The Top 10 Brand Weibo Posts in China of 2012

If you thought brands in China were in any way behind their western counterparts when it comes to starting and influencing conversations on social media, think again.

Although without Twitter and Facebook, brands in China are reacting quickly, insightfully and creatively with the 140 characters permitted on China’s main platform, Sina Weibo.

Shared by thousands and in some cases tens of thousands, the posts below have reach similar to that of a small ad campaign. Their impact is arguably greater though, since the message is passed on by friends of the audience and carries with it the implicit brand endorsement that makes good social media marketing so powerful.

Top 10 Weibo Posts – Plus one bonus!

1. Although barred by Olympic regulators from creating overtly “Olympic” content, Nike still managed to create huge buzz on Weibo this summer with real-time “guerrila” commentary of Chinese athletes and their performances in London. Nike never directly mentioned the athletes or events, but with their mix of beautiful graphics and inspiring copy, everybody got the hint.

Minutes after gymnast Chen Yibing was denied a gold by what was regarded in China as an anti-China judge panel, Nike posted the below graphic. The copy could be translated as: “There’s no such thing as absolute fairness, only absolute greatness.”

This post, like many other perfectly-timed and insightful examples throughout the sporting event, was shared more than sixty thousand times.

2. A hot topic this year in China was “Single’s Day”– an occasion where online retailers slash their prices in a similar way to Black Friday in the US. As people discussed feverishly available deals and the $3 billion sold within one day on Taobao/Tmall, BMW got people talking with this mock ad for a “Single’s Edition” BMW 5 Series: 

3. Brands in China fear few things more than the March 15th Consumer Day show on CCTV, China’s national broadcaster, which airs brand misdemeonours in front of audiences of hundred of millions.

And so when McDonald’s responded within just minutes of being accused of poor hygeine with a straightforward, no-bullshit Weibo statement, more than eighteen thousand shared, many in support. This support can be attributed to two things: a speedy response and pre-issue weibo brand-building so successful it led people to take the side of McDonald’s against CCTV.

4. Four minutes after Robin van Persie scored for Manchester United against his old club Arsenal, the people behind the club’s Weibo reacted with a great post: They wrote nothing, simply tagging a well-known account, @我的前任是极品, which could be translated as “My Ex is a Jerk.” Tapping in perfectly to anger over this alleged treachery, more than thirty thousand reposted in support.

5. When Weibo’s comment function was mysteriously blocked from March 31 to April 3–many believe due to political controversy at the time, Mini responded with this playful bit of subversion:

6. As winter came to an end in China, one of the country’s best-known writers, Han Han, was getting over an online spat with pop-science writer Fang Zhouzi. He’d been accused by Fang of employing a ghost writer. Unlike other controversies in China, there was no clear right or wrong–families, friends and offices were divided, with people identifying themselves as either 挺方 (with Fang) or 挺韩 (with Han).

Chinese online clothing store Vancl, which had been facing challenges of its own with top management departing and many doubting the company’s future, responded with the following post. They were standing behind Han Han, their controversial brand ambassador, and everybody knew that the copy –“Spring is here… we have nothing to fear” (trans.)–was a clever reference to the challenges facing both the brand and its spokesperson.

7. When a piece of copy or advertising visual is popular enough in China, a meme is created as brands and ordinary users create and share their own versions of the original. Disinfectant Bestguard was among the many brands that did their own take on the below ad, posting the following graphic and copy, which can be translated as: “Bacteria are here… we have nothing to fear.”

8. Burberry is as popular on Weibo as it is on Twitter and Facebook, and posting daily London weather reports gets people talking as much in China as it does in other parts of the world:

9. Less than half an hour after Obama beat Romney in the US Election, Durex came up with the below post. The copy, in case you’re wondering, reads: “The difference between Obama and Romney…”

10. Small companies are succeeding on weibo too. A memorable case this year was curiously-named florist “The Beast,” an independent store that tailors its bouquets based on details of the receiver collected from customers via its weibo. The Beast keeps its 100,000 fans engaged and drives sales with snippets as below, a story about an arrangement and its links with TV drama, Downton Abbey:

11. BONUS! It’s not just businesses getting creative on Weibo; China’s police built its brand after this post from Cuiyuan police station was shared by more than thirty thousand, who were touched and taken aback by this uncharacteristic display of humor:

Translation: A girl came in crying to report that she’d lost her purse. There wasn’t much cash in there, she said; it was that her boyfriend had just bought it for her last week… I asked her: Is it that you’re worried about what your boyfriend will say? This cute, confused girl nodded. At that point I decided… if her boyfriend leaves her over this I will ask her out. 

9 Trends Happening RIGHT NOW In Social Media


While we often talk a lot about the trends in the future, particularly at this time of year when we are all prone (me included) to do our customary predictions post, here are nine trends that are happening in social media right now.

