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How Crocs China encouraged fans to ‘be their own king’ with an innovative gaming campaign

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By Awards Analyst, writer

December 6, 2022 | 7 min read

Crocs China won Best Omnichannel Campaign at The Drum Awards for Digital Advertising APAC 2022 for its ‘Be Your Own King’ campaign. Here, we take a closer look at how the idea was brought to life.

Crocs China ad

Crocs China tapped into the power of gaming with the help of actor Bai Jingting / Crocs China

Crocs China designed a campaign to inspire fans to express themselves authentically that it deployed across gaming, social media and digital touchpoints.

The brief

Crocs China wanted to give a fresh new spin to its core brand value, ‘Come as You Are.’

At the same time, it hoped to reach a broad swath of audiences who are tapped into pop culture through gaming, entertainment, fashion and social media to drive brand awareness and boost social buzz and brand likeability among young people. In particular, Crocs wanted to engage gen Zers in new, exciting ways.

The idea

With the knowledge that many young people in China are gamers, the brand wanted to break into the flourishing gaming community. It teamed up with Alarice International Limited, the maker of the popular multiplayer online combat game Honor of Kings.

Crocs recognized that the game’s focus on brave exploration aligned naturally with its own ethos of ‘Come as You Are.’ The team used the concept of the game to inspire the overall direction of its new omnichannel campaign, dubbed ‘Be Your Own King.’

With the help of Alarice – including the use of the Honor of Kings intellectual property – Crocs teamed up with Chinese actor Bai Jingting and popular e-sports player Yinuo in a wide-reaching effort to inspire audiences to “express yourself, release your nature and be the king you are born to be.”

Crocs took a comprehensive approach to the new campaign. It developed a key set of campaign visuals and a centerpiece campaign video, which were used across channels. The brand hosted a live-streamed 5 v. 5 Honor of Kings battle featuring both Bai Jingting and Yinuo. These events were broadcast on Taobao Live as well as the social site Weibo to expand fan engagement.

As a part of the collaboration, the brand released five all-new Crocs models based on the character skins from Honor of Kings. To promote sales of the new products, Crocs unleashed a far-ranging set of tactics.

During the launch phase, Crocs hosted a special ‘King Spirit’ stream on its social media channels, encouraging fans to watch and share the live stream – as well as purchase new Crocs on associated e-commerce platforms.

The brand also collaborated with online retailer Tmall on its ‘Super Brand Day’ to elevate awareness and drive sales. It promoted the branded event and products on social media ahead of the big day and encouraged fans to pre-order their favorite Crocs. When Tmall’s ‘Super Brand Day ’arrived, fans were invited to join the gaming team led by Bai Jingting and Yinuo, who welcomed them to the Tmall campaign landing page. To keep the hype alive, Crocs encouraged fans to purchase new products offline in brick-and-mortar retail outlets, too, and to share user-generated content on their own social media.

Plus, Crocs made a number of media investments to target key audiences on Taobao, Douyin, Youku, Tencent and Weibo. Paid social posts featuring celebrities, influencers and key opinion leaders (KOLs) helped to further amplify the campaign and fuel engagement.

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The results

The ‘Be Your Own King’ campaign leveraged both online and offline channels to engage target audiences across a range of touchpoints and create a seamless customer experience.

The live-streamed Honor of Kings competition starring Bai Jingting and Yinuo gained 420,000 views and 1.4m likes.

The campaign’s organic hashtag (#白敬亭和一诺攒了个王者局) helped drive ten times higher engagement on the branded live streams compared with the brand’s 2021 campaign. The hashtag itself gained nearly 52m impressions and drove 38,000 unique engagements while reaching Weibo’s #13 ranking of trending topics.

Plus, the campaign’s Weibo-hosted livestream for the Tmall event resulted in the most commented-on Crocs post of 2022.

Content from gaming KOLs saw a 9% engagement rate – a figure three times higher than engagement on fashion KOL content, suggesting that Crocs was effective in its goal of penetrating gaming and e-sports circles.

This campaign was a winner at The Drum Awards for Digital Advertising APAC 2022. You can see all the winners here. The Drum Awards for Marketing are currently open for entry. Find out how you can enter now.

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