Fire breathing: Chagee teams up with ELLE and Gong Jun to honour traditional firework dragon

What can be more special than fireworks on Chinese New Year’s Eve? Of course, it has to be the firework dragon on the Year of the Dragon Eve! For this CNY, Chinese tea chain Chagee has partnered with fashion magazine ELLE and actor Gong Jun to pay tribute to the Chinese intangible cultural heritage, the first stop being the firework dragon of Jieyang, Guangdong.

Invented in the Ming Dynasty, the firework dragon has over 600 years of history. It is a combination of fireworks and traditional dragon dance. Hand-crafted with cotton paper and fireworks, the firework dragon needs to be operated by a team of 30 topless young men. It has the sublime appearance of a fire-breathing dragon when lit and operated, and locally it is known as the “burning dragon”.

For the tribute, Chagee invited designer Renee, the mind behind the new-style chinaware brand Xi Xing Le to design items to bring modernity to heritage crafts. The collection also take inspiration from the Tea Horse Road in Yunnan, home to Chagee. A pack including exclusive fai chun/chunlian door decoration, a coaster, a smartphone stand and a holiday greeting card can be won by joining a prize draw on Weibo, China’s Twitter-like platform. 1,000 packs will be given away for the campaign.

Gong Jun, the cover star of ELLE’s February issue, appears in one photo with a pink dragon screen, also designed by Renee. In the feature, titled “Crafts in Tales” Gong Jun poses with the screen, as well as a Chagee paper cup to pay homage to both the heritage firework and traditional tea. On Weibo, the topic “Chagee pays tribute to intangible cultural heritage” (#霸王茶姬致敬非遗#) has gained an impressive 48.34 million views.

Earlier this month, Chagee partnered with the Palace Museum for an exhibition about the history of Chinese tea and the various techniques of tea-making. More recently, Chagee released a video featuring cultural scholar Ma Weidu discussing these methods. Chagee also connects the new cultural heritage campaign with the history of tea, the craftsmanship of the fireworks to the techniques of tea-making. Chagee can capture the interest of its audiences by leveraging the cultural heritage of a Chinese tea brand, as well as promoting the craftsmanship of tea-making and lifestyle aspects of tea drinking.


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