We wanted to give a voice to women under pressure to marry and find a symbolic way for them to make a statement.
The marriage market is a place where the pressure materializes in physical form. It seemed fitting that the women would stand their ground there. We built an installation and replaced the dating ads with personalized messages from single women, proclaiming that they’re happy being independent, contrary to the image being portrayed by media.
To create a story we shot a documentary with four single women and their parents. We used real women and not actors, making it easier for the target audience to relate. Many women feel alone in facing this pressure and by using real women we could combat that notion.
The film was created as a tool that people could use to raise awareness.
We created an installation at the marriage market in Shanghai’s People’s Park, where we replaced dating ads with statements from single women, proclaiming that they’re happy being independent and won’t marry just to please someone else. We then shot a documentary style film with four of the women and their parents.
The film was created to be a tool that people could use to raise awareness. After all, it’s easier sharing a film than to start a debate on your own, especially with this taboo subject matter
The film was premiered on Chinese video hosting sites Youku, Tencent as well as YouTube. Supporting the launch was Chinese and international influencers who shared the film and helped spread the word on blogs, Twitter and Chinese microblogging site Weibo.
We then launched Behind the Scenes interviews with the women, providing an even greater insight into the nuances of China’s views on marriage.
So far, the film has over 44 million views around the globe, showing the universal appeal of the message.
Over 2000 editorial pieces and been featured in everything from Forbes, BBC and CNN to Buzzfeed, Mashable, Huffington Post and Elle generating a total reach of over 4 billion. The story has spread to 55 countries on all continents and proved to be a huge success in China, where it became the first ever to make the top ten trend list on the 650 million users strong Weibo. It has also been featured on news channels, with over 7 million social actions as a result and SK-II’s YouTube subscribers have more than doubled.
Most importantly, thousands of social media posts from women talking about how the campaign has had a real effect. We created so much buzz that the state-owned media promoting the Sheng Nu term couldn’t ignore addressing the campaign.
In this campaign the PR strategy was truly integrated from the beginning. Utilizing our insights of how the Chinese audience works we tailor-made a strategy that was designed to gain great traction on social media, both inside China and in the rest of the world. The goal was to drive engagement and start a global debate. The fact that the film was written about in over 55 countries and that Chinese state media, who have been promoting the Sheng Nu label we are opposing, had no choice but to address the discussions, clearly show that we succeeded.
The PR and media strategy was formed together with the creative idea. Using our knowledge of the Chinese audience, we utilized influencers to spread our message. In China, word of mouth is integral as 48 percent aren’t likely to view branded content unless it comes from a trusted circle.
To drive engagement and create momentum we also decided to take an inside out/outside in approach, meaning that the outside world had to be made aware of the Sheng Nu issue and that the people of China had to be made aware that the outside world had taken notice.
We wanted to avoid demonizing Chinese culture, instead raising an important topic and using it to kick-start discussions on every continent, as pressure being put on women is a universal problem.
We decided to feature real women in the film.