As we move into the full swing of 2023, Lunar New Year celebrations big and small around the world are getting their first true outlet since pre-COVID. In keeping with an occasion centred around both reflection of what’s passed, as well as looking forward to the future, below we’ve outlined our favourite Lunar New Year-related brand activations and ask what they can tell us about the future of engagement between global brands and the cultural calendar.
PRADA: ‘MEMORIES OF BEAUTY’
Prada, Gucci, and Burberry – luxury fashion brands are already well-known for tapping into LNY as a key opportunity for brand activations. This year’s Prada campaign celebrates the year of the rabbit through a special collection made up of a mix of new exclusive items, as well as reworks of previous customer favourites – a subtle nod to LNY themes of both celebrating the new year, whilst reflecting on the past. The photographic campaign accompanying the collection also positions itself as an elegant homage to LNY. The images feature a range of Chinese celebrities wearing the collection, each pictured alongside an object of their choosing which is linked to their past.
HARRODS: LABELHOOD PARTNERSHIP
Although the luxury fashion world has a history of engagement with lunar new year on a global level and especially in Chinese markets, Harrods’ 2023 campaign represents its growing presence in Western markets as well. The partnership between the iconic London department store and LABELHOOD channels the essence of LNY celebrations – themes of reunion are celebrated through the pop-up space which is designed as a ‘Family Portrait Studio’, offering professional photography sessions for customers and their ‘chosen’ family. But this is not just about adopting Eastern traditions in a Western space. The LABELHOOD collection itself is a bold celebration of emerging Chinese designers – this is about using the LNY occasion to shift towards a more global outlook and branding strategy, and if Harrods is leading the way as one of the most traditional British brands, it’s likely we’ll see even more of this to come.
HEINEKEN’S TIGER BEER: ‘A BOLDER TOMORROW’
Tiger Beer have also marked the end of the Year of the Tiger with a bang, using LNY to make their mark with a film campaign centred around a ‘bolder’ and more carefree tomorrow. The flashy video campaign is a fresh take on LNY – it still uses the spirit of fresh beginnings and new starts whilst tapping into a young demographic and encouraging a move away from pure tradition and convention. As a wide-reaching global brand, Tiger Beer and the Heineken group are a great example not only of how LNY is branching out beyond the luxury fashion space but also how the occasion is being used to tie traditional human values – especially from the East – into modern and dynamic brand activations that face the future with energy and life.
So, those are our top picks for LNY brand activations this year. But what do they really say about the direction we’re moving when it comes to cultural engagement in the brand space? If anything, what these examples show us is that global cultural moments such as LNY provide a real opportunity for brands to not only make a mark, but even disrupt and extend their usual sales and marketing cycles. More diverse annual touchpoints means more chances for brands to get in front of consumers – LNY may only be the tip of the iceberg.