The pollution in China is offering brands the opportunity to get creative:

As China’s dangerous air pollution worsens, most urban citizens now don’t dare to walk out the doors without arming themselves with high-efficiency face masks covering two-third of their faces. American cosmetics house Max Factor has exploited the air pollution and to come up with a Sina Weibo campaign responding to a possible positive correlation between the use of face masks and eye makeup sales. In the campaign titled “Smog Busters”, the brand asks participants to upload photos of their “most creative or most beautiful ‘face mask makeup’ looks” for the chance to win eye makeup products from Max Factor and the opportunity to be in Marie Claire China. The brand also provides mascara must-haves for smoggy air on its page.


This social media campaign was only one of several recent efforts by brands to market their products in the name of fighting the negative effects of China’s worsening pollution levels. Max Factor’s campaign was fairly successful: more than 33,000 Weibo users have tweeted the campaign’s hashtag, showing off a range of stylish masks paired with meticulously applied eye makeup. Since the campaign is going until April 25, that number is likely to grow substantially.

In addition to cosmetics, another industry that stands to benefit from pollution frustration is the auto sector, where car companies can tout their “green” credibility as the government regulates car use in cities and subsidizes electric vehicles. In September, Volvo teamed up with Galaxy SOHO to launch a “Green Air” campaign on Sina Weibo, which called on participants to list their environmental protection ideas. The winner with the best post was selected as Volvo’s “Green Ambassador” and received the use of a free Volvo for one year. Volvo has made other efforts to boost its ecological image on China’s social media. The company also sponsored a product safety campaign for school uniforms following a scandal in which school uniforms in Shanghai were found to contain toxic chemicals.

Brands appear to be appealing to two main mindsets with their campaigns: some, like Volvo, aim for an image of corporate social responsibility, and encourage user participation in the name of making a difference for the environment. Meanwhile, the beauty brands appear to be going for more self-interested motives—namely, women’s efforts to stay beautiful despite being bombarded with a thick layer of smog and having to wear a hospital-like mask whenever they leave the house.

The focus on eco-friendly marketing—aimed at appealing to both altruism and vanity—makes sense in China, where urban residents come face-to-face every day with the country’s serious environmental problems. In the future, we’re likely to see more brands joining this trend, as China’s cities grow grayer and citizens become even more fed up with the smog.

See the original article from the Jing Daily here.