When you think of college guys, you probably think of the sports jacket-wearing, heart-breaking party guys. Well, not in China. College guys in China are not the social types. The most popular activity among them is mobile gaming. They prefer to stay up all night trying to attain a virtual superpower to defeat the virtual enemy to going out partying. They might have thousands of avid followers in the gaming world and be massively popular within the gaming community.
To many of them, gaming is not just a pastime. Gaming is a lifestyle and a language they speak. In real life, all that virtual time takes a toll on their skin health and looks. When you live a virtual life where your likeness is represented by an avatar, there’s no need to worry about what you look like in real-life. For that reason, gamers are often looked down, considered sloppy or even the “losers” by parents and mainstream media.
How could Men Expert help to bridge this perception gap and appeal to young college going men?
Mindshare’s idea was to create the L’Oréal Men Expert Hydra Energetic Mobile Makeover – a programme that transformed the secretly cool but outwardly geeky gaming kids into college heart-throbs.
Men Expert crafted a month long “Hero Season”, a nationwide offline college gaming tournament, partnering with two most popular mobile games Cross Fire and We Fire on the market (the two combined cover 60% of the gaming community).
Rather than telling them drop their mobile games and come outside to socialise and start caring about their skin – it told them to bring their games with them, and join Men Expert for a chance to be in the spotlight in the real world.
It wanted to use their most proud achievement – their gaming achievement – as a bridge to get them outside of their dorm room, honour them and thus bring them into the brand.
This goal is not something all brands can achieve. L’Oréal Men Expert as the market leader and a reputable, long-established brand, however, could do this with credibility with the gaming community.
Mindshare targeted over 100 universities in China to participate in the tournament.
The first offline “battle” was between Tsinghua University and Peking University. Both founded in the 1800s, they are the most prestigious universities in China, to say they are the Harvard and Yale of China will be no exaggeration.
With the audience wearing uniforms representing their universities and cheering, gamers walked out of their dormitories with full pride, and walked onto the stage to compete for victory.
The agency livestreamed all the battles on Douyu, PandaTV and 20 other hottest live streaming platforms. The finale alone attracted 10 million viewers.
In Cross Fire and We Fire, Mindshare customised a glamourous avatar called “Jinneng yingxiong”, which roughly translates as ‘Energetic Hero’, designed by L’Oréal Men Expert professional stylists. The avatar gave gamers an exhilarating experience of an “energy upgrade”, which allows gamers to shoot with unlimited power. Gamers could redeem it if they purchased one pack of Hydra Energetic products at any L’Oréal Men Expert counters or e-commerce shops.
The campaign set new historic benchmarks for Men Expert:
The on-ground national tournament received 10 million live stream viewers across 50 battles between the top players.
In just two weeks, two-thirds of the 3.5 million gamers who used the Hydra Energetic weapon redeemed their Hydra Energetic coupons and purchased the product – revolutionising conversion benchmarks for Men Expert.
And beyond the users of the in-game items, more than one million product samples were given out within two weeks in colleges, five times faster than any other average campaign.
Hydra Energetic sold out in less than 30 days, becoming the fastest-selling product in Men Expert history.