How to mark the Mid-Autumn Festival in your Chinese marketing

One of the many things that differs about Chinese marketing is the sheer number of festivals in the Chinese calendar! These don’t simply represent an opportunity to celebrate with friends and family, they also mark important shopping opportunities for Chinese customers!

Now is a great time to start preparing for the Chinese Mid-Autumn festival, which is China’s second most important festival after the Chinese New Year. This year it falls on 12th September. This fun-filled, nostalgic festival is akin to Thanksgiving in the US in that it’s a family celebration with plenty of traditions. Some of the traditional ways that Chinese people celebrate this festival are by having family meals, eating moon cakes, making colourful lanterns and appreciating the full moon, which represents family.

Remember the importance of the mooncake!

While the festival is all about family and tradition, there are plenty of modern touches. Nostalgia is also important and many brands mark the Mid-Autumn Festival by offering mooncake gift boxes with their purchases. A good way to do this is by partnering with a local restaurant or food brand in the location that you serve so that your customers can redeem a voucher for a gift boxed mooncake.

A good case study here is when the Met Museum and Shanghai Museum partnered with Lyfen, the largest snack food retailer in China, to launch a themed series of mooncake boxes based on artefacts from each of the museums. These were released on the product debut platform of Little Black Box on Tmall and endorsed by Wang Yibo, the brand ambassador for Lyfen.

Fashion brands have followed suit. For example, Anna Sui Active collaborated with a two-Michelin starred restaurant in Shanghai, L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon, to launch a special mooncake box filled with six delectable fusion flavours. These were on offer alongside an Anna Sui-designed porcelain plate as a permanent souvenir, resonating strongly with Chinese customers who valued this degree of cultural awareness and careful marketing.

Starbucks also got in on the game with its own coffee-flavoured mooncake! Each was stamped with the Starbucks logo and the promotional Facebook post won over 20,000 engagements.

There are so many ways to incorporate mooncakes into your Chinese marketing for this festival, and with over a billion sold for the festival each year, they are big business in their own right. The big opportunities for brands here are in the beautiful designs of mooncake gift boxes and in exciting new flavours which are particularly appealing to a younger audience – chocolate, matcha tea and even seaweed are hot flavours for Gen Z, and additions such as probiotics, plant-based recipes and superfoods are gaining traction.

Look at a strategic crossover

Many Western brands have launched successful fashion and consumer good crossovers in China, which allows them to reinvigorate their brands, spark up social media and win new customers. Examples of these collabs include Supreme with Skittles, Dove with McCafe and Fila with Starbucks.

Embrace gamification

The Chinese love digital trends, gaming and quirks, so the Mid-Autumn Festival is a great time to gamify your website or app by offering some kind of free competition, game or perk. As an example, Kate Spade used WeChat to launch a flight game that released pretty festival lanterns, packed with well wishes, across the screen. This allowed everyone to share the branded lantern with family and friends and share positive emotions and well wishes.

Angry Birds, the legendary phone app game, also embraced the festival by replacing its usual golden eggs with beautiful golden mooncakes and creating 34 oriental-themed levels for players to progress through.

Remember environmental values

Some brands have taken a different angle and embraced their sustainability credentials for the holiday – something that the younger generation of Chinese customers is particularly passionate about. For example, New World Department Store China offered its customers a recycling scheme for mooncake boxes and gave away vouchers and gifts to customers that dropped in their used moon boxes for recycling. This campaign has run for a number of years and has gained the company extra sales through enhanced footfall, boosted its reputation and helped to position itself as a company that really cares about the environment.

Get the basics right

Some brands will go out with gamification, KOL hook-ups, customised mooncake boxes and Mid-Autumn Festival advertising campaigns that wish their customers well for the holiday, but others will keep things smaller and more personal. Thoughtful touches such as videos of thank you and well wishes to your customers, a special discount code or festival-themed wrapping paper can work very well. Social media content with beautiful themed images, wishes, and feelings of warmth and family values also works well – and this is an example of how you can delight customers without spending a large amount of your budget too. The key to success lies in really understanding your Chinese target audience and creating a campaign for the festival that meets their needs.

It’s equally important to ensure that the basics of your digital ecosystem are in place before you launch any special Chinese digital marketing campaign for Mid-Autumn festival. For example, ensure your website is optimised for Chinese visitors and localised for your audience. Consider how you will work with your KOL and which social media channels you are using.

Why use a Chinese digital marketing agency

The use of a Chinese marketing agency can be extremely powerful when it comes to your Chinese digital marketing success. Market Me China offers you a team of experienced Chinese digital marketing professionals with native language skills. Our team works flexibly with Western brands that operate in the travel, education, e-commerce, B2B  and other sectors, to help them achieve success in the huge, lucrative and extremely complex China market!

Contact Market Me China today

Whether you are new to marketing in China, are preparing for your first Mid-Autumn festival campaign or are experienced in the field and are simply looking for fresh ideas, we are here to help. We can help set up and optimise your digital channels, so please contact us in the first instance to discuss your needs.