Cannes Lions


PHD, Shanghai / UNILEVER / 2014

Case Film
Supporting Images
Case Film






TV entertainment shows and TV drama still form the majority of content in China. With TV Drama accounting for 50% of TV viewership and 53% time viewing on Digital Video channels.

The past three years has seen the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) introduce regulations that has dramatically reduced the quality and quantity of prime time advertising inventory:

Oct 2011: Decreasing the number of programs broadcast between 1930-2200pm across 50 provincial satellite channels.

Oct 2012: Cutting in program ad breaks during between 19.30 – 22.00pm.

Oct 2013: Stations only allowed one music reality program.

The end result is Chinese TV audiences are down 25% over 5 years, people watch more TV shows than ever, but are watching them on digital devices. In some cities, video is bigger than TV, for instance, WuHan is TV about 60% vs. video 75% and SuZhou is TV 55% vs. video 69%.

This has led to of a dramatic increase in branded content opportunities, however with constraints on number of programs this has driven a rise in the cost of branded content sponsorship on TV, further pushing brands to explore online content as an effective way of reaching and engaging their audience.


The centrepiece of the campaign is an 8-minute short film, starring China’s Julia Roberts, leading actress, Yao Chen. The story centres on Yao’s character, a world-weary photographer burnt out by urban life. Gaining a glimpse into her future, coupled with the wise words of a worldly newspaper street vendor, Yao’s character understands the importance of finding her one reason to smile.

The film appeared on China’s top digital video online and mobile platforms Tencent and Youku, aired on national TV and supported by integrated digital campaign, including social media activation partnering with selfie app Story Camera, Zhonghua detected the level of someone’s smile in their selfie pic, generating smile points linked to a social programme sponsoring corrective oral surgeries for infants.

Offline support included magazine, PR, events and using the central newspaper vendor character as a catalyst became the first brand to advertise on over 1600 newspaper stands.


Combining thought provoking branded content, smart use of digital and social and first time OOH channels, Zhonghua’s One Hundred Million Smiles Campaign generated plenty of results to smile about:

No.1 Brand Total Awareness

24% sales volume growth vs previous year

20% Increase on sales vs. category growth

Over 100 million “smiles” were shared

725,000,000 Digital impression

27+ Million Chinese watched the branded micro movie on digital and TV

8,060,000 Reaches on Sina and Tentent Microblogs

2,300,000 photos were shared via mobile app StoryCamera

2,240,000 Searches on key words

52% Increase of WeChat followers in total

ROI reached 790%

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