Each year most international luxury brands will create marketing campaigns during the most important festival in China – the Chinese Spring Festival. The stereotypical “Chinese New Year” limited edition products always feature a bright red colour, which is the most used and overused, colour during this time of the year. The colour is usually also together with some random and odd animal design that bears little resemblance to the significance that animal-year has for Chinese culture. However, Valentino’s marketing campaign for the Year of Tiger sets a great example for other luxury brands to better fit in the Chinese market.
This year’s zodiac of Chinese New Year is the tiger, which symbolises strength, power, and prosperity. Inspired by the 1967 F/W Tiger Series, Valentino recreated its tiger pattern and used it in ready-to-wear, handbags and shoes with bright blue and pink to interpret the classical Valentino design with Chinese elements. Different from other luxury brands, Valentino finds a balance between catering to the need of the Chinese market and promoting its brand values, something that is essential to be successful in this lucrative market.
The other successful characteristic of Valentino’s Spring Festival campaign is reaching out to the young generation, especially Gen Z, and applying the brand values on social occasions. Valentino collaborated with a Chinese cartoonist and released a tiger gif series, as well as a digital red envelope cover on Wechat, which are fun and easy things for the young generation to use during the Spring Festival. Through the collaboration, the brand builds up a more approachable image for Chinese customers, even for those who are not big fans of trending fashion or luxury brands.
In addition, Valentino also created a video with four brand ambassadors wearing the tiger series on the theme of “Hu”, which is the Chinese pronunciation for “Tiger”. By repeating the “Hu” pronunciation again and again throughout the video, it becomes something that lingers in your mind for quite a while and begins to get consumers to associate the Year of the Tiger with Valentino’s new product line.
The reason why Valentino stands out in the Spring Festival’s campaign is the respect for the culture of the targeted customers, as well as the inheritance of its brand value. Instead of blindly entertaining Chinese customers, Valentino shows more creativity in considering the cultural and social perspective and as such, they have reaped the rewards. As more luxury brands want to actively engage in the Chinese market, how to tell their stories to the Chinese customers and let themselves be accepted becomes the most important thing to succeed in the market with 1.4 billion people.