On May 6, Tmall’s official Weibo account broke the news of “2015 Apple’s new release, once again will change the world” with an Apple-esque image announcing “Apple’s mysterious new 2015 shock first launch”. Those clicking on the link promising an “unbelievable, unusual and unique new product” discovered that the new product wasn’t another shiny gadget, but a beautifully crisp red apple from New Zealand, otherwise known as the Rose Queen.
The apple’s specs were touted as “near-perfect symmetrical design, shocking the industry with a sweetness score of 1700, available in 180 G with the ‘golden ratio’ in your hand, speedy adaptation for both left and right-hand operation and Able Care service to solve usability concerns.”
The special launch offer of 10,000 packs of six New Zealand apples for ¥19 ($3.10) including shipping, sold out within two hours of the Weibo post being sent according to the seller. Strong sales continued after the price increased to ¥39 ($6.30).
When customers received their apple orders, they came packaged in clean, Apple-style packaging keeping to the theme of the campaign – the type of surprise & delight experience that encourages happy customers to share their purchase through social media and by writing positive reviews on Tmall.
The low-cost campaign was brilliantly executed, playing on China’s Apple obsession. It was well received by consumers who admitted to being “fooled” on social media, praising the copy and creative, joking that “this time, they could finally afford to buy an apple.” The post attracted more than 15,000 comments and 35,000 reposts. Even overseas Chinese in countries like Australia and New Zealand were saluting the campaign on Weibo, claiming the deal was better than they could buy at their local markets.
The New Zealand Rose Queen is one of a series of fresh fruit promotions on Tmall that started on April 15, taking advantage of seasonal harvests abroad. Californian cherries, jackfruit from the Philippines, Thai pineapples, Myanmar mangos and New Zealand’s Zespri kiwifruit are all having their time in the sun on the platform. Tmall sells more than 100,000 fresh food products from over 70 countries. With the Cainiao logistics network, Tmall Fresh’s nationwide network now delivers to 301 cities, including 246 cities within 24-hours of purchase.
On an interesting side note, something that many people don’t know is that Apples originated in the mountains of Central Asia, growing wild in southern Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and China’s Xinjiang. China has grown and consumed more apples than any country since. In 2013, Chinese munched through 34.9 million metric tonnes of apples, dwarfing the second placed EU’s 8.1 million tonnes. Per capita, Chinese eat more than three times as many apples as consumers in the United States. In the land where consumers can pay more than ¥250 ($40) for a single apple, it can be a lucrative market for apple growers to get some good coverage.
A big thanks to Echo Tan who provided the photos of packaging. She described the apples as “Great, the best.” She bought the maximum allowance of two boxes but would have bought more if she could.
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