Monkey King wreaks havoc again, this time with Luckin

Less than 6 months after its lacklustre collaboration with Starbucks, the animated film IP Havoc in Heaven (1961,1964) strikes again with leading Chinese coffee chain Luckin Coffee. However, this time the Monkey King is not the only draw. In fact, all thematic elements of the collab seem to be pulling in different directions with this campaign.

The co-branding with the beloved animated film adaptation of the early chapters of Journey to the West, depicts a younger Sun Wukong, or Monkey King, rebelling against the court of heaven. However, the co-branded beverage is a mix of latte (or americano) and beer with no more than 0.5% vol alcohol. It promises a coffee-y foam from the first sip, barley-y beer with the second and a nice mix when you gulp down the rest.

The third element of the team-up is the 2024 Paris Olympics. The Chinese name of the non-alcohol (sic) Beer Latte is “凯旋麦麦拿铁”, meaning “barley-y latte of triumph”, playing on both the sportsmanship and the Arc de Triomphe of Paris. The key visuals from the Luckin campaign mostly feature the Monkey King and one of the fairies on the heavenly court in archery attire aiming for triumph, as well as Wukong shapeshifting into Paris landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower and the aforementioned Arc.

It would seem non-alcoholic beer has been one of the new favourites this summer, as dairy giant Yili recently released their non-alcoholic milk beer. At the same time, with the Paris Olympics set to take place later this month, semi-competitor Heytea has already launched their Olympics campaign, with a local branch no less. 20th-century childhood nostalgia also works nearly every time, so it’s easy to see why these elements are chosen.

If we have to venture an educated guess on the internal logic of the Luckin x Monkey King collab, it is likely that since both Wukong and the Chinese athletes are embarking on a “journey to the West”, and you’ll need a drink when watching sports at night, preferably non-alcoholic, fizzy and full of caffeine, it becomes a natural conclusion that Luckin coffee would collaborate with Havoc in Heaven for a non-alcoholic beer coffee in the run-up to the Olympics.


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