Wharf China Estates Limited - Award for Innovation in the Use of Events

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Company: Wharf China Estates Limited, Chengdu, China
Company Description: WHARF CHINA ESTATES LIMITED is the China property arm of The Wharf Group. The Wheelock and Wharf Group presently owns a development land bank and investment properties in more than 10 major China cities with an attributable GFA of nearly 100 million square feet. The Group operates prime Times Square and IFS developments in major cities including Shanghai, Chongqing, Chengdu, Wuhan and Dalian, and there are more than 20 other projects under different stages of development.
Nomination Category: Award for Innovation in Communications / PR
Nomination Sub Category: Award for Innovation in the Use of Events

Nomination Title: “All in Here”— realizing Chengdu IFS’ fashion leadership in China



With 600 top-tier international brands, Chengdu International Financial Square (CDIFS) is always the benchmark of premium fashion in China’s fashion center, Chengdu, and the whole Western China region. However, shopping malls doubled within a year, and CDIFS’ leadership had been blurred by new competitors offering similar labels and experience.

It was a Battle of Leadership to fight in a region with a population equivalent to half of Europe, and turning around threats into long-term loyalty.


1. Awareness – Elevating the brand status by placing Chengdu onto the world’s stage of fashion
2. Engagement – Curating unique experience that was difficult to imitate by aggregating the global fashion business to Chengdu;
3. Authority – Building fashion authority by correlating CDIFS’ brand with the world’s most authoritative fashion capitals namely Paris & New York.


1. Frequent high-quality-merchandize shoppers, 55%
2. Big spenders VIPs, 30%
3. Tourists from Western China region, 15%


Breaking away from the industry’s norm of sales promotions, CDIFS focused on engaging consumers to participate directly in the brand’s evolution, and co-create contents to spread via social media in enlarging the influence.

To further establish its fashion reputation, CDIFS collaborated with international fashion leaders in promoting Chengdu as a world-class fashion hub. This strategy also opened the door for co-op with governments, which in turn uplifted the mall from a retailer to “Chengdu’s ambassador”, and allowed the brand’s awareness to penetrate into new segments like tourism and export trading.


CDIFS radiated the strategy via 4 events under the “All IN Here” theme for a holistic positioning:

1. Facilitating GOVERNMENTS' alliance between Chengdu & Paris via Fashion Streets Twinning, and the unique 2-in-1 road sign became popular tourist sites in the two cities;
2. Facilitating INDUSTRY's standard via The International Style Conference with 600 international participants from the fashion industry;
3. Facilitating the CONSUMERS' fashion experience with world debut of New York artists’ 180-metre’s Sonic Runway, which the visual excitement synced with the music from consumers’ mobile phones;
4. Facilitating KIDS' fashion sense with a dozen of professionals coaching Kids Catwalk Modelling.


Many new competitors opened in 2017 with a big launch budget. CDIFS was at its maintenance stage, and the static budget must support a broader target audience and wider geographic coverage.
Therefore, the campaign incorporated three clever marketing tactics to amplify the events’ effectiveness:

1) Government’s Involvement – Chengdu Provincial Government co-sponsored the campaign that elevated Chengdu’s fashion influence in the world stage. Government’s participation also earned much mandatory media exposure locally and internationally.
2) Power of KOLs – When CDIFS elevated the events to an international scale; they became mandatary topics of fashion KOLs/ media. These formed a powerful endorsement on CDIFS in differentiating from ordinary malls.
3) Users’ Engagement – Installations were creative enough to be irresistible photo ops for tourists, and their photos travelled far in social media helped to bring up the brand’s share of voice at no media costs.


Within two months, the event series received coverage from 2,300+ media of 442+M of views attracting 12.66M visits that brought in US$234M sales – a sales growth rate 600% over the industry's average.

The marketing ROI was 300 times! This was way above industry’s average, and was especially good when the campaign fell in a low season which required higher investment to pull in traffic.

The campaign received high recognition from reputable marketing awards, including APAC Gold Awards from International Council of Shopping Mall. It is also the only awarded China case in the Global ICSC VIVA Marketing Awards, which is also known as “the Cannes awards in shopping mall industry”.