Local brand highlights “overtime epidemic” – and wins big


Realizing the negative influence of long-hour work on personal health and family harmony in China, local furniture manufacturer Kuka Home launched a campaign on August 16th to convince Chinese go-getters to take a break from their hectic work.

Kuka Home, a furniture brand founded in Zhejiang province in 1982, has now grown into a global household furniture supplier. As its Chinese brand name Gujia suggests – (顾家 -translated as “look after family/placing the family no.1),  the company values the traditional notion of ‘family comes first.’

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Homepage of Kuka’s website

Since 2014, the company has been dedicated to creating a national ‘Gujia Day’(Family Centered Day) on August 16th and making it an annual celebration for Chinese families. In the previous two campaigns, Kuka offered local consumers a significant discount in the brand’s retail stores, as a way to encourage them to devote more time to the family – making the home comfortable for their ones with comfortable furniture.

This year, Kuka dialled-up the campaign with a renovated slogan –  ‘816 No Work Overtime –  focusing on the “overtime problem’ faced by numerous modern Chinese. The campaign went viral soon after its launch, touching a nerve with overworked locals. The brand spoke out loud on behalf of the struggling workaholics that they want to balance work and life, and spend more time with their families.

A ‘missing husband’ note on newspapers to arouse curiosity

The campaign started with a ‘missing husband’ advertisement in seven local influential newspapers such as  Beijing News, Southern Metropolis Daily and Global Times. There ‘Mrs. Gu’ published a complaint to ‘Mr. Gu’ (same pronunciation as the brand – gujia)  that she and their kid hadn’t seen him for ages because he worked such long hours.

She also wrote ‘I’ll wait for you in the usual place on August 16th. If you don’t show up, then it is an end between us.” The hypothetical Mr. Gu replied his dear wife with a sincere apology on the newspaper the second day and promised he wouldn’t stand her up again on that day.

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The sad but interesting dialogue between the virtual couple addressed a crucial reality amongst Chinese families, which aroused considerable attention on Weibo. Along with the campaign going viral,, the related Weibo topic received more than 88 million page views.

Viral Video featured ‘lonely wives’ to create further attention

To further engage this societal problem, Gujia shared a video online featured with forty-lonely wives protesting for  more time from their husbands. They stood on the sofa, holding the signs with the words they want to say to their busy husbands: such as ‘do you still remember the way to home’, ‘I cooked your favorite dishes, but you were not there’, and ‘if you don’t come back home tonight, then never’. The video has been played more than one million times online during the campaign.

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WeChat H5 of ‘OT animals’ to engage local hard-workers

Then Gujia launched an H5 game on WeChat. In the H5, people can create an animal image with their face on it, such as cat, gorilla and lion to capture their sentiments at work. It vividly captured the animal-like circumstances faced by local workers, which provided a silent protest to excessive overtime.160825_Kuka campaign_4160825_Kuka campaign_5

This campaign was later then supported by Gujia’s ambassador Deng Chao and other celebrities and entrepreneurs on Weibo. Gujia integrated newspaper, online video, Weibo and WeChat to highlight a growing social concern. Within two weeks, the campaign had received accumulated 190 million page views on Weibo. According to official number, the most recent,  third,  ‘Gujia Day’ campaign contributed 635 million RMB in sales volume.


About Author

Tracy Zhang

As a Masters graduate of Foreign Trade, Tracy started her career helping supermarket brand City Shop to source the ‘hunger’ of Shanghai’s internationalizing consumers. Now that she has found her passion in consumer research, she is helping develop Resonance's ground-breaking ethnographic offer.

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