KFC has upped their collaboration game once more with a Chinese New Year-themed team-up with Sanrio Characters. Launched on 26 January on the takeaway platform Meituan and 28 January in-store, the celebratory set of 5 toys and one decorative piece can be collected with certain set meals.
For a 39.9 RMB (5.56 USD) meal or 59.9 RMB meal (8.34 USD) you can get a random toy out of the five small toys: Hello Kitty with a pine bonsai, Pom Pom Purin sitting on a pot of gold, Cinnamoroll with a stack of red envelopes, Pochacco standing on a drum doing a dragon dance or Kuromi with a paper window decorated with papercutting “fu” (福: luck, blessing). With a 69.9 RMB (9.73 USD) meal, however, you can win a Hangyodon decorative wooden fish. All characters are dressed in traditional red garments while coming with words of well-wishing, for both fortune and luck.
The co-branding campaign comes after McDonald’s launched an internet-breaking Hello Kitty mahjong set for the Chinese New Year. It comes in the iconic red colour for both McDonald’s and Hello Kitty, and Kitty’s bow is integrated into the traditional graphics on the tiles. The set is highly limited, however, and is only available at 10 stores across Hong Kong and Macau, and will set you back 988 HKD (126.47 USD) in total, including 200 HKD (25.60 USD) worth of coupons for eligibility to buy.
KFC has been on a streak with its collaborations. On Thursday 25 January, the day the Sanrio Characters collaboration was announced, the fast-food chain released a collaboration with traditional medicine brand Dragon & Tiger for a co-branded Fengyou Essence. The Fengyou Essence (风油精) is a green-coloured oily liquid, like Tiger balm but designed for mosquito bites. It is sometimes regarded as a “panacea oil” for its ability to sooth a wide range of symptoms. The collaboration mainly comes from the fact the character “feng” (风: wind) from Fengyou Essence sounds the same as “疯”, meaning “crazy” from KFC’s Crazy Thursday campaigns. 45,000 bottles of “Crazy Essence” were given away, along with exclusive stickers and paper bags.
As the Chinese New Year approaches, brands are trying to capitalise on creative campaigns to celebrate the occasion. Both KFC and Sanrio are no strangers to CNY campaigns, as well as collaborations. However, like the McDonald’s x Hello Kitty campaign, creatively tapping into the festive mood is the key. According to a recent survey, creative collaborations and practical merch are likely to make memorable co-branding campaigns. The Hangyodon wooden fish is creative and surprising, while practical in the sense that it leverages the spiritual interests of the younger generation, especially for the holiday season, much similar to the Fengyou Essence and mahjong set.