Chinese New Year marketing competition has only heated up post-COVID-19, particularly in the beauty sector.
Luxury brands need to discern how conventional customs have evolved alongside societal changes, such as how drawing CNY predictions from the oracle has moved online.
Collaborations — like the one between Little Ondine and the toymaker Pop Mart — are a great way to grow online traffic and engage a wide range of consumers during CNY.
After COVID-19, the marketing competition during Chinese New Year has only become more fierce. And global fashion and beauty brands have been looking to tap into various cultural motifs and values to give their initiatives more authenticity and relevance with local audiences. Elsewhere during celebrations for the Year of Ox, homegrown brands have leveraged dynamic approaches that move beyond the color red or the zodiacs. Their special launches, which highlight traditional customs, collective memories, and marketing crossovers, have helped them develop a broader reach among young local shoppers.
Here, Jing Daily gives an overview of five brilliant CNY campaigns from C-beauty brands (one of the most creative sectors in China’s market) and analyzes how these local disruptors are navigating this traditional festival with modern twists.
In celebrating the Year of the Ox, Perfect Diary rolled out its “Home Is The Most Beautiful Chinese Color” campaign on January 14. Its special launch features a New Year’s gift box, which includes an eyeshadow palette collaboration with the Chinese edition of National Geographic. The campaign draws inspiration from a family reunion scenario at a siheyuan, a traditional courtyard house in Beijing. From tanghulu (sugar-coated haws) to lanterns, traditional designs can be seen on the packaging and the products themselves, evoking consumer memories during the occasion. Meanwhile, the brand also debuted video tutorials that showcase how to create looks with the newly-launched eye palette.
In addition to the product launch, Perfect Diary shared stories about the initiative’s objective and behind-the-scenes views shared via audiences on social platforms. “We look to reunite with our families this Chinese New Year more than ever since many schedules were disrupted by the COVID-19 outbreak last year,” said Fang Fang, the project director, in a campaign video. Instead of merely appropriating traditional cultural motifs such as the color red and cut-paper designs, Perfect Diary’s special launch added a touch of humanity to its product and story.
For this year’s CNY, Judydoll reinvented the brand’s signature makeup palettes by engaging consumers through a traditional festival practice: drawing lots to get new year’s predictions from the oracle. The three variations of packaging feature the auspicious sayings “I’m The Best,” “Crazy Cat Lazy and Dog Lover,” and “Love Me Now,” which represent good luck, happiness, and love, respectively (common resolutions for Chinese makeup lovers).
The traditional custom of drawing lots and praying for good prospects has developed from a physical practice during the lunar new year to virtual worship via social platforms. By leveraging this shift, the brand encourages Weibo users to share their New Year’s resolutions under its campaign posts. Then, the brand will give away complimentary special editions to lottery winners. As you can see, brands need to discern how conventional customs have evolved alongside changes in society.
Florasis (also known as Huaxizi) combined Chinese New Year with Valentine’s Day celebrations this year by rolling out its “Oriental Festival, Oriental Gifts” campaign. Standing out with its unique brand of “ancient Chinese style,” the brand keeps a consistent visual design by highlighting the color red throughout. Though it didn’t launch exclusive products, the campaign features Chinese New Year gifts, including handwritten couplets, red pockets, and calendars.
Meanwhile, a 15-second video starring brand ambassador Ju Jingyi was launched on February 7, garnering 69,500 views and 10,300 likes within two days. Meanwhile, the campaign hashtag #OrientalFestivalOrientalGifts has received 1.2 million views as of this publication.
Little Ondine (acquired by Perfect Diary last year) has teamed up with toymaker Pop Mart to debut a Chinese New Year gift box featuring the much-loved Bunny doll. The special launch features two hero products — a highlight platter and a matte lip satin — as well as an exclusive version of Orange Bunny dolls. The entire gift box is designed with a folding structure, which can be expanded three-dimensionally to become a “Bunny bathroom” for added playfulness.
Thanks to China’s blind box craze, the brand’s collaboration with Pop Mart received positive reactions on social platforms. The campaign hashtag #LittleOndinePopMart has garnered over 170 million views on Weibo, while the crossover gift box has sold over 1,000 sets on the brand’s Tmall flagship store. And although the CNY campaign does not involve any festival-related elements, it triggered massive online traffic and engaged a wide range of consumers thanks to Pop Mart’s fanbase.
Chioture used mahjong elements to roll out a gift box named Make A Killing, bringing consumers the blessing of financial success in the new year. In terms of packaging design, the brand partnered with flower subscription label Flowerplus to present Lunar New Year flowers that say “Happy New Year.” The capsule collection highlights the brand’s lipstick, matte lip glaze, eyeliner, and blush palettes with mahjong-like designs. And the colors, named 888, F888, D88, etc., draw inspiration from the number eight, which is lucky in the Chinese culture, as the number has a similar pronunciation as fa (which means wealth or fortune). This campaign showcases how brands can leverage mahjong by exploring the indigenous social and cultural meanings behind the game instead of just launching a gameboard or using superficial decorative elements.