The Best Chinese New Year Marketing Campaigns in 2018

Thu, 03/01/2018 - 16:23

Chinese New Year is a very busy time for both domestic and international brands. For some industries, like travel industry, for example, it starts as early as two or three months ahead. Clothing brands roll out their holiday campaigns a bit later, a few weeks before the festival. In order to draw customers attention, every year they must be more and more creative, especially because Chinese customers have become very demanding. Moreover, Chinese giants, like Alibaba or Tencent, have gone mad making up new ways to integrate offline and online shopping experience. It challenges marketers in and outside China. What were the best campaigns this year? Cherry summed them up for you.


Weibo campaign: Durex

Durex never disappoints! Sex is still not a topic anyone likes to talk about in public in China, but Durex have managed to advertise their products in a very tasteful and creative way. Their campaigns are smart, light-spirited and funny. For Thanksgiving, for example, they sent out 13 ‘letters’ to other brands engaging them in a conversation – netizens went crazy sharing the posts. Durex thanked Ikea for the perfect shape of their chairs – and Ikea responded “You’re welcome, see you in the evening!” with a mattress advert below (check more here).

Anyway, for the Chinese New Year’s campaign, Durex used a Chinese character “犬” which stands for a dog (as the year of the dog has just started). But can be also interpreted as “大一点” – here it means ”a bit bigger”. It’s a kind of a word game based on the double meaning of the character. It fits the brand’s products and makes most of the people smile. Well played, Durex, well played!


Cross-border marketing: Snickers + China Eastern Airlines

Snickers is another brand with a very strong brand positioning in China. Their campaigns, like “Sweep out your hunger, go back to your true self” or “Busy studying? Hunger, get out!” for example, proved to be very successful.

This year they focused on the annual new year travel rush. Every year billions of Chinese travel back home to celebrate Chinese New Year. Snicker’s campaign revolved around “preventing hunger” during the busy time. Their slogan was: “Your way back home may be very long, make sure you carry holiday purchases, not hunger!”. Watch the video here.


Video Ads: iPhone X "Three Minutes"

Apple launched another great Chinese New Year campaign. They certainly played on Chinese people’s emotions a bit. The video they released is all about family reunions, or rather about people that are not able to make it home for the most important Chinese holiday. It got over 400 million views on Youku and the WeChat article was read by 100,000 people over one night.

The video went viral not only because it appealed to people’s emotions, but also because it was beautifully shot – entirely with iPhone X.  It was a high-time for Apple’s come back. Last year was not the best time for the company as the iPhone X’s sales in China did not meet the company’s expectations. However, the video surely helped it gain some of the audience back and induced a sales boom.


Interactive campaign: Alipay’s Five Blessings

Alibaba’s team is really good at making up excuses for people to spend more money. Double Eleven, Double Twelve, New Year’s Shopping Festival (年货节)… But they just couldn’t stop with these ones. Three years ago Alipay launched a new feature within their app called “Five Blessings” that became a national sensation. Before New Year, users are supposed to scan any “福” (good fortune) character they see in order to collect unique cards. Five cards make a set. The more sets you collect, the bigger red envelope you get for Chinese New Year.

Although the feature has been criticized by many (people expected more generous rewards), no one can deny its popularity. It comes back to the Chinese tradition of sticking pieces of paper with “福” character on doors.


WeChat Mini-Program: Pupupula

Have you ever heard of Pupupula? Probably not. And neither did most of the Chinese. But it changed after they released their WeChat mini-program just in time for Chinese New Year. It allowed users to create their own family picture. It was free, simple and fun – WeChat users loved it and shared it on their Moments. Moreover, they rolled out special pet stickers. And if you use WeChat, you probably know its users are crazy about stickers. Chinese people often do not even need to use words, cause most of the times they have a perfect sticker to express the right emotions. Read more here.

It’s a great way to build brand awareness. It didn’t require a lot of resources, they just understood what WeChat users like and took full advantage of the knowledge.



Here are some takeaways from the above-mentioned marketing campaigns:

  • Graphic ads. Creating posters or any other kind of graphic ads referring in some way to Chinese traditions or festivals increase your chances of getting shared. And you don’t have to worry there are not enough occasions in China – Chinese New Year, Lantern Festival, Dragon Boats Festival, Labour Day wait to use their potential. Your creative, smart and funny graphics should be posted on Weibo or WeChat, for example. You may also engage KOLs into sharing your content or promote it via Weibo or WeChat ads.
  • Interaction. Chinese netizens and customers love being entertained. National festivals are a good time to launch interactive campaigns. It may be a WeChat mini-program, in-app feature, a game, live-streaming giveaway… Ask your audience to share your post, take and share a picture with your product (selfie recommended) – and reward them for the engagement, of course!
  • Cross-marketing. It’s a bit like a marriage – everyone expects to have ‘1+1>2’ results. It’s a great way to reach a new audience, maybe people you didn’t even expect to be interested in your brand. Also, cooperating with another brand may boost your creativity and give you more options than you have on your own.





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