For brands looking to develop stronger ties to Canada’s Chinese communities, the lunar New Year is an important holiday. Not only is it a prominent occasion among Chinese Canadians, but because it’s a season of gift-giving, there’s a commercial opportunity as well. Marketing took a look at the way major brands addressed this grown ethnic community.
As agencies looked for ways to naturally sync their clients’ branding to the colours and symbols of the occasion, some brands were able to leverage natural associations with the season while others had to overcome obstacles.
Niraj Sinha at Maple Diversity Communications encountered a fairly big obstacle when the agency developed a New Years print campaign for Bell Mobility. Bell’s brand colours are blue and white, and blue happens to have connotations with death and funerals in Chinese culture, explains Sinha.
“It was a creative challenge,” he said.
Luckily, Maple found a way forward. Bell Mobility was offering the Samsung S4 in an exclusive colour – red – a very auspicious colour in Chinese culture. “We featured the red Samsung very prominently,” says Sinha. “We tried to find a balance that still goes well with the occasion while Bell’s brand wasn’t compromised.”
Pepsi, on the other hand, has long been lucky during Chinese New Year. When its full name, Pepsi Cola, is written out in Chinese, it uses the same characters as a Chinese phrase that roughly translates as “hundreds of things can be happy,” says Albert Yue, president and CEO of Dyversity Communications, which counts Pepsi as its client.
Since this year is the Year of the Horse, car makers had a unique opportunity to exploit as well. Dyversity’s print ad for Hyundai showed an Elantra outpacing running horses.
Unlike the snack food work above, automakers have an intuitive connection to horses (i.e. horsepower, models such as Ford’s Mustang) that give them more fertile creative ground.