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Mini-videos, the new digital weapon in China

Last modified: May 25, 2021

Mini-videos, the new digital weapon in China

China is proving to be major player in the luxury market, all brands want to have a piece of the pie with the Chinese consumers. They invest a lot and expect a return on investment. In the new digital era, we can see that brands are trying in an effective way to raise consumer awareness through various campaigns. The new generation of Chinese consumers is young, dynamic, eager for novelty, brands must ensure to implement new strategies to attract customers. Most of the Chinese consumers are connected to their mobile to get the most information about the products, follow the new brands on social networks such as Weibo and WeChat. Many brands use mini-videos to attract the attention of his fans. These mini movies are often featuring Chinese stars. This new marketing tool is a treasure to captivate the audience. Several luxury homes have used this method as Louis Vuitton, Bulgari, Swarovski, Cartier and other brands like Pepsi and Lay’s.

pepsi chinaIn recent years, we could see a lot of these mini-videos on Weibo and WeChat, you should know that this phenomenon is not new. Indeed, there are 3 years, Prada used this technique by having the Chinese artist Yang Fudong to participate in the campaign “First Spring” mini-film which lasts about ten minutes. Or in 2011, Cadillac has tested the mini-video “Route 66”, featuring stars of Hong Kong actors and singer Karen Mok.

But the recent expansion of mini-videos from the fact that they have came at a good time, with the decline of the attention of Chinese consumers and at the same time increasing the time spent on the internet. The success of certain brands with mini-videos confirm that it works. For example, Pepsi has convinced a lot of people with his video “Bring Happiness Home”, with actors Zhou Xun, Louis Koo, Show Luo, Zhang Guo Li and Angela Chang, who had over 100 million views in the first week of the release of the mini-video. In addition, for the promotion of large bright snake installed at its store in Beijing, Bulgari has prepared a commemorative mini-video with the new face of the brand Rachel Weisz, the mini video was watched 352,000 times on Youku. Similarly, Louis Vuittton in 2012, produced a series of mini-videos for the opening of its store in Shanghai. These mini-videos are short and consist of celebrities rather captivating and easy to share on social networks.

Cartier “Destiny” mini-movie

carier destiny
With 16.5 million views of mini-film “L’Odyssée de Cartier” by Cartier in 2012, the year after Cartier decides to do another mini-movie 7 minutes called “Destiny” with the star Michelle Chen . It is a romantic mini-movie featuring a love scene between the star and her French lover speaking Mandarin. This mini-film targeted the Chinese consumer market, the video was viewed 2.4 million times on the official chain of Cartier on Youku.

Experts have mixed feelings about the popularity of mini-videos. Is this a sustainable marketing strategy? Some like Ric DiIanni president of Shanghai-based movies House think that the mini-movies will have wide extent, according to him it is the most logical way to reach Chinese audiences online. Furthermore, Swarovski is another example of the mini-video passing fad with its campaign”parkling Secrets”.

While Sirena Liu, founder and president of China Filmworks, think brands will realize that product placement in movies is more appropriate than mini-movies. You can see the example of the film “Devil Wears Prada A” or many Chinese brands are investing heavily to make their products appear in movies such as “Transformers 2” or the tlélévisé series “The Big Bang Theory.”

Short videos platforms : digital weapon in China


TikTok also called Douyin in China, is called TikTok in the other countries, in the rest of the world, the app is available in 154 countries worldwide and currently there are more than 250 Million users worldwide. TikTok/Douyin is a social media app made for creating and sharing short videos, users also have the possibility to broadcast live content. The app allows users to watch short musical videos, lip-sync to songs, film short videos and edit them with built-in special effects and filters. The consequent number of TikTok users allows the platform to be used as a medium to spread news and information directed to a massive audience at a very quick pace.

