Tod’s Doubles Down on China With Xiao Zhan Capsule

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Tod’s has teamed up with its brand ambassador Xiao Zhan on their first capsule collection, in a bid to boost the brand’s presence among the popular actor’s large fan base in China.

The “Tod‘s for XZ” capsule, featuring bags, shoes and accessories, designed by brand creative director Walter Chiapponi, takes cues from the keywords “Together” and “Tomorrow,” represented by the brand’s signature T logo, with color inspired by the blue sea and hibiscus flower.

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The announcement, with campaign images of Xiao sporting items from the capsule, amassed more than 2.4 million likes, 420,000 comments and more than half a million shares on Xiao’s Weibo post within hours on Thursday, while the dedicated hashtag for the capsule “Be Together, For Tomorrow” has logged more than 30 million impressions.

The capsule is available on the brand’s website, as well as online stores on Tmall, JD.com and WeChat mini-program.

Chinese actor and Tod’s brand ambassador Xiao Zhan stars in the campaign, promoting his first capsule collection with the Italian brand. - Credit: Courtesy
Chinese actor and Tod’s brand ambassador Xiao Zhan stars in the campaign, promoting his first capsule collection with the Italian brand. - Credit: Courtesy

Courtesy

The capsule signals Tod’s ambition to bring its China business back on track.

In the most recent quarter, due to strict COVID-19 rules, China was the only region that was lagging behind, while all other product categories and geographic regions delivered double-digit growth for Tod’s Group, which also includes Hogan, Fay and Roger Vivier.

Emilio Macellari, the group’s chief financial officer, expected that sales declines could potentially be as much as 40 percent in the second quarter. But with Shanghai gradually reopening, the company would revise those projections.

With around 31 million followers on Weibo, Xiao is a member of the Chinese boy group X Nine. He shot to fame in 2019 with his performance in the TV drama “The Untamed,” which is now available on Netflix worldwide.

The actor was at the center of a cyberbullying storm back in 2019. A fan fiction, depicting a pedophiliac female sex worker named after him in a sexual relationship with a minor named Wang Yibo, his costar in “The Untamed,” caused outrage among his fans. Some of his fans rallied like-minded people to report the fiction, resulting in the site Archive of Our Own, which was hosting the novel, being banned by China’s Great Firewall.

Simultaneously, the fan fiction created backlash against Xiao and drew on the intersections of cancel culture, homophobia, censorship and reporting culture on social media in China, culminating in the cyberbullying of him. Consequently, he lost many brand endorsements and was forced to issue an apology for the actions of his fans.

The actor laid low for more than a year before he was appointed a brand ambassador of Tod’s, Zenith and Gucci last year. He is now also the face of JD.com, Li-Ning, Tencent Video and Budweiser.

RELATED:

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Tod’s Names Walter Chiapponi Creative Director

Tod’s Reports Robust Growth in Q1, but China Remains a Problem

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