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For the 2016 Olympics Coca-Cola has adapted it’s global campaign idea to the Chinese market. The 2016 Message: “Gold” is not about winning at all costs.


The campaign is an example of how marketers in China try to tap into the national zeitgeist. China experienced years of fast-paced economic growth and development; growth has slowed, and the government has pushed to rebalance the economy to something more sustainable. That feeling has trickled down to ordinary people too, with a sense that after years of striving to get ahead, it’s time to take stock of what’s important.

“People are trying to lead a more balanced life – it’s not about winning at any cost,” said Richard Cotton, head of creative excellence for Coca-Cola China.

See the video and further background from AdAge here.

Coca-Cola partnered with internet giant Tencent and its social network Qzone, which has 588 million monthly active users. It has a feature similar to Facebook’s “On This Day,” which offers prompts about memories people have shared in the past. Coke is sponsoring the memories, turning them into “Gold Moments.”


Brands need to recognise themselves not as vehicles of consumerism but as intricate entities within the broader system of culture. 

Chinese consumers are seeking a more active and healthier lifestyle, as they have better awareness and seen more media coverage on key issues like pollution, the environment, and food safety. These increasingly health-conscious Chinese consumers represent an important growth opportunity for companies selling their products and services across a myriad of industries from health & wellness, sports & apparel, through to pharmaceuticals and even into more niche categories. However, to attract these consumers brands will need to be more forward thinking in their marketing approach. 

In the food industry, for example, 14% of Chinese respondents claim to be eating more healthy food now, compared with 13.1% in 2012, according to CTR China National Resident Survey (CNRS-TGI). The awareness among Chinese people of the bad effects of junk food has also risen by 15% in the past two years alone. Yum Brands, the parent of KFC and Pizza Hut, has enjoyed fast business growth as China’s fast food industry grew at an average rate of over 12% per year from 2009 to 2014. It is the largest western restaurant operator in China with over 6,500 outlets and 50 % of its global revenues come from China alone. But the shift in consumers’ attitudes towards food quality changed, its business was inevitably impacted: KFC’s sales in China in the second quarter of 2015 dropped 10% from a year ago. 


Changing socio-economic and political parameters, shifting perceptions of the role of consumerism, increasing competition as well as consumers’ familiarity will not only change the market in the coming years but also consumers “immunity” to promotional messages. Brands need to fundamentally re-evaluate; from the way they view their broader role within society and construct strategies to the way they carry out research, communicate and innovate. The key is to recognise themselves not as mere money-making machines and vehicles of consumerism, but as intricate entities within the broader system of culture. 

We can find strong locally relevant brands in many markets worldwide, including China where culture is now a critical area that marketers can no longer neglect. From health to sports to food & beverage, brands have started to see great success by adopting a culturally tapped marketing strategy which combines the past, present and the future, fusing nature and technology simultaneously to give a cutting edge positioning in all their brand communications.

See the article in full from Kantar China Insights here.