For Australian and international brands, Chinese New Year is an exceedingly lucrative period to get closer to their Chinese audience. It is a time of unparalleled spending as consumers dine out, host extravagant banquets, buy new outfits, invest in new furnishings and exchange valuable gifts and hongbao (red envelopes). Yet, developing a Chinese New Year marketing campaign can be fraught with challenges.
Chinese New Year advertising campaigns have grown predictable over the years. It is not enough to simply produce red and gold assets and apply an image of that year’s zodiac animal. The increasingly sophisticated Chinese consumers are unamused by such designs, finding them tacky and gaudy. Furthermore, it demonstrates a fundamental lack of understanding on the part of the brand.
Still, Chinese New Year symbols should be employed in special-edition products and marketing campaigns. Chinese consumers value custom New Year items that are tastefully designed and show a deep respect for Chinese traditions and aesthetics.
2019: YEAR OF THE PIG
Zodiac symbols are often used in Chinese New Year marketing. When used improperly, their symbolism is misunderstood and can be embarrassing, and even damaging, to a brand.
Chinese New Year 2019 (February 5th) marks the Year of the Pig, the last animal in the Chinese zodiac. The pig symbolises wealth and prosperity. Individuals born under this zodiac are considered very fortunate. The pig is also a sign of fertility and virility – in fact, the character for “family” (家) is a pig under a roof. In ancient times, the pig was linked to bravery since men who hunted wild boar were considered particularly courageous. The ancient Chinese character for “brave” (敢) depicts a man catching a wild pig with his bare hands.
Nowadays the word “pig” is often used in a derogatory way with connotations of greed, laziness, and sloppiness. Marketers have a responsibility to be particularly careful when using this symbol in their marketing campaigns. Marketers should draw on the zodiac’s positive characteristics to avoid any negative stigma becoming attached to their brand.
China Social Solutions is a Melbourne-based leading digital performance marketing agency. Specialising in Chinese social media, its team of experts have unrivalled experience in the AU-China market. Connect with us for enquiries, world-class Chinese marketing solutions and everything in between. www.chinasocialsolutions.com or 1300 469 667.