What makes a successful marketing campaign for Chinese New Year 2022?

This year, Chinese New Year will fall on February 1st 2022, with a seven-day public holiday and up to 16 days of celebration culminating with the beautiful Lantern Festival on the 15th of February. It’s one of the world’s biggest celebrations, with a sixth of the global population participating in the holiday festival with food, drink, gifts, celebrations and time with loved ones.

Opportunities for Western brands

For businesses, of course, Chinese New Year is a fantastic opportunity to boost sales. But there are broader brand benefits too, as this unique festive season gives businesses the chance to highlight their values and cultural awareness – as well as their commercial offerings.

Already, businesses are putting up decorations – whether physical or digital on their online storefronts – and distributing promos to get customers excited about special offers, competitions and deals. So what makes a successful marketing campaign for Chinese New Year? Let’s take a closer look:

1. Your design

We’ve talked before about how symbolic and contextual the Chinese culture is, and Chinese New Year is a fantastic opportunity to showcase your appreciation of this culture. 2022 is the year of the Tiger – the king of animals and symbolic of strength and bravery – so it helps to include this image in your marketing, along with other popular symbols as much as the Neko cat, dragon, lanterns and good luck gong.

As an example of this done well, Alipay uses AR technology to gift traditional red packets (Hong Bao) to customers and gamifies Hong Bao searches on the website to create a game that users can play with friends. Remember though – design must always be stylish and well-executed to impress discerning Chinese customers. Make your digital imagery – photos, videos, stickers, wallpapers, even celebration filters, of the highest quality to reflect your own brand’s credentials and to respect the Chinese love of luxury.

Equally, you may also want to consider adding plenty of red and gold elements to your digital channels – red is the colour of prosperity in China and it is ubiquitous for the festival. But use it tastefully and remember to include plenty of smiling people in your imagery (Burberry’s entire campaign fell flat when photographed Chinese celebrities as an unsmiling family group that Chinese customers found disturbing and ‘creepy’!)

2. Your competitions

Online contests can help to grow your audience, build your community and win new subscribers. Your brand will benefit from a specific Chinese New Year marketing campaign that gets plenty of likes, shares and comments – and which potentially includes user-generated content for maximum results.

As an example, Coca-Cola created a Chinese New Year campaign in 2019 that asked customers to share nominations for people who made them happy. The campaign was a huge hit, resulting in over 650,000 uploads, and helping to create that sense of happiness and warmth that Chinese people associate with the festival. Brands that can tap into the festival emotions of prosperity, love, happiness and hope can achieve real success at this time of year – building a great story and connection that aids future brand recall and builds trust.

3. Your culture

Talk about your own business and its values and people. The more you can humanise your brand, the easier it is for customers to connect with it and feel an affinity with what happens behind the scenes. We Are Social launched a campaign to share its work culture and team celebrations for Chinese New Year which was received extremely positively by customers.

Why not share gifts and surprises with your teams and partners at work and video the results to share! Why not also use this time to donate to charity or to support a cause, so that customers see your brand as one with values and a social purpose? The younger generation, in particular, wants to support brands that have a social conscience and that make a positive contribution to society, so really showcase your impact and values.

4. Your KOLs

Now is also a great time to work with your KOLs so that they can share warm, celebratory and positive messages to their audiences with a link to your brand – whether that’s sharing details of a special Chinese New Year product line, a competition or a special promotion for the season. KOLs and brand ambassadors can really bring your messages to life during this holiday season and build connection and trust with your target audience.

5. Your integration

Luxury Brands such as Gucci have experienced real success with Chinese New Marketing campaigns by shooting Gen Z-friendly, stylish campaigns that are integrated across digital platforms – with features such as WeChat content (including long-form articles) branded chat stickers, mini-program e-commerce channels, branded mobile wallpaper and even a holiday selfie filter that their ambassador, Chris Lee, leveraged via social platforms.

However you plan to deliver your Chinese New Year marketing campaign, make sure you integrate your channels and activities carefully for that seamless digital experience – and localise your content at every turn. More than one brand has launched an expensive and carefully crafted digital campaign for the holiday season, only to find that it fell flat because of poor translation or localisation efforts!

6. Your products

You may even want to create a special Chinese New Year product line or special release to celebrate with your customers! For example, the Leather Satchel Company has produced limited edition red leather satchels and Dior updated its Toile de Jouy pattern for the occasion, with red and white illustrated trees that reflected the traditional virtues of modesty, dignity and strength. Lego has even released limited-edition holiday feast sets! Consider too giftable and limited-edition products and extra touches such as complimentary holiday gift wrap and bags, or free samples.

Find out more

Keen to deliver an effective, rapid Chinese New Year marketing campaign that achieves your objectives and ROI? Contact Market Me China. Our team of digital Chinese marketing professionals works with Western brands across all sectors and industries to help them achieve Chinese marketing success in this vast, fast-paced and lucrative market.