Emperor’s hand: KFC teams up with Palace Museum again for CNY

For this Chinese New Year, KFC has partnered with the Palace Museum once more with an exclusive collection of packaging. The new CNY limited edition packaging features dragon graphics inspired by artefacts from the museum’s collection. But the main event is the Fu’s (福, fortune, blessing) in the centre of all the burger boxes, buckets and paper bags. The calligraphy characters are copied from four of the best-known emperors of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1912): Kangxi (1654-1722), Yongzheng (1678-1735), Qianlong (1711-1799) and Jiaqing (1760-1820).

The Fu’s are given special meanings and names based on the characteristics of the writing, the emperors’ reigns, as well as the dragons taken from the artefacts. Kangxi‘s writing is named “ever-prosperous” Fu, Yongzheng’s Fu is named “going smoothly” Fu, Qianlong’s hand is called “long happiness” Fu and Jiaqing’s character is named “good luck” Fu. Kangxi Emperor gave away handwritten Fu’s as gifts to his ministers for various occasions as a fortune-wishing gesture. Yongzheng and Qianlong standardised the family tradition of giving away Fu’s during the Chinese New Year period.

KFC has teamed up with the Palace Museum before with limited edition mooncakes, as well as a lantern-themed short film. The fast food chain has been capitalising on the festivities and spiritual needs for wishes during the CNY period with its crossover with Wutaishan, as well as the Hangyodon wooden fish in the latest Sanrio Characters collab. In the meantime, the Palace Museum is partnering with brands such as Chagee and Tmall to widen its audience.

Without new products, toys or gifts, the collaboration is on a smaller scale compared to before. The topic “Offering Fu this Year of Dragon with Emperor’s handwriting” (#以御笔墨宝献福龙年#) gained a moderate 987,000 views on Weibo, China’s Twitter equivalent. Meanwhile, a post showcasing the co-branded packaging earned 256 likes on Xiaohongshu (RED). However, the engagements are likely due to the prize draw from the post and its reference to Alipay’s “Five Fu’s Festival”. However, with an exclusive calligraphy and intangible cultural heritage event in Tianjin, KFC is aiming beyond a co-branding campaign in the direction of corporate social responsibility (CSR) for the cultural awareness it raises.


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