Tmall-ed! Don’t let Tmall change your brand!


As part of their “Tmall Brand Day”, the e-commerce site has collaborated with a group of brands to create a special holiday for them.  As part of the arrangement, Tmall redesigns the brands in a Tmall way to included them as part of the campaign – each day, a new Tmall-ization of a different brand.

Being part of Tmall’s special holiday should be great news for a brand – with almost 40 million daily shoppers per day, and 400 millions users in total.

But looking closely at the rollout of brands, as GIF animated images, it feels brands need to control how they are presented to SO many Chinese consumers.   Read below, to see being Tmall-ed is not necessarily good for your brand.

First, Casio – 8/10

For Casio, the pixellated effect, seems to play to their brand heartland, of being a retro, childhood, early-tech brand.  A imagery captures the essence of Casio TR600 – limited edition selfie camera.  See below, it is cool, but the same level of synergy did not eventuate.

160401_Tmall brand day_casio

Casio – being Tmall-ed created a retro effect

Second, Vans 4/10

Vans a cooler, millennial-attention-seeker focussed on street fashion, is Tmall-ed in a way that ‘aint so cool”.  The animated couple come across are arcadep-like in the their actions, quite the opposite of the dynamism of their brand image locally.  Now, thats not “sick”, far from cool and fun.

Tmall brand day-Vans

Vans – usually cool, but not after being Tmall-ed?

Third, Maserati 3/10

Despite singing the praises of Maserati’s Tmall presence earlier in the week.  They have not matched that stroke of genius in terms of Tmall Day.   Instead, the brand comes across as ‘gimmicky’ rather than ‘premium’.  As you can see below, its car with ‘balloons in the boot’ – hmm, brand connection …. fail.

160401_Tmall brand day_maserati

Maserati, no depth, gimmicky to the detriment of the brand

Fourth, Biotherm 4/10

The skin care brand has been Tmalled as a beauty-conscious painter, painting himself with Biotherm.  Yes, it is a direct product link, but associating skin care with a ‘fast fix’ strips the brand of its credentials as a skincare regime over time.  In the Tmall rendition, Biotherm becomes ‘wipe-on, wipe-off’ – a temporary fix.

Tmall brand day-Biotherm

Biotherm – hmm, lost any sense of sophistication

Key moral of this campaign, it is important to maintain control of your brand image in the context of collaboration with other brand partners.  It feels the “Tmall Day Brands” got a bit starstruck, and lost themselves in the process.


About Author

Jerry Clode

Jerry Clode is Head of Digital & Social Insight at Resonance. He leads Resonance SMART, providing leading-edge research, strategy and naming for brands in China using bespoke methodologies. Jerry also produces Resonance's popular China Social Branding Report, a bi-weekly publication covering modern marketing methods of the world's top brands.

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