The reasons behind TikTok’s success are :

  1. Helping users grow their community : TikTok actively promotes creator’s videos by increasing traffic on their page.
  2. Unleashing ordinary people’s sense of creativity : Many viral Tik Tok videos are not created by celebrities, but instead by ordinary people exibhiting creative or impressive talents or skills that impress other users.
  3. Thematic hashtags : TikTok regularly launches specific hashtags that serve as trending topics or themes on the platform for users to create videos around.
  4. Make content creation easy and accessible: TikTok provides a predefined toolkit in order to help content creators to make videos almost very easily. Indeed the app allows users to access a large library of background music, filters and editing tools for all users to use in the creation of their content.
  5. Comment section : TikTok has a comment section available underneath each posted video, these comment sections are usually used by users to discuss and exchange about the video, on many occasions the comment section is as funny if not more than the video itself.
  6. Personalized content : TikTok’s main strength is its ability to determine what kind of content appeal to particular users solely based on their past viewing behavior as well as their likes and dislikes.

TikTok and Marketing

While the average TikTok creator and users are part of Gen Z (people born between 1997 and 2010), TikTok is now beginning to attract an even wider user base, indeed according to a study, almost 38% of TikTok users are above 30. If you are looking to promote a business TikTok marketing could potentially be a great way to create your brand’s visibility and create user’s interest. However it is important to keep in mind that TikTok is not meant to be used as a way to increase sales, but rather as a way to show your business’s personality.

Advertising on TikTok

There are currently three types of ads available on TikTok :

  • Brands ads : Is a full-screen short static or animated ad that appears when a user opens the TikTok app for the first time in a long time. Wen clicking on the screen these brand ads direct the users to a webpage or TikTok account.
  • In-Feed Native Video Ads : Auto-playing full-screen ads that show up between videos of user-generated content, this is similar to Instagram’s story ads, these ads will link the users to a landing page or an app store.
  • Branded Hashtag Challenges : These are themes generated by brands or businesses associated with a promoted hashtag. The goal is to entice users to create videos around the hashtag’s theme and share it.



The company was founded in 2011 and started out as a mobile app : GIF Kuaishou, where users were able to create short animated images called GIFs. Kuaishou app now has 769 million monthly active users. Originally launched solely as a GIF creator the app has since well evolved to become one of China’s biggest short video platforms where users can record and share short videos. Users can also buy products from the app through stores and partnerships with chinese e-commerce platforms, such as JD.com, Taobao, & Pinduoduo. Kuaishou can be compared to Douyin/TikTok but the main difference is their user base, indeed Kuaishou users tend be have less spending power than Douyin/TikTok users moreover, for a majority of them Kuaishou users tend to reside in smaller cities. An interesting thing to note is that live streaming is also more consequent on Kuaishou than on Douyin/TikTok.

Kuaishou and Marketing 

Create content with a business account : Kuaishou is the ideal chinese channel to reach young consumers with attractive content. This implies producing creative content such as videos and livestreams that engages users, and in results in raising online brand presence on Kuaishou. Example of content ideas to use on Kuaishou : Creating specific topics & hashtags, Posting content that shows products in action, Running product giveaways to attract customers and KOLs. Advertisement : Kuaishou offers a wide range of paid advertisement, these include : Display ads, Newsfeed ads, Discover ads. All of which can be in the form of short video clips or banners. These can be used to direct traffic to account profiles, specific videos or live-streams, games, external websites, and e-commerce stores. Brands can also promote their own topic tags (or hashtags) on Kuaishou that raises brand awareness among users.


Different types of accounts on Kuaishou

  • Individual creator accounts : can share and create content and interact with friends & followers.
  • Business accounts : can be opened by brands and companies to promote their products, raise their brand awareness and engage directly with followers.

There are various subcategories for brands and companies to register their accounts on Kuaishou. Business accounts can use the platform as standard users however bussiness accounts can also be verified by Kuaishou, who will then place a ‘V’ logo next to the account name as a sign of authenticity.

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