INNOVATION DRIVES FASHION FORWARD

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Feature | Why BVLGARI Exhibition In Chengdu Attracted 870,000 Visitors?

November 15,2019

On August 25, the 118-day Bulgari SerpentiForm exhibition officially closed in Chengdu -- a set of exclusive data showed that since the exhibition officially opened to the public (for free) on April 30, it attracted 50,000 visitors in just five days. At closing, the 118-day exhibition total received more than 870,000 visitors, an average daily number of visitors are 7000+ (without accounting for online audience participation).

These numbers prove that Bulgari has successfully earned fans’ hearts in the southwest China, through a carefully planned brand exhibition.Luxe.Co reveals how Bulgari provides a very wonderful example for exhibitions of luxury brand in China through the following words. 

Chinese - Western Culture Dialogue through "spirit snake" 

For Bulgari, serpenti creations are important icons of the brand that have permeated every aspect of the brand since the 1940s: jewelry, watches, and bags all have serpenti elements. In Chinese culture, snake totem worship has a long history, with snake images appearing across different regions and many historical stages.

Therefore, instead of reviewing brand history or traditional curating ideas based on artists, stars, etc., Bulgari finally settled on "Serpenti" as the theme of the exhibition — the purpose was not only to tell the brand story to consumers, but to create a cultural and artistic communication platform that shows the evolution of the "spirit snake" in the Eastern and Western civilizations. Through this project, Bulgari disrupted traditional communication models and provided a background story that connects ancient and modern, Chinese and Western cultures. 

Chengdu: Three-year Well-thought Out Decision

When Bulgari first brought the SerpentiForm exhibition to China, the first challenge was localization.

Beijing and Shanghai have always been the first choice for luxury brands to hold exhibitions in China. Before the SerpentiForm exhibition, Bulgari held several exhibitions in Beijing and Shanghai. However, this time, Bulgari put down these two "safe options", and instead chose Chengdu to be the first China location (and 4th worldwide) for the SerpentiForm exhibition. This was an elaborate and thoughtful decision.

Regarding exhibition duration, the SerpentiForm exhibition lasted for only one to two months in Rome, Singapore and Tokyo, while the exhibition in Chengdu lasted for nearly four months. The SerpentiForm exhibition in Chengdu gathered more than 180 pieces of Eastern and Western art treasures, making it the largest exhibition of all.

As a new one-tier city, Chengdu's commercial appeal and fashion index continues to climb. Chengdu's open, diverse and inclusive vibe makes it a gathering place for more trendy young people, which is attractive to fashion and luxury brands as well. Moreover, in addition to the actual commercial value, Chengdu is also an ancient city with a long history and cultural heritage. Walking the streets and alleyways of Chengdu, you can feel the pulse of history and the taste of its endless charm.

It is worth noting that the exhibition did not choose a relatively niche art and cultural organization, but the Chengdu Museum that has great public influence, so that the exhibition could reach a wider group. During the exhibition, the long line at the entrance of Chengdu Museum became a daily norm for local people in Chengdu, with even more visitors during public holidays.

Curator Lucia Boscaini stressed that the museum's collection of ancient Chinese artifacts related to snakes, as well as the museum's deep understanding of snake culture, was one of the most important reasons why Bulgari finally decided to exhibit in Chengdu.

Li Mingbin, Director of the Chengdu Museum, revealed that Bulgari's team had visited the Chengdu museum for a field trip as early as three years ago. It can be seen that the choice of the exhibition SerpentiForm exhibition in China was not a sudden impromptu decision — Bulgari had made great preparations and put a lot of energy into it. During the preparation phase of the exhibition, the two sides mobilized more than 500 staff and spent more than 300 days to complete site construction and other preparatory work.

Jean-Christophe Babin, CEO of Bulgari, previously stressed in an interview that he hoped to change the form of traditional exhibitions with the help of Bulgari's legendary exhibition SerpentiForm.

"Breaking the circle" To Strike A Broader Chord With Chinese Consumers

Bulgari hoped to reach the public widely through this exhibition: from the existing group who already knew about the brand to the more diverse general public.

"Every time when the exhibition goes to a new place, it is not a simple copy, but an evolution," said curator Lucia Boscaini earlier about the SerpentiForm exhibition tour.

Of the more than 180 exhibits on display, 70% were seen for the first time. In addition to several antiques from Italy, there were also a large number of Chinese ancient relics. Audiences who saw the exhibition were deeply impressed by the ancient Chinese and Western cultural relics displayed, and actively spread its impressiveness through word of mouth on social media.

The exhibition also presented and immersed itself in contemporary art through multimedia interactions that are favored by the new generation. In addition to the works of Joan Miró、Alexander Calder and other artists, Chinese artists Yang Mian and Sun Hao also created special art paintings for this exhibition. Two artworks created by Chinese artist Wu Jianan for Bulgari Rome's new concept store last year also appeared in this exhibition.

These exhibits and forms all seek to identify and resonate with Chinese consumers of different ages. At the same time, it was intended to break geographical boundaries, promote conversation between Chinese and Western civilizations, and build a bridge for cultural exchange.

The Big Wave of  EMV

Jean-Christophe Babin, CEO of Bulgari, once described the show as "an educational platform for potential consumers". So where do these "potential consumers" come from?

1.Use official communication channels skillfully to enhance star effect

Self-owned communication channel are one of the most direct ways for brands to communicate and interact with consumers, and is also the most conducive for brands to speak in their own tone. On the opening day of the exhibition, 11 celebrities (including Kris Wu) presented at the day's press conference to the night's opening party, bringing the first wave of attention to the brand.

During the exhibition, Bulgari also launched the official WeChat Mini Program specifically for the exhibition, not only with a visual introduction for each exhibition area, but also providing audio guides recorded by Bulgari's three spokespeople —- Kris Wu, Shu Qi and Jolin Tsai.  

The audience was much more actively sharing and posting on social media platforms after WeChat Mini Program experience launch.

2.“Instagram-worthy” spots and KOLs trigger mass communication

In addition, Bulgari set the "Serpenti" dynamic lighting wall in the exhibition, an area especially suitable for taking photos. It has become a must for every audience to clock in, and also made the exhibition become a Instagram worthy spot for internet influencers.

On the RED (Xiaohong) platform alone, there were more than 750 articles about the exhibition. Under the sharing of KOLs, more users went to visit and generate content. So far, there have been more than 2.4 million discussions and over 250 million reads about the topic #SerpentiForm on Weibo.

Conclusion

The Bulgari SerpentiForm Chengdu exhibition may bring a deeper enlightenment to the industry: for luxury brands, an exhibition starts from cultural foundations, and can help resonate with the general public through a sense of participation. The communication power and influence of the exhibition itself are closely related to the "cultural thickness" of its content.

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