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Wanglaoji: embracing young customers through sports marketing

By Chen Yaping Monday, 25 Sep 2017 12:37

As the 2017 World Electronic Sports Games (WESG) Grand Final came to a close recently, a 250ml green carton box on the desks of players has captured much attention. The green carton displays the Chinese herbal drink brand Wanglaoji, official sponsor of the 2017 WESG.

To cater to the tastes of a younger audience, Alisports, organizer of the 2017 event, has invited popular Chinese rappers Huizi and Simba to the halftime show, whose appearance has greatly enhanced fan engagement. 

“Many eSports players suffer from excessive internal heat or sore throats because they usually stay up late for intense video gaming competitions. So, a box of Wanglaoji is a perfect match for eSports zealots.” Said Li, a 25-year-old eSports fan in an interview.

As Lin Xianfeng, National Media Manager at Wanglaoji Pharmaceutical Marketing Department told Yutang Sports: “Most eSports fans are millennials, and they are very young. As revealed in our statistics, young people are one of our major customer groups, so we believe Wanglaoji have a similar target audience with eSports.” 

Obviously, eSports has grown from a minority sport to a global phenomenon as of now. As its audiences have skyrocketed, many brands start to see the sport as an untapped market. As the industry evolves, brands have been able to use different ways to get fans involved, ranging from partnering specific teams to hosting events, to sponsoring coverage. For example, Coca-Cola has been a major sponsor of League of Legends in the past several years.

Wanglaoji aims to help eSports players and fans clear away their excessive internal heat as well as raise brand awareness among them. In this regard, the herbal drink brand has launched products with fashionable packages including the Zuncui series and the Lovely Dialect series for this year’s summer campaigns. 

As Lin revealed, the reason why they are so interested in eSports marketing is that the sport can help them in expand their brand, engage more fans and get more media exposure among young customers. Notably, a few competitive video games have been named as an official medal sport at the 2022 Asian Games in China, which means the sport taken a step closer to mainstream recognition.

Wanglaoji always sees young customers as their target market. Early in 2014, Guangzhou Wanglaoji Pharmaceutical, owner of the green carton version Wanglaoji, announced a brand strategy of Facing Youth, Embracing Youth, rebranding itself to reflect freedom, pleasure, fashion and youth, in line with the brand positioning. 

In addition to eSports marketing, Wanglaoji also scores big in soccer. For example, the Chinese brand launched a futsal competition in 200 universities in the country, which attracted several thousand teams to participate, turning the event into the largest youth futsal carnival before the kick-off of the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Additionally, Wanglaoji’s marketing campaigns of online guess and pull ring collection engaged 18 million people during the 2014 World Cup. 

In accordance with its soccer marketing strategy, Wanglaoji has raised its brand awareness by combining soccer with local youth culture. In 2014, the Guangdong-based drink maker became the shirt sponsor of Shenzhen FC in a one-million-yuan deal, to help the China League One team overcome financial problems. In the same year, Wanglaoji also congratulated Chongqing Lifan’s promotion to the Chinese Super League through a popular hot-pot campaign. For young natives of Chongqing, who see hot pot as important part of their culture, the herbal drink brand has become a synonym for passion and energy throughout Wanglaoji’s soccer marketing campaign.   

In the year 2015, Wanglaoji announced the establishment of an RMB 50 million foundation to promote the development of youth soccer in China. The investment has been used to boost partnerships with overseas businesses and overall growth of community and campus soccer. 

As a brand targeting young customers, Wanglaoji has reinforced customers’ importance in their brand building process through embracing eSports, professional soccer and campus events. So to speak, Wanglaoji is making efforts to turn itself into one of the most visible brands in sports marketing, and this has given the brand a ‘youthful’ image in the eyes of young people. The fact that Wanglaoji has stuck with eSports recently has given the brand an exciting and interesting edge to which young people tend to gravitate towards.

Proofread by William Logsdon 

Tags: eSports


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