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BUZZWORDS | Stealth Mode, Strong/Light People, Fries on the Pier

In the dynamic landscape of Chinese marketing, buzzwords are the key to unlocking the psyche of young consumers. These linguistic trends not only reflect the current state of mind of the youth but also offer brands a unique opportunity to connect on a deeper level.

This article delves into three recent buzzwords that have taken the Chinese social media by storm, providing insights into their meanings, how they reflect the subtle mentality of Chinese young generation, and how brands can leverage these terms for effective marketing strategies.

01 Stealth Mode 偷感 (tōu gǎn)

The term 'tōu gǎn' captures the essence of a silent, unassuming approach to life, where individuals prefer to avoid the spotlight and may feel awkward when in the public eye. Originating from the social media platform Xiaohongshu, this buzzword has resonated with many who seek a sense of internal security and privacy in their endeavors. Individuals who identify with 'tōu gǎn' may engage in activities like secretly losing weight without informing others or discreetly taking selfies of appealing scenes in public to avoid being noticed.

The popularity of 'tōu gǎn' reveals a deeper cultural narrative. It speaks to a segment of young people who prefer to avoid the spotlight and the pressures associated with public scrutiny. They find solace in private efforts and quiet observation, valuing personal growth and experiences over public recognition.

Brand Case Study:

Tencent's 'Tōu Gǎn' Marketing

Tencent's use of 'tōu gǎn' in their marketing strategy is a prime example of how brands can engage with this buzzword. When a user on Xiaohongshu humorously noted the 'tōu gǎn' nature of Tencent's mascot penguin toy, the official account of Tencent Meetings responded with a playful comment and initiated a giveaway on their official account. This approach not only showcased their understanding of the trend but also created a memorable interaction with their audience.

02 Strong/Light People 淡人/浓人

User-generated contents about OOTD of strong/light people

'Dàn rén' and 'nóng rén' represent two contrasting lifestyles. 'Dàn rén' are individuals who lead a calm and unassuming life, indifferent to the ups and downs of daily life, while 'nóng rén' are passionate and energetic, seeking intense experiences and emotions.

Another trending buzzword related to this is the '淡淡综合征 Dan Dan Syndrome', a term capturing a prevalent mindset among young Chinese, characterized by a lack of passion for interests, a peaceful emotional state, and a reserved approach to social interactions. It has become a coping mechanism in a fast-paced, high-pressure society, offering a soothing retreat for those who seek respite from the demands of constant social performance and competition.

Brand Case Study:

INTO YOU's Makeup Look for Strong/Light People

INTO YOU's brand ambassador demonstrating the strong/light looks with INTO YOU's lipsticks

Chinese emerging cosmetics brand INTO YOU leveraged the concept of strong/light people to create a customized IP, "浓学淡学颜习社 Makeup Club for Strong/Light Style". By co-creating the concept of strong/light style makeup looks with their community, they tapped into the latest trend and provided products that catered to both personality types. The campaign generated a significant amount of user-generated content (UGC) on Xiaohongshu, with users sharing their own interpretations of the strong/light looks, amplifying the campaign's exposure.

Brand Case Study:

 Strong/Light People

Other brands such as McDonald's and Lipton

recommending strong/light products to strong/light people

03 Get Some Fries On the Pier 去码头整点薯条

This phrase, derived from a comic by Canadian artist Joshua Barker, humorously illustrates

the pursuit of simple pleasures in life. It has been adopted by Chinese netizens to express a desire for relaxation and enjoyment amidst the hustle and bustle of daily life.

Brand Case Study:

Lay's 'Pier Fries' Campaign

Lay's embraced the 'Get Some Fries On the Pier' trend by setting up a real pier with real fries in Shanghai. This campaign cleverly combined the youthful mindset, the brand's product, and its image, breathing new life into the 91-year-old brand.

04 Double V Tips

Understanding and embracing these buzzwords is crucial for brands looking to connect with Chinese youth. Here are a few tips for brands venturing into the Chinese market:

● Stay Connected : Keep a pulse on the latest trends by actively monitoring social media platforms. Be ready to engage when opportunities arise.

● Humor is Key : Many buzzwords have a playful or even self-deprecating tone. Brands can use humor to build rapport and guide the conversation in a positive direction.

● Encourage UGC : User-generated content is a powerful tool for brands. Encourage users to share their experiences and stories, which can then be leveraged for further marketing efforts.

● Be Bold : When the opportunity presents itself, brands should act swiftly and decisively to capitalize on the trend.

The Chinese market is a treasure trove of cultural nuances and linguistic creativity. For brands, navigating this landscape requires a blend of agility, humor, and a deep understanding of the local context. By embracing the buzzwords and the sentiments they represent, brands can establish a meaningful dialogue with the vibrant and dynamic youth of China.

Double V Consulting is a marketing consultancy specialized in female consumer goods brands. We have been helping overseas brands navigate the complexities of the Chinese market since 2017. We specialize in creating strategies that resonate with Chinese female consumers, leveraging deep market insights and cultural understanding.


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