This Chinese New Year, McDonald’s has struck with a multipronged campaign with both online and offline strands, and with a unified message “祝你今年金拱门” (lit. wish gold knocks on your door this year, but “金拱门” also means Golden Arches). The CNY campaign includes an animated short made in collaboration with the prestigious Shanghai Animation Film Studio, a time-limited menu with new toys, as well as a pop-up restaurant.
The short film interprets several Chinese idioms containing the word “gold” with auspicious meanings in one continuous shot. From “金玉良缘” wishing for love, “金榜题名” to qualifying for exams, “日进斗金” for high earnings to a “金帆风顺”, a modified version of “一帆风顺” for smooth sailing. The characters in the animation gradually advance with the times, from traditional Tang Dynasty clothing to modern dress. The film ends with a contemporary family sitting at the table with a McDonald’s meal, admiring the fireworks of CNY.
Along with the film, McDonald’s released a short video of singer Cai Guoqing singing and dancing to the “祝你今年金拱门” theme tune he collaborated with the fast food chain on. A special CNY new menu including a “Golden Arches” burger with king prawns and red bean rice cake pie was launched. Interestingly, it includes a pineapple drink and a burger with a pineapple slice inside, called “golden pineapple” drink and burger. “Golden pineapple”, or “金菠萝“ (jin bo luo) is a play on words with “金叵罗” (“jin po luo”, or “gam bo lo” in Cantonese), which means golden wine cup, a Cantonese expression meaning something or someone precious. For an extra 39.8 RMB (5.60 USD) on top of any purchase, you can get a Doraemon red envelope dispenser, with exclusive Doraemon red envelopes and stickers.
A pop-up space based on the idioms in the film and other CNY traditions is currently touring the country, starting in Shanghai, before heading to Shenzhen and Beijing and ending in Guangzhou just before the Chinese New Year. With plenty of photo opportunities and “check-in” spots, the immersive restaurant will also feature costumed actors of Ronald McDonald, Grimace, Hamburglar and Birdie the Early Bird. At the same time, some restaurants will be decorated with a CNY theme. On Weibo, China’s Twitter equivalent, the topic “Wish gold knocks on your door this year” (#祝你今年金拱门#) has gained 80 million views since launch.
The “今年祝你金拱门” campaign has made use of a phrase from UGC memes, “通往幸福的门是金拱门” (lit. the gateway to happiness is the golden arches/gold knocking on your door”). By incorporating online and offline elements, the multi-pronged and multiphase campaign captures the well-wishing spirits of the Chinese New Year, as well as childhood nostalgic IPs such as Shanghai Animation Film Studio of Havoc in Heaven fame as well as Japanese manga/anime character Doraemon, not to mention the McDonaldland characters offline.