2018-07-16 11:28:55

Last month, a Chinese kitchen appliance company promised to refund customers if France won the FIFA World Cup — and now it’s time to pay up.

After France’s 4-2 victory over Croatia in the final, Vatti announced Monday that the company will offer refunds on select products sold from June 1 to July 3. Vatti had introduced a “championship set” lineup — including cooking stoves, kitchen exhaust fans, water heaters, and dishwashers — as part of its soccer-related promotional event to boost sales. The company is a sponsor of the French team.

Despite media reports that the Guangdong-based company could lose millions of yuan, the company’s bet on France hasn’t backfired. On July 4, Vatti said that its strategy had “significantly boosted retail performance” and improved its brand image. The company raked in over 350 million yuan ($52 million) from online and offline sales during the marketing campaign, with the championship set accounting for less than 10 percent of total sales.

On Monday, Vatti’s shares peaked at 16.07 yuan — a 9.86 percent increase from Friday, nearly the 10 percent maximum — on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange, where the company is listed, before closing at 15.18 yuan.

The refund policy, which could have cost the company an estimated 79 million yuan, also came with a catch designed to minimize losses: Consumers who bought the goods online would get their money back only in the form of gift cards or vouchers. They would also have to use them on the same e-commerce platform from which they originally purchased the goods. The company didn’t specify the deal for people who bought the products at Vatti’s franchise stores.

Li Tianyu, a Shanghai-based public relations expert, said Vatti has been able to successfully cash in on soccer mania. “Their advertising hook is eye-catching,” he told Sixth Tone.

Founded in 1992, Vatti has long been associated with various sporting events but gained national attention for manufacturing the 2008 Beijing Olympic torch. The company returned to the spotlight last month for betting on France with its championship set promotion, as well as for appointing a new brand ambassador: France’s former striker, Thierry Henry.

Editor: Bibek Bhandari.

(Header image: A FIFA World Cup-themed advertisement for Chinese kitchen appliance maker Vatti in Jinan, Shandong province, July 3, 2018. IC)