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5 Brilliant Chinese New Year Campaign Ideas (And What YOU Can Learn From Them)

The Lunar New Year is a special occasion for Chinese communities around the world. While celebrations for the Year of the Boar are in full swing, businesses everywhere are embracing the promotional opportunities of the season.

Marketing campaigns during Chinese New Year are critical to driving traction over the lucrative Chinese market. From a luxury clothing line to a global agency, explore some of the most creative Chinese New Year campaigns — and what you can learn from them —- below.

5 Creative Chinese New Year Marketing Campaigns

1. Get inspired by Gucci’s capsule collections

Producing capsule collections for the holidays isn’t a new concept for luxury brands. But Gucci outdid themselves when they switched their signature wild animal printouts for portraits of man’s best friend.

To celebrate Chinese New Year 2018, the Italian label released a limited ‘Year of the Dog’ collection. Creative director Alessandro Michele put his Boston terriers, Bosco and Orso, front and centre — featuring portraits of the adorable pups in a series of stylish bomber jackets, sneakers, and shirts.

The takeaway? Give your campaigns a fresh, modern take

When a Western brand takes on the Chinese’s most celebrated holiday, it risks becoming tone-deaf, controversial or just plain monotonous. Younger shoppers have grown weary of overused elements like red, yellow, gold, and the seasonal zodiac symbols. Instead, they’re looking for modern representations of Chinese culture.

Gucci managed to achieve this by instilling their signature aesthetic with the holiday-themed collection. Not only did consumers fall in love with the quirky but chic designs, they also couldn’t tear their eyes away from the official campaign photos. The images, shot by Petra Collins, featured household breeds such as the corgi, poodle, and of course, Michele’s dogs Bosco and Orso.

2. Get sentimental like Tiger Beer

Tiger Beer commercial

Tiger Beer has made it a tradition to kick-off Chinese New Year with their “Reunion Project” — a campaign that hopes to inspire more Singaporeans to come home for the holidays.

The 90-second ad featuring Singaporean David Lee pulled a lot of heartstrings the year it was released. It shows Lee writing a letter to his three children working overseas.

When the sentimental scene is over, Tiger Beer invites Singaporeans living abroad to join the Reunion Project. The contest winners get a round trip ticket in exchange for appearing in promotional materials for the brand.

The takeaway? A sad commercial will turn people into a blubbering mess — but that might be a good thing.

You’ve probably seen all those emotional ads circulating online. They get a million likes, shares, comments, everything! Advertisers are known to use emotions as a catalyst to drive conversions. This marketing strategy is known as “emotional advertising”.

Now you might be thinking, “But we distribute 3-in-1 breakfast machines!” Well, there isn’t just one emotion to tap into, right? Just remember:

  • When using positive emotions (joy, pride, love, inspiration): Focus on happy, engaging images of everyday people. When done right, it can create a sense of trust and credibility with your customers.
  • When using negative emotions (sad, stress, fear, frustration): Negative emotions are an opportunity for advertisers to show how to overcome them. In Tiger Beer’s case, the brand reminds people that there’s absolutely no feeling as special as being home for the holidays.

3. Get handy like Giant Singapore

Giant Singapore Content

Planning for Chinese New Year festivities can be stressful. Households are busy planning the meals to prepare, decors to put up, and of course, there are the New Year’s day outfits. All the preparation leading up to the big day can take a toll on a lot of folks.

Giant Singapore decided to give their customers a hand during this busy time by creating a series of helpful content. The hypermarket chain offered tutorials, guides, and templates to help consumers with their Chinese New Year plans.

The takeaway? Simple (but useful!) campaigns can go a long way

You don’t need a dramatic ad or over the top collaterals for your next holiday campaign. If you’ve got a knack for writing, then create a special blog series for the season. If video is more your thing, then a video series is bound to help you connect with more consumers.

4. Get creative like Coca-Cola

Coca-Cola CNY

Coca-Cola releases holiday versions of their iconic red can every Chinese New Year. The designs feature symbols such as Chinese characters, phrases, and imagery. Each can comes with a different design, encouraging customers to purchase and collect them all.

The takeaway: Tradition can inspire creativity

You can draw a ton of design inspiration from Chinese culture. But as always, do a double take before sending out any material. For example, Chinese characters often carry multiple meanings and combining them can mean something else. The last thing you want is to have a well-planned campaign bite you in the back.

5. Get into a festive mood like We Are Social

We are Social CNY

Creative agency, We Are Social, rang in Chinese New Year by showcasing their fun, laid-back company culture. Staff from their global offices distributed “lucky candies” and Ang Pao while decorating their office space with Chinese New Year symbols. It was a fantastic way to humanize the business and appeal to their target audience.

The takeaway: Be fun, authentic, and raw

Customers like interacting with businesses they can relate to. So it pays to show off what goes on behind the scenes. You can take a cue from We Are Social or try something else. Whip out your camera for a live video of your celebrations or tap into your charitable side by reaching out to the less fortunate.

One last thing...

Holidays and marketing campaigns sound like they go hand in hand. But when done wrong, you end up wasting time and money.

You can integrate all the best practices into your Chinese New Year campaigns, including choosing the right platform, engaging content, or SEO strategies….but still forget the most important thing: The values, history, and culture of the holiday.

Don’t just jump in the Chinese New Year bandwagon — understand the culture and people behind it as well. This lets you build strong customer relationships that’ll last beyond the holiday season.

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1. Get inspired by Gucci’s capsule collections
2. Get sentimental like Tiger Beer
3. Get handy like Giant Singapore
4. Get creative like Coca-Cola
5. Get into a festive mood like We Are Social