Luo Tianyi NESCAFÉ video during Double 11, China's biggest shopping festival.
To unlock Luo Tianyi's personal greetings, the consumer just needed to scan the Smoovlatté bottle. Once scanned, Luo Tianyi showed up in a page, inviting the user to interact with her. One could play a small game to unlock her personal voice message. Tianyi's messages were customized based on the location, weather, mood, horoscope, and time of the day. She encouraged the user, insisting that "no matter what happens, I will be your biggest cheerleader!" or, at night, "Take care of yourself and rest now!"
Consumers could share the greetings on WeChat, China's top social platform, thereby encouraging posts and discussions with friends. On Douyin, China's top short video app, NESCAFÉ created a filter with Tianyi's music video so that fans could interact with her and be in the same frame with her.
The campaign reached almost 87 million fans on Weibo, China's top micro-blogging app. The brand raised sales by 40 percent versus the same season the previous year. And during the campaign period, NESCAFÉ Smoovlatté market share enjoyed 4 percent monthly growth.