Yinlu Peanut Milk
IP crossover, branding-performance unification
Yinlu Peanut Milk, a Chinese brand founded in 1985 and owned by Nestle, used to earn more than 1 billion US Dollars with a single product. Now, Yinlu faces the dilemma of an aging image and a disconnect with the younger generation. Yinlu’s classic product has been overwhelmed by a market filled with a deluge of newer cooler beverages.
In 2019, we had a marketing budget of 10 million to improve the brand image and increase sales. Our biggest challenge was how to utilize this to create an effective marketing strategy. With the market becoming saturated with new products, and competition for young consumers extremely fierce, many of our competitors spend hundreds of millions each year on their marketing budgets. With our limited budget, it would be difficult to make a dent in the market with a traditional approach, so we needed to approach the challenge creatively.
Yinlu Peanut Milk’s customer base skews older with a majority of consumers 35 and above, which creates an urgent need to attract millennial and Gen Z consumers and create an emotional connection between these young consumers and Yinlu Peanut Milk. We found an opportunity in a pop culture phenomenon: young people are crazy about “two-dimensional” fictional anime and cartoon worlds. With 390 million fans in China, it has become an economic powerhouse.
In the past few years, the number of “two-dimensional” anime and comic fans has exploded, and this cute, kawaii culture is irresistible for many young adults. With the concept of “small happiness” that Yinlu advocates, Yinlu decided to inject a bit of cuteness into its brand image and use this “two-dimensional” culture to build links with younger generations. We created an animated IP “Peanut Guy” to rejuvenate Yinlu’s aging brand image, while still representing Yinlu’s brand essence: bringing a little happiness to everyday life.
To create a bigger impact, we leveraged the influence of a comic star: Little Red Bean. Warm, lovable, and edible, she makes a perfect partner for Peanut Guy. We co-created content for both characters and appeared on Season 2 of Bilibili’s wraparound program “Please Eat Little Red Bean!” We infused the marketing promotion “Scan your way to Rome” into the content. It immediately ignited fans' passion. Thousands expressed their surprise and fondness for Yinlu and many of them bought Yinlu to show their support for these two little characters.
Following this success, we launched further IP content, such as an HTML5 game in collaboration with NetEase called “Journey to the West Next Chapter: Tangseng’s Long March to Rome” and the TikTok challenge “Scan magical code to Rome,” to create a multifaceted interaction between young consumers. Finally, Peanut Guy comic strips, 4-panel comics, and animated emoticons can be read, played, and forwarded, capturing the attention of these “two-dimensional” fans.
Yinlu’s IP campaign has radiated across the internet and won Bilibili’s 2019 award for the best co-op marketing campaign. Using cute characters and appealing to the humor of the young generation not only injects a new spirit into Yinlu Peanut Milk but also drives robust sales growth. Through 360° entertainment marketing, we turned Yinlu’s classic Peanut Milk into a fun brand, carried out promotional activities, and attracted fans across platforms, which caused an explosion in discussion on social media.
- Changing brand perception: 63% of consumers aged 18-24 said they have a very favorable opinion of Yinlu and 38% said they sent wishes on Bilibili. Over 180 million people were exposed to Yinlu’s marketing.
- Among those aged 18-24, 41% expressed awareness of Yinlu’s marketing campaign.
- The number of bottle cap codes scanned increased by 55%, and more than 6.8 million bottles were opened.
- Our efforts won Bilibili’s 2019 award for best co-op campaign.
“The era of the IP Brand has come. IP is a powerful symbol and a new language for brands to resonate with consumers.”
Ylab and Yinlu strategically planned three growth strategies and put them into practice. Ylab helped Yinlu build the brand IP to combine brand content with business and attract the young generation of Chinese consumers. Furthermore, Ylab decided to build brand communication in the form of IP. In that case, Ylab has facilitated the collaboration between the new IP and an emerging anime character “Red Little Bean” and has developed playful content to win over the hearts of old users. In addition, Ylab planned annual promotion activities that can convert direct sales.
The cooperation between Yinlu and Red Little Bean won the 2019 Best Case in Crossover Collaboration on bilibili.com, and a short cooperation video with fancy performances and an interesting story was made to attract fans.
The development of O2O is becoming mature. The fast-moving consumer brands need to change their traditional marketing thinking and use new thinking to create promotional strategies that can help the brand achieve efficient traffic conversion.