[Updated] Durex China stirs up co-brand interaction storm on Thanksgiving

[Updated: P&G senior brand manager Hong Kong & Taiwan Tim Hung's comment]

Thanksgiving is not a popular festival in China, but there's no guarantee that things will still be the same next year after last week's Durex-initiated "Weibo war".

From 10am to 11pm on this year's Thanksgiving day, Durex China's Weibo account published "thank you" posts to 13 brands in seemingly unrelated fields.

Even cheekier, the 13 "chosen brands" felt obliged to welcome or thank Durex back for something else, which left netizens no choice but to stay attentive to their Weibo accounts to see what's next.

Here's Durex China's first bomb, which was published at 10am, to help you understand what happened:


"Dear Wrigley's, thank you for always being by my side, and for providing an excuse to buy me." it reads.

The post attracted countless netizens' attention, praising Durex's "genius" copywriting and even urged Wrigley to respond to it.

As the first brand to be named, Wrigley had some time to get a full picture of what had happened, and respond in kind. At 1pm, it responded, and the post did not disappoint netizens:


"Dear Durex, you are welcome. Feel free to anything you want - I'm here." - Yours, Wrigley's Doublemint

Another one to Snickers reads: "Thank you Snickers, thanks for supplying me with 490-cal for another match."


"You are welcome. Is one bar enough?" replied Snickers.


This is not the first time Durex's Weibo account pokes fun at and interacts with another brand. Last year the brand mocked Apple's newly launched AirPods with an ad that showed runaway AirPod-lookalike items trapped in Durex’s products, and captions that read "do not run away" and "don't let me go if you love me". The post recieved more than 21,000 shares, 7,000 likes and 6,000 comments. (Read more: The curious case of number ‘7’)

Similarly, this year's good humour got Durex a lot of attention, with the first Wrigley post alone receiving more than 16,000 shares, 10,400 likes and 4,200 comments.

Tim Hung, Procter & Gamble Hong Kong's senior brand manager Hong Kong & Taiwan, appreciated the interesting strategy that Durex had employed.

"This ingenious execution reminds us of 2 fundamental truths about brand building - it should always start with true consumer insight (I didn’t see Ikea coming), and be consistent with what the brand stands for (it’s so Durex!)," he added.

"(Co-branding interactions) were quite difficult to foster in the past, as brand executives had to build trust or approve the partnership before anything happens. It was more serious back then," Vincent Tsui, founder of Toast Communications Limited, told Marketing. "But social media is definitely making things easier. You can easily see brands commenting on each other's Facebook page in Hong Kong nowadays."

(Co-branding interactions) were quite difficult to foster in the past for brand executives had to build trust or approve the partnership before anything happens. It was more serious back then.

He quoted another co-branding interaction from March 2017, which saw Star Movie Taiwan's Facebook page teasing a netizen's unreasonable request for a personalised Captain America poster just for him by drawing the netizen a simple picture with Microsoft Paint. Other brands like Yahoo and 7-Eleven then also proceeded to draw their own logos in Paint.

"What is clearly reflected here is that brands cannot just talk about themselves, but they have to craft a brand personality by humanising the accounts. Just like we interact with friends on social media, we [brands] should interact with other brands."

Hong Kong is relatively small in terms of market size, but Tsui said agencies can still let their brands interact through, for example, the comment section.

Read some of the other tongue-in-cheek conversations here:

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