Marketing Case – Buckfast in China

A great brand may be price sensitive but its success is wholly dependent on how it resonates with the consumer – where the heart, mind and desire go, so the wallet follows. This is particularly true of the Zen Generation in China whose recent ancestors were raised in times of hardship and the phrase “disposable income” was meaningless with food and shelter for the family the only aspiration and priority. The meteoric economic growth has seen China morph from poverty into a dynamic power house and created a generation of aspirational, savvy, educated middle class viz the Zen Generation.

It is not entirely the case that the Zen Generation are mimicking the West in the toxic mix of overtly displaying wealth and “keeping up with the Jones”. More so than in the West, Zen Generation follow trends and are influenced by Key Opinion Leaders (KOL’s) and this generation buy with instincts.

The Trade XL Limited team is comprised mainly of those of the Zen Generation and know the routes to market their fellow occupiers of this space will follow.

As an illustration: when we brought Buckfast Tonic Wine to the market we had to quickly differentiate it from the hundreds of other “wines” sloshing around and fighting for market share. Buckfast was totally unknown in China so we had to, disruptively, give it an identity outside of the mainstream traffic. After research and market survey we concluded that we would apply a “cultural” dimension to the brand which would, and has, appealed to our target Zen Generation.

KOL’s promotion of Buckfast on Douyin

Having determined the promotional trajectory, we drew together, from our network, appropriate KOL’s and social media platforms creating blogs, videos and articles engendering the cultural persona of Buckfast.

KOL’s promotion of Buckfast on Bilibili

It was encouraging how quickly our target audience responded to the “message” and the buzz created. We have also “hooked up” with the music industry and, consequently, sponsored the massively attended Qingdao Music & Beer Festival and work closely with Irish-Scots folk music performer(Walrus Nino) who is currently on a national tour of China. We have sown the seeds and will continue to work tirelessly until this brand is nationally recognized.

Fans at Buckfast bulletin board during Qingdao Music & Beer Festival
Qingdao Music & Beer Festival Post
Mr Walrus Nino was promoting Buckfast during his performance

In China there is a proverb “得人心者的天下”, which means: whoever wins the hearts of the people wins the world. As the Zen Generation mature to take the place of their recent ancestors, so will accelerate the outward reaching dynamic of soon to be the number one economic power house in the world. The opportunities will be exponential.

Group shot of the loyal fans of Buckfast in China