Hua Lu Shui (花露水, huālùshuǐ), which can be directly translated as Floral Water, is the name of a Chinese herbal fragrance with many medical functions, such as preventing heat rash, relieving itchiness, and killing germs. A blogpost from Live in Shanghai mentioned its origin:
First originated in Hong Kong in 1905, floral water soon became popular in Shanghai with the local production under the brand name of ‘Superstar’ in 1908. In those days, when smelling a women wearing floral water, people would jump to the conclusion that she was from Shanghai.
Despite that Hua Lu Shui was seen as a cheap fragrance substitute for Chinese women in the 1930s, its side effect of keeping insects away has gotten noticed by the public.
Liushen (六神, liù shén) or “Six God”, according to its viral video, is a Hua Lu Shui brand launched by Shanghai Jahwa United Company Ltd. in 1990. The brand has topped its category by launching a specific Insect Repellent Hua Lu Shui product line, which successfully extended its user range beyond women.
Previously, the company has spent a huge amount of money advertising on TV. Slowly changing from talking to moms, to talking to young people, Liushen’s TV commercials have always featured different celebrities for each audience group. (Click on the pictures below to view the old commercials on Youku.)
Intensive traditional media spending including TV and POS has helped the brand gain recognition and popularity all over the country. The next steps for Liushen seem to be rejuvenating the brand to talk to the younger target and creating brand loyalty through social media.
Recently, Liushen has been working with its digital agency Verawom to expand its digital territory through viral videos. Since the brand doesn’t have an official video account handle, the exact total number of the viral videos cannot be traced. Here are three most recent and popular ones among them. In these videos, Liushen started using interesting animations and humorous voiceover to tell stories, and even began to call itself “Six God.”
The first story is about one of the most important herbals used in making hua lu shui – “Ai Ye.” The video first talked about the discovery of Ai Ye through the stories of famous ancient Chinese Qu Yuan – legendary figure in the Duanwu Festival story – and Li Shizhen, then focused on reminding people of the wisdom inside the Chinese herbal medicine. What’s funny is that the pronunciation of “Ai” in Mandarin also means “Love,” they definitely took vantage of this coincidence in naming the video – A Story of Ai (Love.)
The video was released on Liushen’s official Sina Weibo this April, two months before the Duanwu Festival.
The second story reveals the history of Hua Lu Shui, and introduces the Liushen brand. This video has been retweeted more than 8,150 times on Sino Weibo within a week after its debut. The success is based on a very well understanding of the relationship between Hua Lu Shui and Liushen’s young target aged 25-35.
Hua Lu Shui’s smell always reminds this age group of their childhood and the fun memories of summer. By saying “A summer will not be fully enjoyed without Hua Lu Shui,” Liushen has easily captured its audience’s attention and trust.
Almost everyone who watched the video wrote down a comment with a cheerful tone expressing how much they love Liushen’s products, how much they enjoyed the the creative approach, and how much they appreciated the valuable educational information.
The third video is a music video for a Liushen themed song Fall in Love with Summer, which is the name of Liushen’s new campaign. It’s a Chinese song, but was performed by two Germans from a band named Feichang Fresh (or “Very Fresh.”) The lyrics in this song talk about all the best experiences you can have during summer with the help of Liushen to keep annoying bugs away. These two foreign faces would not be enough to help the brand step into the foreign markets, but the video definitely worked its magic to grab attention from Chinese youth.
With the launch of its Fall in Love with Summer campaign, Liushen has been planning on a cause-related project to help poor kids in China’s countryside realize their dreams of watching a movie during summer. Here’s the promo.
Creating a brand in the digital space requires thorough strategic thinking in order to achieve long-term customer engagement. Unfortunately, Chinese brands hardly realize it. Among so many Chinese brands, I would say that Liushen’s digital capability is absolutely exceptional in terms of creating click-driven videos and engaging with fans on Sina Weibo. But, missing an official page on Youku and having a horrible designed website drag it down from moving towards digital-savvy.
Liushen has knocked the door open, we just hope it will keep moving forward, bring us more surprises and happiness, and hopefully, keep rejuvenating Chinese cultures through its advertising.