#MeituanRabbitEars is an extremely popular tag online, even spawning a group on Douban dedicated to images of takeaway riders in helmets decorated with cartoon-style ears. The trend takes competition between riders or “mobile billboards” from Meituan and Ele.me far beyond their distinctive yellow and blue uniforms.
What’s the story?
Meituan has distributed kangaroo helmets to its takeaway staff every summer as a publicity stunt. Based on Meituan’s logo – a leaping kangaroo – floppy helmet ears have been photographed across China’s cities, with the most popular showing delivery rivals, McDonald’s and Ele.me, admiring or touching each other’s uniform accessories.
Meituan Dianping now actively promotes the ears on social media, and even sells them for 6.9 yuan a piece on its virtual gift shop. Ele.me has opted to give Doraemon-style propellers to takeaway riders as a reward for good service. The trend has given rise to imitators too. Monkey King helmets have also been seen on the streets, and a photo of a rider in Guangzhou in a Hello Kitty helmet went viral.
Delivery platforms have struggled during Covid-19, as takeaway services have been curtailed by lockdown restrictions. “Selling cuteness” as this fad is known provides a face for big companies seeking to draw consumers closer in tough times. Indeed selling cuteness is at the heart of most internet campaigns, which is why internet companies like to use animals in their brands: A penguin for Tencent and a black cat for Tmall for example.
What are people saying online?
Some netizens have even signed up to become riders so they can obtain ears. They reveal their experiences on the Rabbit Ear Douban group, but are still unable to get the ears they dreamed of.
"God please let me see the little brother with the kangaroo ears again? I must ask how he got the helmet," said one of many fans.