Forget about the color red or tiger prints — tangerine is the color pattern for Bottega Veneta’s 2022 Chinese New Year campaign.
These days, traditional festival marketing is a hit-or-miss task for luxury players in China’s market. And as the end of January approaches, Chinese New Year 2022 — aka the Year of Tiger — is right around the corner. As such, CNY marketing rivalries are already heating up.
However, nailing the cultural tone of a CNY campaign has always been a pain point for global players, thanks to growing nationalist sentiments and the picky tastes of local consumers. And of the luxury brands that have already kicked off Chinese New Year campaigns, Bottega Veneta is the only one to take a bold step by getting rid of all typical cultural symbols and, instead, featuring a highly nuanced and localized perspective.
In a world of digital transformation, the Kering-owned house is a pioneer in the marketing arena, making loud moves by, ironically, going mute on social platforms. Bottega Veneta quit all social media in the West in January 2021 and, a month later, took its content off Weibo in China, maintaining a presence only on WeChat. It’s a strategy that also gets echoed in the brand’s latest CNY initiative.
With the unveiling of Bottega Veneta’s latest dedicated CNY project, Jing Daily explores how the Italian house incorporates cultural relevance while maintaining extreme brand consistency, as well as the secrets behind its unique communications and marketing strategy.
Bottega Veneta is a veteran of leveraging color, thanks to the house’s relaunch strategy under the helm of its former creative director Daniel Lee. And now, a vibrant bright green has become the label’s signature hue. It can be seen in the brand’s collections, packaging, and store decorating. But to celebrate this year’s CNY, the house selected a different recurring color from its wardrobe 03 collections: tangerine, the key color of this campaign.
Within traditional Chinese culture, tangerine connotes auspicious luck and wealth. Also, the pronunciation of orange is Cheng (成) in mandarin — the same as its word for “success.” Thus, tangerine carries similar implications of getting what you want. Along with its linguistic significance, the color naturally gets linked to vibrancy, happiness, and brightness, all of which align with the festival’s vibe.
Tangerine is the color pattern for Bottega Veneta’s 2022 Chinese New Year campaign (swipe left). Photo: Bottega Veneta
For this campaign and beyond, the house launched an online boutique — bathed in tangerine — through a WeChat Mini Program. And although it exited Weibo last year, the house still managed to engage netizens through alternative approaches. Social posts starring A-list celebrities such as INTO1-Mika, Jing Boran, Dong Sicheng, and Fu Jing have allowed the campaign to be exposed to broad online audiences.
What localization means for Bottega Veneta
Along with the launch of this exclusive collection, Bottega Veneta is taking over part of the Great Wall of China with an enormous digitally-screened public art installation. The artwork, which is on view from January 6 to 12, delivers a message that reads “新春快乐,” which translates to “Happy New Year” in English. The wish appears in shades of Bottega green and tangerine.
This special location for the installation is one of the most powerful images in Chinese heritage, embedded with national values and narratives. Given the wall’s unique and complex significance, the house has pledged a donation to support the maintenance and renovation of the Shanhai Pass (山海关), which is the starting point of the eastern end of the Great Wall and China’s easternmost stronghold (historically known as the First Pass Under Heaven).
This dedicated project, with a similar aspiration to house takeovers in cities ranging from Los Angeles to Bondi Beach in Sydney, explains Bottega Veneta’s take on localization. Within each regional market, the house does not patronize customers with preferences. Instead, it respects and celebrates these local indigenous cultures and heritages.
Similarly, the label rolled out its Bottega for Bottegas campaign in Italy amid the holiday season. Born out of a desire to share its love for Italian artisans and their craft, the house brought together a roster of “bottegas” (the Italian word for a studio or workshop) to take over its platforms — including its bricks-and-mortar boutiques, website, and advertising spaces.
Although these initiatives contained slight variations, they were highly consistent within different markets. And to make physical connections with local customers, Bottega Veneta’s celebration of CNY will be aided by a restaurant takeover in Shanghai between January 19 and 21, with exclusively curated menus that draw inspiration from the brand’s signature color.
Instead of following suit by appropriating zodiac animals, the house nimbly meshed its authentic interpretation of local cultures with the brand identity. In an age where each brand bets big on digital revolutions, the metaverse, and NFTs, Bottega Veneta wins the day by valuing the past that is molding our future.