Bottega Veneta addresses top athletes for China’s own Valentine’s Day

LONDON — Bottega Veneta is banking on high-performing Chinese athletes with large followings to boost brand visibility during China’s own Valentine’s Day, May 20, which sounds like “I love you” in Chinese, amid a challenging retail landscape.

The brand enlisted four-time Olympic gold medalist and socialite Guo Jingjing, table tennis player Xu Xin and swimmer-turned-golfer Ning Zetao for this year’s 520 campaign, directed by Guo Dongxun with photography by Yuan Xiaopeng.

Shot on location in Shanghai and Chongqing and featuring themes of love, anticipation and reunion, the campaign was inspired by local architecture and public spaces, with the camera following the three neighborhoods and buildings it crossed on its way to meeting someone special. to meet.

The style of the films – in which Guo, Xu and Ning move from head to toe through seemingly ordinary urban environments in Bottega Veneta – is reminiscent of film classics from the late ’80s and early ’90s, such as the work of Edward Yung, a famous Taiwanese director known for films such as ‘A Brighter Summer Day’ and ‘Yi Yi.’

Table tennis player Xu Xin stars in Bottega Veneta's latest 530 campaign

Table tennis player Xu Xin stars in Bottega Veneta’s latest 530 campaign.

Thanks to Bottega Veneta

The campaign highlights the brand’s 520 capsule collection, which includes a small travertine Andiamo bag with a braided chain strap.

Guo, a former diver, is married to Kenneth Fok, the grandson of Hong Kong tycoon Henry Fok. She is tied with her partner Wu Minxia for winning the most Olympic medals of any female diver in history. Often praised as a role model for female excellence, Guo now spends most of her time in Hong Kong and is an ambassador for UNICEF Hong Kong and the Ocean Park Conservation Foundation. She is also an ocean ambassador for WWF China.

Xu is an experienced professional table tennis player. He reached his career-high singles ranking of world number one in January 2013 and won the men’s team gold medal at the 2016 Summer Olympics alongside Ma Long and Zhang Jike.

Ning, meanwhile, was a sensation in China when he broke Asian records in the 4×100 meter freestyle relay and 100 meter freestyle at the 2014 Asian Games. He retired from swimming in 2019 and is now a professional golfer.

After a slew of major brands suffered the fall of top entertainment personalities who acted as their ambassadors in China for various reasons, such as Kris Wu, Zheng Shuang, Zhao Wei and Fan Bingbing, it is common for brands to collaborate with athletes work to attend events and promote new products to the market. They are generally considered safer options with broader and longer lasting appeal.

Swimmer-golfer Ning Zetao stars in Bottega Veneta's latest 530 campaign

Swimmer and golfer Ning Zetao stars in Bottega Veneta’s latest 530 campaign.

Thanks to Bottega Veneta

Bottega Veneta has been a leader in adapting to the Chinese market in recent years with special campaigns and activations. For the Year of the Dragon, the brand released a campaign featuring award-winning actress and brand ambassador Shu Qi.

Under the creative direction of Matthieu Blazy, the film was Bottega Veneta’s fourth collaboration with Chinese director Jess Jing Zou. Titled ‘The First Sunrise With You’, it celebrated the first dawn of the year for various characters in various urban and panoramic settings.

Last year, the brand underwent a series of drastic changes in the marketplace, starting with its quiet return to social media after a two-year hiatus. For 520, the brand has hired two models to play a couple holding hands and watching the sunrise on top of a mountain, while showing off limited-edition bags, shoes and accessories that the brand is offering for the special occasion .

In June, the brand promoted Dario Gargiulo to CEO of Greater China to enhance its positioning and customer experience in the region. This was followed a month later by a revived show in autumn 2023 in Beijing. The event was viewed more than 36 million times on Weibo and WeChat combined, thanks to a star-studded front row that included Chinese actresses Angelababy and Dong Jie; Japanese-American singer Mika Hashizume; C-pop star Stefanie Sun; Chinese actor Jin Boran; Thai actress Pimchanok Leuwisetpaibul and actor Dew Jirawat Sutivanichsak.

For Qixi, another important gift moment between lovers in China, the brand found four modern Qixi couples who set out on a journey in search of their better halves. Hashizume, a friend of the house, was the protagonist this time. Against a backdrop of different cityscapes, he and other players were motivated by the pure joy of their race to love, according to the brand. Bottega’s Orbit sneakers and intrecciato bags were prominently featured in the video.

In 2022, Bottega Veneta took over part of the Great Wall to celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year. The message “Happy New Year” was written in Chinese, along with the company’s logo, displayed in shades of the brand’s signature green and tangerine, which is a symbol of good luck in Mandarin, on a sloping section of the Great Wall.

Along with this installation, the Italian brand pledged a donation to support the renovation and maintenance of the Shanhai Pass, the starting point of the eastern end of the Great Wall. Historically, this pass is known as the ‘first pass under heaven’.

As of 2024, Bottega Veneta operates 48 outlets in mainland China, eight in Hong Kong, six in Macau and 11 in the Taiwan region.