In an effort to empower women in China to fight against sexism and inequality, LUX created a topically relevant pop anthem, #Unstoppable, and distributed it through an integrated marketing campaign.
According to a global Nielsen study, one out of two women around the world are judged for expressing themselves differently. They face up to 15 sexist judgements every day and 70 percent of such judgements are related to their appearance.
A search on Twitter revealed startling facts:
Judgements, labels, and name calling can curtail a woman's self-expression, voice, and confidence, leading to self-editing, lowered self-worth and a negative self-belief.
As a brand, LUX takes a stand wherever women are judged and labelled as the brand believes in inspiring women to rise above everyday sexist judgements and express their beauty and femininity unapologetically. With the number of judgements women in China face every day, LUX felt it was apt to play a role in silencing judgements in line with its brand purpose.
The objectives set were:
The target of the campaign was Chinese gen Z consumers who make up about 15 percent of China's population, with 88 percent of them using their mobile devices and tablets. Data from McKinsey and Mindreader revealed the life of Chinese gen Z'ers exists on mobile devices, from social interactions to online shopping, from learning about the world to getting entertainment and inspiration. Apart from high social media consumption (87 percent), this consumer base also watches video content (78 percent) and listens to radio/stream music (58 percent) on their phones with the top passion point being music (81 percent).
Gen Z lives in a virtual world and that makes them more exposed to judgements. In China, judgements and biases take shape in the form of creative labels. For example, a woman could be labelled a "green tea bitch," "flower vase," "bimbo," and "white lotus" and many more derogatory labels. If a woman likes to dress up, the woman is often labelled a "temptress" or "manipulative bitch" simply because of her choice to express her beauty and style.
In China, music as a platform has a huge influence on gen Z. Seventy-two percent of this audience in China listens to music, an average of 16 hours per week, mostly on smartphones. Music isn't just entertainment for them; they look up to music stars for inspiration and encouragement. They follow music influencers fanatically, idolize them, and seek to learn from their lives.
LUX has been tackling sexist labels and encouraging Chinese women to rise above judgements with its communication campaigns for more than two years now. While an established beauty brand like LUX has the means to reach a lot of consumers, the influence is nothing compared to the power of music and popular culture.
Therefore, LUX decided to leverage gen Z's love for pop music to address the widespread consumer tension of women being labelled. The labels which women face were crowdsourced and then used to create a rousing pop anthem, #Unstoppable, by partnering with the world's leading music company Universal Music Group (UMG). The brand got an unusual ally in musician and singer Dylan Xiong — someone who has also been a target of judgements and labelled for his appearance, choices, and opinions — to inspire and encourage women to fight against labels.
In the past, LUX has been focused on smashing sexist labels in China but this was done through TV campaigns. This is the first time an integrated campaign using partnerships, activation and a mobile-first package was put together. The movement had scale to drive real impact via pop culture.
Overall Campaign Execution:
LUX wanted to portray how women feel when being labelled, give them a voice, and work with a popular artist as an ally to enable change. The #Unstoppable song was written by leading Chinese pro-woman singer-songwriter Tifa Chen and performed by Dylan Xiong to the tune of Kelly Clarkson's hit song Stronger, with lyrics comprising a litany of judgements that Chinese women receive every day.
To ensure success and talkability for the song, it was crucial for LUX to maintain authenticity around the anthem. The campaign didn't have any overt branding when the track was first launched, allowing audiences to focus on the labels, lyrics, and key message. UMG's network and expertise in music marketing was used to launch this anthem using major music digital service providers (DSPs), Xiong's social media handles, and music industry networks to build under-the-radar excitement.
The peak and highlight of the campaign were planned around the partnership with Sisters Who Make Waves 2, a popular show about how women with different careers and life stages challenge themselves and audition to form a new girl band. Having the contestants perform the #Unstoppable anthem on the live finale was a unique way to speak to as many women as possible.
Branded elements, along with a music video, were shared globally via Xiong's Weibo social media account in China, the Philippines, and Vietnam and across Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. Additional talkability was generated through media and PR releases on web portals, publishers, top key opinion leader (KOL) accounts on Weibo and official social media accounts of local media outlets.
Given the highly digital landscape of China, social media and mobile formed the backbone of this campaign. All executions were mobile-friendly with 90 percent of campaign elements on mobile, i.e. music trailers, an audio release of the song, the music video launch in DSPs and on video streaming platforms, performance of the song on the Mango TV app, and a partnership with Sisters Who Make Waves 2 for the live streaming performance of the finale.
Not only was mobile imperative to building reach, but using mobile as the backbone also created an interactive space that encouraged participation and enabled users to respond instantaneously. Campaign-specific Weibo "#topics#" were created to aggregate conversations about the track, music video and live show streaming, and even labels women face, generating talkability.
LUX used digital and mobile execution platforms such as:
As one of Unilever's well-loved beauty brands, LUX is a driving force behind Unilever's recent Positive Beauty vision. Launched in March 2021, Unilever's Positive Beauty champions inclusivity and celebrates the diversity of beauty that exists across the world. LUX's role in achieving Unilever's Positive Beauty vision is to use the brand's voice to drive gender equity and inclusivity, by inspiring women to rise above sexist judgements and express their beauty and femininity unapologetically.
#Unstoppable with Dylan Xiong and UMG China sets out to positively impact millions of women in China, to inspire them to see beauty as a source of strength rather than a source of judgement. This is in line with Unilever's Positive Beauty's commitment of taking action to help improve health and wellbeing and advance equity and inclusion, reaching 1 billion people per year by 2030.
The overall LUX score in 'inspiring women to express their beauty confidently' increased by more than 10 percent, impacting a positive shift in brand equity in China. Specifically, audiences who watched Sisters Who Make Waves 2 showed 37 percent higher result in this score.
The campaign contributed to a 17.5 percent sales uplift in April 2021 year-over-year.
The #Unstoppable campaign successfully drove resonance with the focused targeted audience of gen Z:
Women were moved that a male celebrity was cheering for women to smash labels and judgements especially when online gender antagonism is rampant. The outpouring of positive reactions to the song's message was evidenced by a comment on Xiong's social media account: "Thank you for taking a stand from a woman's perspective and encouraging us. Listening to your song, I already feel unstoppable."