Sora Aoi launched her own product “Spakeys G-Self silk bra” on Weibo with a limited number of 528 sets, each highly-priced at RMB 1,288. This product was launched for a limited time of 5 hours and 28 minutes and all were sold out.
Sora Aoi’s Popularity on Weibo
Sora Aoi is best known in China as a Japanese AV idol who has over 14.9 million fans on Weibo. Within 6 hours since she opened the Weibo account, its total number of followers reached 400 thousand, exceeding that of her Twitter account.
“Bra” is a clever choice of product for the perception of Sora Aoi’s character on China internet.
Pre-launch Campaign on Weibo
A simple post on Weibo was published on 19 May 2014 to “leak” the product idea, mentioning and asking (@) Xiaomi Tech’s founder Lei Jun for the advice of e-commerce strategy.
It was taken by China internet users as a piece of very entertaining news and got re-posted for about 23,730 times. A few reasons behind:
- E-commerce itself is a popular topic on China internet; some experts and celebrities in e-commerce industry shared news and some even provided suggestions
- Underwear designed by AV idol was news worthy and interesting
- The details were not released which got China internet users curious
- Mentioning a celebrity got the news viral; besides the wide exposure on Weibo, many main news media published articles on this news
Pre-sale Publicity on Weibo
As one idea from an e-commerce celebrity fan, Sora Aoi “recruited” 1,000 fans on Weibo to “experience” her own designed G-self underwear. This small campaign not only engaged its fans but also won her product great exposure through Weibo.
It’s a “hot” topic and many regular China internet users re-posted the news and submit their request to experience it. “1,000” quota is very limited considering she has over 14 million fans. And each was carefully selected including some grassroots celebrities and influencers to further push the exposure.
Product Launch Promotion
Spakeys G-Self Bra was not simply launched for purchase. Price tag over RMB 1,000 for underwear may face a lot of difficulties getting sold well on the Internet. But all 528 sets were sold out within planned 5 hours 28 minutes.
Time and quantity limit. The limited number of 528 sets and limited time of 5 hours and 28 minutes are telling the fans to “hurry up”, allowing online users little time to carefully consider and do comparison shopping.
Incentives and sales strategy. The product launch post carefully targets two groups of people, both of whom are very interested in the product: one who can afford and are willing to pay; one can not (or considering the bra too expensive). For the former group, the sale promotion gave away silk scarf worth over RMB 1,000 to push the sales. For the other group, it encouraged them to share the news by giving away 180 sets to the lucky ones who re-post it.
The whole product launch consisted of several carefully crafted campaigns to promote the high-end underwear brand Spakeys via G-self series bra. It definitely got the awareness and exposure but I don’t think that’s enough for influencing high-end underwear brand. And, the question now is, how and whether or not Spakeys can capture and capitalize on this product launch.
My suspicion for the whole “Sora Aoi” bra campaigns is, it’s more of a marketing promotion than a self-owned product launch. The “Spakeys” brand’s official website spakeys.cn, after whois analysis, is owned by Xianyidai Co., Ltd. which happens to be an underwear company.
This is a deep collaboration between an influencer and a manufacturer, which is a commonly seen business model in China. Live streaming is another popular sales channel in China you could check out.