British Airways Taps WeChat for Chinese New Year, Pepsi Launches CSR Drive on TMall

Tencent-owned WeChat appears to be the hottest mobile social app in China right now and brands such as British Airways realize they need to have a presence on the platform to connect with social media savvy Chinese travelers.

British Airways ran its first WeChat campaign for Chinese New Year on January 10 and within 10 days they had attracted more than 10,000 followers to the account.

The airline appointed Social@Ogilvy to develop a festive campaign targeting its existing 350,000 Sina Weibo followers to the new WeChat, also known as Weixin, account in China.

The Sina Weibo micro blog used to be the most popular social site in the country but it recently reported to have lost 28 million users last year to WeChat and stricter censorship laws, according to the China Internet Network Information Centre (CNNIC).

For British Airways’ Chinese New Year campaign, the first 2,014 followers on its official WeChat account had red envelopes delivered to their doorsteps that included a New Year’s greeting from its regional CEO Tracy Dedman and a promotional coupon worth $50.

Three followers were also randomly selected to win round-trip tickets for travel between China and London, presented in gold-colored red packets. (Red packets in the form of monetary gifts are given out as part of a Chinese custom during Chinese New Year and special occasions.)


“Our offline-to-online approach was all about creating a shared experience that would create suspense across the community — think Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, but in China and with golden air tickets,” Jeremy Webb, national director from Social@Ogilvy China, says in a statement.

New Moon Joins WeChat Bandwagon

In Singapore, a food brand has just opened a WeChat account to tap the burgeoning users on the popular messaging app, too.

New Moon, Singapore’s premium food brand known for its abalone canned food, opened a WeChat account recently to celebrate Chinese New Year with its followers. When a user types in “CNY,” they will be able to view an animated video greeting, which can be shared with friends that are on the app.


Pepsi China

Pepsi China’s “Bring Happiness Home” campaign blitz, in its third year running, has a WeChat feature that allows followers to send their own voice recordings to the account and have them remixed into a customized Pepsi theme song to share with friends and loved ones.


This year, the beverage brand used the Alibaba-owned Tmall platform to launch an online charity drive that encourages people to donate RMB 2, and when RMB 200 is accumulated, a care package is sent across the country to help mothers in need. The consumer social responsibility (CSR) move was organized in collaboration with Pepsi, the China Women’s Development Foundation, and TMall.


Pepsi’s Chinese New Year campaign site is hosted on China’s popular video platform Tudou, which featured many famous celebrities in various Pepsi-branded mini-movies.

A number of agencies are involved with Pepsi’s campaign: Agenda to manage its Tmall site, DDB Group Shanghai for the campaign site on Tudou and WeChat, and Razorfish is in charge of the social elements of the campaign. Civilization developed the videos for the cola brand.

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