Celebrating Mid-Autumn Festival in COVID times

This MultiConnexions blog was written by Yuxi Miao from the MultiConnexions creative team. Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as Autumn Moon Festival, is the second largest festival in most Asian countries (behind only Lunar New Year). This year, it falls on 21 September.

Because of its significance in Chinese culture, I never forget to celebrate Mid-Autumn Festival no matter where I am in the world. In preparation, I always make sure I have a box of my favourite mooncakes from the Chatswood Weekend Market. Yum!

Sadly, this year’s Mid-Autumn Festival will have to be celebrated differently due to the pandemic. It is a little disheartening to realise I cannot share this sweet time with my family in person especially because the festival traditionally celebrates reunions of families. And with many people separated from their families, reunions can only be done digitally, via social media.

However, I firmly believe this new way of celebrating also brings a lot of possibilities and opportunities. As a digital consumer, I know I will be purchasing mooncakes and other products online as gifts for my family. Like many fellow Chinese, I also keep a close eye on all the new promotional offers on my Chinese social media platforms – my expectation for brands is that they reach out to me with offers that matter to me.

The opportunity in Chinese social media platforms

Chinese social media such as WeChatXiaohongshu (also known as Little Red Book or RED) and Weibo, are effective communication tools and branding platforms that can increase and drive new traffic to well-prepared and culturally knowledgeable brands. It is more important than ever that Australian and international brands leverage these popular interactive channels to launch social campaigns and connect with Chinese audiences.

These platforms allow brands to open their in-app online shops from which consumers can directly purchase products. Brands can also launch themed WeChat campaigns via WeChat Mini Programs and official WeChat accounts to reach more audiences. According to the latest statistics by Business of Apps, in Q1 2021, WeChat had 1.24 billion active users and 3.2 million mini-programs on its platform, which transacted RMB 1.6 trillion in 2020, indicating the enormous revenue opportunity captured by these social media channels.

In Australia, we have more than 1.5 million active WeChat users and hence there is a great opportunity for Australian organisations to ensure brand presence and relevant offers for people like me.

It is a pressing time for marketers to rethink the way they engage with Chinese audiences on Chinese social media. I am pleased to present some intriguing social media campaigns celebrating the Moon Festival which I hope marketers can draw inspiration from.

Make audiences part of the campaign

Tory Burch, an American fashion label, launched a social campaign during the 2020 Mid-Autumn Festival on Weibo to invite audiences to share their heartfelt family stories online and earn a special Mid-Autumn festival gift. By touching upon the themes of family and togetherness which are symbolically important to the festival, audiences were able to connect more deeply with the brand due to their cultural understanding of the emotional attachment behind family reunions during Mid-Autumn, increasing their brand recognition in the process.

Targeting young consumers in the new digital era – have fun and think outside the box

Many young Chinese consumers are interested in brands and products that allow them to express themselves. The Mid-Autumn Festival is now not only associated with values and beliefs around ‘reunion’ but also regarded as a celebration of self-expression. Brands need to actively change their marketing strategies in response to this shift. Mooncakes are always in demand, but they are becoming more and more fashionable – with new and unique flavours.

The success of Häagen-Dazs ice cream mooncakes can be attributed to the brand’s bold marketing strategies from innovative product packaging and co-branding with trendy artists, to embracing the opportunities brought by new e-commerce retail. Through social media interaction and digital communication on Chinese social media, the brand has found what young people really admire during the Mid-Autumn Festival, stimulating their emotional resonance by presenting engaging and eye-catching social media campaigns.

Offer branded campaigns with more cultural elements

In collaboration with Chinese artist Oscar Wang, luxury brand Fendi released a cross-platform campaign featuring iconic and traditional Mid-Autumn Festival elements. These included the full moon, mooncakes and a panda called “FENDIDI” to present a tailored brand image to Chinese consumers with utmost sincerity. The brand also held a mooncake giveaway campaign as a way to celebrate the special occasion with its followers across digital platforms.

As a Chinese designer, I am looking forward to helping brands affiliate emotionally with people like me and other Chinese-speaking audiences in Australia during Autumn Moon 2021 and Lunar New Year 2022. These cultural moments have a special magic. Let us help you discover that magic!

Contact MultiConnexions today for more information about connecting with Chinese audiences or marketing during important Chinese festivals.

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