Product / ServiceBLANPAIN WATCH
CategoryB08. Sponsorship & Brand Partnership


Name Company Position
Yisi Liu FleishmanHillard Shanghai GM
Chris Wu FleishmanHillard Shanghai Account Director
Mia Sun FleishmanHillard Shanghai Account Manager
Henny Wang FleishmanHillard Shanghai Senior Account Manager

Why is this work relevant for PR?

The Blancpain brand has its value and appeal in its impressive heritage and history. But how could the brand connect more effectively with a younger consumer audience in China? With the Blancpain watch so iconic that it featured in best-selling Chinese literature, the answer was in positioning the watch as a contemporary cultural brand by creating and launching the first-ever Blancpain Imaginist Literary Prize. The competition became the most talked about literary prize on social media and, along with associated activities, boosted Blancpain consumers aged under 35 to 40% of all purchasers.


Blancpain is a prestige watch brand from Switzerland dating back to 1735. The exclusivity and rich heritage of the brand and unparalleled quality of the product delivers proven appeal to the discerning Chinese consumer, particularly in the more mature age range. But, as a brand whose value is in its history and heritage, it was important to raise consumer appeal and awareness amongst China’s young. The challenge was to realise the potential of the brand with a broader audience that has increasing purchasing power and discerning taste. We needed to expand the consumer audience by creating influence and connection with China’s younger, high-income consumer by enhancing brand reputation and generating a word-of-mouth effect to drive sales.

Describe the creative idea (20% of vote)

The Blancpain brand is so iconic in China that it has already been featured in some of China’s best-selling contemporary works of literature by famous authors. With this insight it was clear that the brand had the potential to be seen as a contemporary cultural brand. This prompted us to develop an entirely new platform for the brand to connect with a new audience. By partnering with Imaginist we created and launched the Blancpain Imaginist Literary Prize. The first-ever prize to recognize young Chinese literary talent and a first ever collaboration between a commercial brand and a publisher. A prize that was as prestigious as the Blancpain brand itself.

Describe the strategy (30% of vote)

Our strategy was all about brand positioning and association. By partnering with Imaginist and connecting the brand to a prestigious literary prize, we successfully expanded brand awareness and profile amongst a new and different consumer group. This association also drove association with powerful online influencers, many of whom were appointed as the judges of the Literary Prize, driving significant organic content and sharing. This was much more than a simple brand sponsorship. It was an entirely new platform for the brand to connect with a huge consumer audience.

Describe the execution (20% of vote)

To deliver the core values of the Blancpain brand to the younger consumer audience we executed a sustained Young Talents Project. Following the launch of the Blancpain Imaginist Literary Prize we continued the theme with a Young Talents Luncheon, hosted by well-known economist Mr. Wu Xiaobo, and finally extended the cultural reach of the brand by establishing the Blancpain Performing Arts Scholarship in partnership with the Beijing Peoples Art Theatre. The literary prize judging process took place over a 6 month period, launched by a news conference in March 2018, followed by the nominee selection process in two stages, and finally a major awards ceremony to announce the final winner of the prize. 300 media and readers attended the ceremony which was real-time broadcast through live-streaming on Tencent - - the largest online video platform in China.

List the results (30% of vote) – must include at least two of the following tiers:

The campaign achieved impressive results both in terms of audience reach and sales results. The Blancpain Imaginist Literary Prize drove an incredible 20 million+ readings on Weibo. To benchmark that performance, The Man Booker Prize has only obtained 80,000 readings over recent years. More than 70,000 tuned in live to view the awards ceremony online and China’s two largest e-Commerce portals, and promoted the literary prize landing page. With organic sharing of content about the prize generated through significant online influencers, many of whom were appointed as competition judges, the Blancpain Imaginist Literary Prize became the most discussed literary prize on China’s social media. Most importantly the initiative succeeded in changing the profile of purchasers of the Blancpain brand with people aged under 35 buying the watch increasing to 40% of the total consumer audience.


Supporting Webpage