- Oppo captures China’s love for the colour of red and splashes it onto its New Year Edition smartphone.
- Prada raises awareness of protecting the endangered species of tiger and biodiversity, in celebration of the Chinese New Year of Tiger.
- Vans teams up with a Chinese street artist to drop the New Year series Hungry Tiger, exploring the spirit of the animal.
While some brands might have just wrapped up campaigns for Christmas and New Year, there’s no time for a break for market players in China as the Lunar New Year (which falls on 1 February this year) is fast approaching. This is a date that both homegrown and international brands have long blocked out in their marketing calendar, as it is usually another profitable shopping season, as well as being the largest celebration in the Chinese calendar.
With the whole nation rushing to buy gifts for reunion occasions and rewarding themselves for the hard work in the past year, with generous spending during the week-long holiday, the Chinese New Year (aka Spring Festival) is also deemed to be more lucrative than any other western festivals. In a similar fashion to Singles Day, the largest shopping festival in the world, there is massive potential for domestic and international brands to leverage the celebrations.
As a result, brands are also doubling down efforts in their campaigns, so as not to miss out on the crucial race. When it comes to leveraging a Chinese festival, the culture behind it is always a key to an effective campaign, with international brands having to show a level of insight and understanding in order to effectively market. As the coming New Year celebrates the Chinese zodiac of the tiger, the animal has naturally become the protagonist of this year’s brands’ campaigns.
Here at Dao Insights, we bring you three Chinese New Year campaigns created by brands that are also key players in the smartphone, sportswear, and luxury industries in China. We analyse the touchpoints they adopted that have wowed savvy Chinese consumers, showing an intimate understanding of the cultural event, gaining significant revenue as a result.
Oppo launches Reno 7 New Year Edition in Velvet Red
You can’t go wrong by designing anything in red for your Chinese consumers during this important traditional occasion, as Chinese people have a special obsession with the colour of red. They believe it comes with good luck and would make you “red as a fire” (basically a compliment that Chinese use to describe someone who enjoys huge popularity).
The homegrown smartphone maker Oppo has certainly captured the Chinese love for red, and therefore, draped the colour into its New Year Edition Reno 7, reminding users of the year of the tiger with a small tiger logo etched on the back panel.
But of course, the brand understands that simply visual changes to the product is far from satisfying the young generation of Chinese consumers. Thus, here comes a limited edition of gift boxes featuring the same red colour. In collaboration with Zhi Yu Ji, a Chinese clothing brand specialising in the Han costume, the gift box contains a Han style outfit in Velvet Red and a tiger-shaped pillow.
Both items have skilfully tapped into the guochao trend, which sees China’s young consumers favour modern products infused with Chinese culture. While the tiger pillow is one of China’s traditional folk handicrafts, carrying good wishes for safety and longevity, the Han costume worn by people in the Han dynasty has been growing in popularity among today’s Chinese Gen Zs out of its elegant designs, and the guochao wave has also fuelled the enthusiasm for this nostalgic costume.
The small alteration to the regular Reno 7 variants, together with merchandise created from the collaboration, is clearly an exclusive offer to the Chinese market and has seen its fruit with many impressed with the new look. While the Han-style costume turns out to be another hook to those young consumers, showing Oppo’s knowledge of more than just the festival but the market in general.
Prada sends the call to protect tigers with its Chinese New Year campaign
Being an international player, the Italian luxury brand Prada is no stranger to Chinese traditions. As China is one of the biggest markets, that homes a large number of savvy luxury buyers, having a good understanding of the culture that those lucrative demographics are customed to is essential to the global label’s success in the Chinese market.
This year, however, instead of simply celebrating another festival, the brand has levelled up its New Year campaign by bringing the cause of protecting wildlife and biodiversity to the front. While leveraging the zodiac of the tiger, which is also one of the endangered species in China, to provide brand value via a good cause as well as pay respect to the Year of Tiger.
In the name of “Prada’s Action in the Year of Tiger”, the project aims to raise money for the “Walking with Tiger and Leopard” program that was initiated by the China Green Foundations. With the campaign as such being foremost good for the environment and animal welfare the act would naturally serve as brand value towards Prada. This has endeared consumers in China, who are also showing growing concern about the environment, and thus favour sustainable consumption which is another highlight of Prada’s design.
But the financial contribution is not the full story of Prada’s campaign. They have also been involved in part of the project for an artwork competition, in which the brand has invited art students under-30 from universities in China (as well as across the globe) to enter with their creations under the theme of the tiger.
With the competition bringing these young talents together to act for the environment, not only has Prada smartly got the ecological crisis call across but also got the opportunity to build up relationships with those young people; a consumer segment that many brands are keen to get more engagement with. By taking this internationally they have also managed to include others within the celebration and push their Chinese market-focused product line to a wider audience.
Vans’ Hungry Tiger series explores the “spirit of the tiger”
It’s been 10 years in a row that Vans has been bringing Chinese zodiac-related new drops around the Chinese New Year, in collaboration with local artists. This year, the American manufacturer of skateboarding shoes has continued its “tradition” but furthered the artistic license around the festival. With years of experience in curating campaigns for the Chinese festival, the international brand has gone beyond “packaging its products with tiger motifs” and rather decided to also look further into the spirit that the animal symbolises.
The new series, known as Hungry Tiger, is inspired by the artwork titled “Stay Hungry”, created by the young Chinese artist Chen Yingjie, who also goes by the name of Hutunan (which translates to “a man that paints”).
The post-90’s artist specialises in traditional Chinese ink painting but soon developed a unique Chinese graffiti style after completing his study in Singapore. Having been named one of ‘25 Contemporary Chinese Artists You Need to Know’ by the American Complex magazine, Chen’s work has also been well-received by young Chinese. Partnering with the artist, who captures the youth demographics attention, is a shrewd move showing a level of respect to Chinese culture.
Therefore, with this Chinese-born street artist delivering the spirits of being hungry for new challenges, and not afraid of breaking stigma with the courage carried by a tiger, the campaign has showcased the individuality and a sense of rebellion that the foreign brand withholds.
In the meantime, the contrast of the freestyle from graffiti and subtility from Chinese painting serves as a shortcut for Vans to connect with its target audience. As the products peppered with some oriental elements would provide the touchpoint to its Chinese consumers as well as blending the modern with the graffiti in order to bring about the concepts of individuality associated with the tiger.
We can see the precise and meticulous effort each of these brands has imparted when it comes to Chinese New Year, with respect and knowledge of the culture and history of the festival vital for appealing to consumers. Due to such shrewd movements within this space, each brand has been able to individualise their product range allowing them to stand out from the crowd and succeed within one of the largest shopping festivals globally.