Chinese New Year is based on the centuries old Chinese calendar, which is aligned with astronomical occurences. The actual date of the New Year is determined by when the second new moon after the winter solstice occurs. The Chinese calendar was and continues to be widely used in Asia and thus the term "Lunar New Year" is a way to be inclusive of everyone that celebrates it. Lunar New Year is the most significant holiday in Asia and brands have caught on. Every year we see an increase in the number of campaigns and products that represent the values of Lunar New Year. We've compiled our favorite campaigns from the Year of the Rooster below!
Levi’s® Chinese New Year 2017 Collection
Plenty of brands release special product lines for Chinese New Year but most if not all of them only release those collections in Asian countries. The Levi’s® 2017 Chinese New Year Collection stood out to us this year as this is their first time to make the products in the collection available outside of Asia. We also loved the campaign for the thought behind the choices in the collection (streetwear elements, patches, bold red, white, and black, and distressed denims) and creative (a music-themed photoshoot with Lunar New Year accents featuring popular Chinese artists Li Rong Hao and Dizzy). Levi Strauss & Co. explains their campaign as "grounded in consumer insight," focusing on youth culture and making the holiday fun again for younger generations. With the slogan "New Year, My Way," the resulting photos look fresh and exciting.
M·A·C Chinese New Year Collection
MAC is not new to Lunar New Year. Known for releasing limited edition collections for a wide variety of occasions, MAC has released a set of products specifically branded for Chinese New Year before. A consumer favorite is the collection for the Year of the Snake in 2013, with a snake skin pattern on top of their products. While not the only beauty brand to release limited edition CNY-branded products, what caught our eye was MAC's campaign creative that included a 30-second film. We liked the intense combination of traditional elements and dark high-fashion theme. Even though the shades in the collection were not new, the packaging's bold aesthetic worked in its simplicity.
Nordstrom - Happy Lunar New Year
Working with Westfield during the Lunar New Year season, we always encounter a lot of retail stores and love looking at their LNY displays. This year, Nordstrom was a definite stunner. They commissioned Beijing-based artist Niu Xiaosheng to illustrate a colorful Year of the Rooster themed artwork which they used in merchandising displays as well as print, OOH, and digital ads. The merchandising displays were eye-catching, made of customized dress forms in red, gold, and the key artwork.
NIKE Air Jordan 12 CNY
Nike is no stranger to celebrating Chinese New Year, having released a themed shoe every year since 2002 including a shoe for each of the animals of the zodiac. This year's CNY shoe is a special edition of the iconic Air Jordan 12 that made its first debut 20 years ago. Nike has taken it a few steps further by expanding the collection beyond just one shoe. A kids version of the Air Jordan 12 CNY in a slightly different colorway was revealed, too. Lastly, a jade inspired Air Force 1 called "Nai Ke Jade" was released exclusively in Asia first before the rest of the world, making it a special treat for fans abroad. We think that Nike has refined and simplified the Chinese New Year designs over the years, which has only made the shoes more covetable for sneakerheads and basketball fans alike.
Overwatch Year of the Rooster
Overwatch, a first person shooter video game from Blizzard Entertainment, has been critically acclaimed for its highly stylized design and immense breadth of characters. Blizzard has released "seasonal events" before, such as Summer Games for the Olympics and Winter Wonderland for the holidays, and for the Lunar New Year, players logged on to find themselves in Overwatch's "Year of the Rooster" celebrations (lasting from Jan. 24 - Feb. 13). Over 100 themed character skins and items were available to players, as well as other limited-time plays. As a special treat for fans, Blizzard also released a Lunar New Year-themed digital "tapestry" called "Winston's Journey to the West" featuring one of the characters. Winston, an intelligent gorilla, is depicted in the scrolling digital art book as a baby learning about Sun Wukong the Monkey King. We love the beautiful illustrations (by digital artist SHISHIO) and the simplicity of the execution, definitely an exciting treat for fans of the game (25 million registered users and counting)!
NBA Chinese New Year Celebration 2017
The NBA is aware of the universal love for basketball, having had their teams play a regular season game in London just last month. In an effort to bring the NBA to people around the world and in celebration of the Chinese New Year, games were broadcasted on ten networks across China for all 30 teams over 17 days for a whopping 60 games total. Back at home, four teams had special jerseys and seven teams had a Chinese New Year Celebration at their home arenas. For those of us without celebrations at home or themed jerseys, Stephen Curry, James Harden, Anthony Davis, and Jeremy Lin starred in "Secret Envelope" a live-action animated commercial, which involves the tradition of elders gifting red envelopes to the children of the family. 2017 marks the NBA's 6th annual Chinese New Year Celebration and we hope it continues to grow and expand in reach.
FENDI Happy Chinese New Year
Plenty of luxury brands release limited edition items for Lunar New Year, a sign of brands taking notice of the strong and growing purchasing power of Asian consumers around the world. Fendi created a capsule collection for the cultural holiday, combining the traditional lucky colors of bold red tones with their signature classic "Bag Bugs." The resulting collection is funky, celebratory, and uniquely sleek. Along with the release is a 45 second promo video that featured animated products with pop Chinese art elements. We loved Fendi's playful take on the Lunar New Year!
Panda Express - Celebrate CNY
Starting with their Celebrate CNY website from the previous years' campaign, the fast food chain continued in their goal to introduce and inform more people on the holiday. Aside from a dedicated website, they also collaborated with their beverage partner PepsiCo in creating an extended spot that showcases their 2017 theme of "Togetherness." "Meet Z," about a Chinese adoptee and her adoptive family learning and exploring new traditions, was touching and refreshing for us. As part of their collaboration, they also did a tie up with ABC sitcom "Fresh Off the Boat" in a series of in-store print ads as well as cameos of their branded "Know Your CNY" card game in the show's New year-themed episode! If all those exciting campaign elements were not enough, they also gave away free "Celebration Kits" when you order a Family Feast package in-store. Out of this year's Chinese New Year campaigns in the US market, Panda Express is on the top of out list.