Australian brands look to bring home the bacon this Lunar New Year

With the biggest and most important festival to Chinese and other Asians coming up very soon, Australian brands looking to ‘bring home the bacon’ are delving deeper with strategic and targeted marketing initiatives.

In this MultiConnexions blog, MultiConnexions PR & Social Media Manager Katrina looks at what’s making LNY2019 extra special and how brands can get on board.

When is Lunar New Year 2019 and which zodiac is it this year?
Lunar New Year, sometimes called Chinese New Year or Spring Festival, falls on Tuesday 5 February this year.  Spring Festival goes from 5-15 February, although celebrations will typically run from 28 January 2019 up to 19 February 2019.

A zodiac system has existed in Chinese culture since the Qin dynasty, more than 2,000 years ago.

The 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac are rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog and pig.

This year, 2019, is the Year of the Pig – a symbol of luck, wealth and fortune. Those born in the year of the pig are said to be hard-working, peace-loving, truthful, generous and indulgent.

Who celebrates Lunar New Year?
Well over 1 billion people are expected to celebrate Lunar New Year around the world. People from China (Macao, Taiwan, Hong Kong) Korea, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia and around the world celebrate.

What traditions are associated with Lunar New Year?
Each day of the 15 days of celebrations has its own traditions, such as visiting in-laws or staying home to welcome good fortune. Families gather together for meals, especially for a feast on Lunar New Year’s Eve.

The number 8 is considered a particularly lucky number – especially around LNY – as it is read as ‘ba’ in Chinese and sounds very similar to the word for prosperity. The number 9 is also a lucky number as it sounds like the word for ‘everlasting’ meaning longevity.

What do Chinese people do to prepare for Lunar New Year?
As a very special time of year for many Chinese, it is only natural that they want to be with their family wherever they may be – so travel is very much on the cards for a good chunk of the population.

In fact this year, Chinese people are expected to make 3 billion trips during the epic 40-day Lunar New Year travel rush. The Chinese Rail Authority is expecting 390 million passengers for Lunar New Year. Between LNY2017 and LNY 2018, 8.8 per cent more people travelled, and this year that number is also expected to increase.

For those unable to be near their loved ones, daily communication is preferred – with a flurry of phone calls, video calls, texts and messages flying around. Close to 230 billion WeChat messages were sent by users last LNY.

What is a hongbao?
An important tradition for Lunar New Year is giving cash in a red envelope, called a ‘hongbao’, – especially to children and single adults (as well as companies gifting their staff).

In recent years, the gift-giving has gone digital. Between LNY2017 and LNY 2018, the number of digital red envelopes exchanged for LNY increased from 8 billion to 46.6 billion. In 2018, the number of WeChat users who either sent or received money topped 688 million in just 24 hours.

How can a brand get on board?
From tactical and engaging brand activations at well-attended Lunar New Year community events happening across the country to bespoke creative ad campaigns placed in Chinese media and KOL/ influencer events, the opportunities are endless.

A notable example of great PR is last year’s successful Lunar New Year activities by MultiConnexions client Telstra.

Telstra opened a 26-metre digital billboard for Lunar New Year messages. For a limited time, people could text their name and the name of a loved one to a special number set up for this purpose, and it appeared on the Telstra Discovery Store billboard on Bourke Street, Melbourne. Billboard pictures were posted widely on social media and shared across Australia and in other countries including China. There were around 20,000 messages exchanged during this promotion.

Telstra also held an iPhone promotion and promoted unlimited calls to standard international numbers in China and other countries, which worked very well given the uptick in calls as people call their relatives to stay in touch.

So what can we expect to see brands doing for the Year of the Pig? Leading Australian brands like Telstra are sure to unveil some exciting offers, incentives, promotions and activities to bring the magic of Lunar New Year alive for the rapidly growing Chinese and other Asian audiences in Australia.

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