How Does Valentino’s Lunar New Year Campaign Stand Out In China?

Red, with prosperous associations in Chinese culture, is the key colorway for Valentino’s Lunar New Year 2023 campaign. The Italian house presents the Valentino Rosso Toile Iconographe capsule collection, encompassing essential wardrobe items and Valentino Garavani accessories.

Featuring the house’s Rosso color and Toile Iconographe – the new pattern of Valentino’s Iconic VLogo, the collection launched on December 26 at all boutiques in the Mainland, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau, as well as online channels including its official site, WeChat Mini program, Tmall and JD.com.

Colors have played a crucial role in Valentino’s communication strategy. Particularly effective was the house’s 2022 “Pink PP” campaign spotlighting the pink shade co-created by Valentino and the Pantone Color Institute. Making waves on Chinese social platforms, the impact of its dedicated takeover at Qinhuangdao’s Aranya district was especially powerful. 

Valentino continues with a similar approach for its Chinese New Year through leveraging color psychology. While the animal has been the most straightforward, popular element in the Year of the Rabbit marketing campaigns, the house chooses to highlight its iconic red shade in its visual assets and storytelling. How has the legacy house’s strategy paid off?

A marriage between house legacy and local traditions

This strong tone of red provokes powerful feelings. Since the Rosso color took the name of its creator in 1985, it has become an essential part of the brand narrative, a synonym of Valentino’s history and aesthetic identity – as documented in the Valentino Rosso book published in October 2022. As the legendary designer, founder Valentino Garavani explained, “For the Valentino Maison, red is not just a color. It is a non-fading mark, a logo, an iconic element of the brand, a value.” 

In Valentino’s Lunar New Year 2023 campaign, the iconic hue is interpreted in a local cultural context, bringing the emotions of festivity and reunion. A campaign film starring brand ambassador Sun Li and her sister Sun Yan, debuted on January 12, received millions of views on Weibo within one day, thanks to its exquisite direction and narrative.

Valentino’s brand ambassador Sun Li and her sister Sun Yan are casted in the CNY 2023 campaign. Photo: Courtesy of Valentino

The storyline of the film begins with a red string, indicating the Cat’s Cradle game rooted in the sisters’ childhood memories. The string also symbolizes youzi (游子) in Mandarin referring to people traveling far from their hometown. Filmed within traditional Chinese red architecture, the video honors family bonds and cultural heritage that holds great importance with Chinese audiences. 

Artistic activations from online to offline 

Along with the red hue, Valentino rolled out a series of online and offline initiatives with local artist Zhang Quan, who also helms homegrown brand Melting Sadness. The house incorporates the brand’s well-known animated character Karoro, a blue rabbit, onto its Toile Iconographe tote bag in Rosso red. Karoro figures are printed on virtual red envelopes and mobile wallpapers that can be accessed via Valentino’s WeChat Mini Program.

A physical large-scale installation featuring a 6-meter tall Karoro will be mounted at Shenzhen Bay MixC mall from January 15 to February 15. Karoro’s uplifting shades and illustrations appeal to China’s Gen Z. The special-edition public installation commissioned by Valentino will not only drive offline footprints but generate social media coverage. With this omni-channel approach, Valentino maximizes the engagement of collaboration and taps a local young demographic. 

Chinese artist Zhang Quan. Photo: Courtesy of Valentino

Valentino’s global initiatives have also made headlines. The house unveiled its largest ever exhibition, and first in the Middle East, titled “Forever Valentino” in Doha, Qatar this past October. Paying homage to the founder of the fashion house and its unfolding heritage of haute couture, the exhibition will likely welcome Chinese travelers as the country’s borders reopen this month.

With positive market forecasts due to China’s opening-up, upbeat energy and optimism are abuzz among luxury players. Through driving a brand image upgrade with emphasis on house legacy and localization, Valentino is poised to usher in a promising new year in the market.

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