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Shiseido's livestreams for China Singles Day skip the influencers

Employees tout cosmetics as company pursues crucial Nov 11. shopping day

A display at a Shiseido store in Tokyo: The company eyes China as COVID-19 saps makeup demand in Japan.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- Japanese cosmetics maker Shiseido has put a twist on advertising for China's largest shopping event of the year through an online tool usually associated with social media influencers.

More than 400,000 viewers tuned in to Shiseido's livestream Tuesday from its Tokyo headquarters and a studio in the Chinese city of Hangzhou. The company has been livestreaming almost every day since late October, when marketing campaigns for China's Singles Day sale -- held every year on Nov. 11 -- kicked into full gear.

"This is the first stream from Japan and from China," one excited viewer commented.

But unlike typical livestreaming campaigns, Shiseido is relying on its own employees instead of social media influencers to promote the company's products.

"In Japan, advertising is usually done by influencers," said marketing manager Michiko Kitahara, who appeared in Tuesday's stream. "But things have come full circle in China, and more people there are interested in what the manufacturer is saying."

Over 400,000 people watched Shiseido's livestream on Nov. 10, presented from its Tokyo headquarters and a studio in China's Hangzhou. (Photo by Marie Shimokawa)

By speaking directly to customers, Shiseido hopes to foster greater interest in its brands and the company itself. Kitahara herself discussed makeup trends in Japan and Shiseido's commitment to its products on the Tuesday stream.

"The more bare-faced look is popular in Tokyo right now. I recommend our Maquillage line, which is great at controlling shine," she said.

Shiseido offers products from over 30 of its brands for Singles Day.

"We aim to double companywide sales across Tmall and Tmall Global from last year's Singles Day," said Kosuke Koyanagi, manager at Shiseido China. 

Makeup demand has flagged in Japan as more people wear masks to avoid the coronavirus. Shiseido is eager to tap the Chinese market to plug the hole and to drive future growth.

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