1. Brands are still using Facebook to launch products – We did it with the Ford Explorer two years ago and brands from Burberry with their fragrance launch to Heinz are now on board.

In fact when it comes to using social to create buzz around new products, Heinz and Cadbury are two of the brands to beat. Cadbury now defaults to social for all its product launches, having previously used Google+ and Facebook to build excitement around its new product lines.  And Heinz called on its Facebook community to help promote new variations on its Ketchup and soup products.

2. Super advocates are at the heart of programs.  Forgive my chocolate bias here, but Wispa used this to launch their new product, Bitsa Wispa. They worked with their most loyal fan to have her launch their latest product, differentiating it from the traditional product launches consumers are used to seeing, and encouraging Wispa fans to share the news with their Facebook friends. The photo of super advocate Kate Mead holding the new product has attracted more than 1,500 ‘likes’ and 278 comments, meaning the launch will have also shown up in their friends’ news feeds.

3. Celebrate the rise of the Famebook Fan. This focuses around the use of a natural, organic comment on a Facebook page and the creation of a campaign concept from it, usually adding a layer of surreal comedy to it. The Bodyform example  has been well publicized: after Facebook fan Richard Neil posted a tongue-in-cheek accusation of the company for altering the perception of what going through the period really entails, the brand created a parody video featuring their “CEO” who was directly responding to the fan’s comment.

4. Allow fans to control real world activations. Skittles is a brand that really has placed the fan and real world activation front and center in social media. Mob the Rainbow was a Facebook campaign that was created to activate and engage Skittles’ large social media audience. The program enlisted fans to take action on Facebook to take action by participating in real-life, physical events.

5. Listen and respond to controversial issues. McDonald’s Canada hosts online social media discussions around myths and connects with its customers directly. Since the campaign began, McDonald’s Canada has fielded more than 14,000 questions and responded with text on the website, photos, and the YouTube videos, highlighting the company as being open, honest and ready to deal with difficult questions.

6. Drive a new level of remarkable content marketing. My current social media brand crush is Red Bull. Felix Baumgartner’s Oct. 14 jump from the middle of the earth’s stratosphere, sponsored by Red Bull, made social media and space history. The almost 23-mile free fall jump set records, stunning and amazing people around the world, who reacted on social media. This represents a very specific content marketing strategy for Red Bull – remarkable content gets people talking and is shared, but is not about the brand or company itself. While Red Bull has now become synonymous with dare-devil adrenaline-based sports (we rarely see the brand talking about the product itself) and the jump is a prime example of how to focus content around a specific moment in time.

7. Instagram reaches young, visually-based audiences. Ben & Jerry’s is currently running a promotion that challenges fans to take photos that capture “euphoria” capitalizing on the fact that Instagram has over 100 million users and Facebook’s backing, making it ideal for marketers looking to woo a young demographic.  The winning photos will be featured in B&J ads in that person’s neighborhood. Smart, simple and bang on target for B&J’s target audience.

8. Pinterest is a good traffic driver but not for all brands. Sony’s Pinterest strategy began with research into what brand content was already being shared by its fans. This allowed the Sony team to plan its potential boards and analyze the assets they already had in its Flickr community, in-house and in its archives. The resulting campaign has seen an 800% increase in traffic from Pinterest to the Sony store website, 2.5 times the traffic from its Twitter account.  BUT it is not for all brands. It is very obvious this is a good use case for Sony. For some brands with different demographics – Pinterest still skews heavily female in the US –  there is not a clear use case.

9.  Memes enable responsive marketing. This approach to memes is something that is becoming an increasingly popular social tactic among large brands, capturing the popularity of sites like memecreator in a fun and brand-relevant way. Just look at recent examples jumping on the popularity of Carly Rae Jepsen’s track Call Me Maybe – from the shirtless A&F guys singing her song to Cookie Monster’s addictive ditty for Sesame Street. Both created a shareable relevant piece of content that is scrappy to produce and easy to share.

Do you have any trends to add to this list for right now?

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#WOMMASummit 2012 Big Data Conclusions – Why Size Doesn’t Matter With Engagement; Content Does

WOMMA Summit has come and gone, but the insights are ongoing.

Social@Ogilvy and WOMMA have put together an all-inclusive WOMMA Summit Twitter Infographic (and blog post) detailing the action and conversation that surrounded the marketing conference of the year.

Below is the Infographic. We found four key takeaways (listed below). You can read about them in detail on WOMMA’s All Things WOMM blog.

1. Large followings does not always equal a lot of engagement.

2. Don’t be afraid of one-way conversations during live events. (Yes, we just said that.)

3. Leverage your brand assets – Brands that use their existing brand identity to connect with the audience can have a resounding effect.

4. Simple and quick advice for brands – Use hash tags.


Source: via Social@Ogilvy on Pinterest