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5 F&B Brand Collaborations in China Tell One Story: Limited Editions Have Unlimited Possibilities

Whether looking at marketing, branding, sales via e-commerce or traditional retail, the same thread is sewn throughout; what works in China wouldn’t work in the West. The most popular viral-prompting (the good kind) campaigns and successes were made possible by starting from the Chinese ground up. Here are some brand cross-overs that wouldn’t have worked from even the brain-stormiest western boardroom:

Cosmetics x Candy

White Rabbit is a time-honoured candy brand. It offers such strong nostalgia that whenever White Rabbit candy is used in a pan-Asian fusion restaurant around the world, the Chinese diaspora queue to get in to the restaurant and make their social media posts as soon as the plate arrives. ‘Something from my childhood in China’ is a massive draw for many hundreds of millions of people worldwide. In collaboration with Shanghai cosmetics company Meijiajing, this limited-edition lipstick series sold out in seconds on Tmall.

Cookies x Beauty

‘Oreo cookies make me feel beautiful’ – you may never have heard this sentence, but it didn’t stop some serious outside the beauty box thinking by Perfect Diary, the Chinese brand that has leveraged is local advantages to give its mass consumers what they want, from puppy designs and more. This time, two cushion compacts came with two limited, seasonal flavours Matcha Sakura and White Peach Oolong. They sold out on JD.com in the very first day.

Hey Tea x Fenty

Two big brands that weren’t afraid of mass appeal. You do hear sensitivity of some high-end brands with how they present themselves and maintaining their ‘DNA’. Yet with the beauty market competition only increasing, actually selling the product is sometimes a better idea. If consumers are queueing round the block for a product (as they love to do just to take a photo of Hey Tea for their Weibo accounts), then hooking up with the brand brings just as hefty rewards.

McDonald’s x Fashion

The team behind designer Alexander Wang followed the same theory of pleasing the masses in order to attract massive attention. If you’re at a premium fashion brand in the West, try saying ‘why don’t we do a cross over with McDonald’s’ at your next all-party key-stakeholder strategy off-site break-out week. Well, the limited-edition black, rattan picnic basket – large enough to carry two beverages and a Golden Bucket and priced at RMB5,888 ($842) each, sold out in seconds on Tmall.

KFC x Art and Culture

Having already done the fashion route – with a cross-over with Crocs earlier this year – KFC have gone surprisingly high-brow with an apparent obvious collaboration between deep-fried chicken and The National Gallery. Limited edition family buckets and ice creams will have impressionist-themed packaging, impressionist-inspired pop-up dessert stores and accessories – perhaps a brush and an easel instead of the usual kid’s toy? The last one is unconfirmed, but there is a clever perspective that Chinese parents look for child education wherever they can find it.