Chinese New Year Campaigns to Ring in the Year of the Rooster

Before we jump into some awesome campaign ideas for this huge holiday, let’s take a quick cultural lesson on what Chinese New Year is all about. On January 28, 2017, it will be the Year of the Rooster. The Chinese New Year is based on the lunar calendar, which tracks time through the moon’s cycle and has been widely used in many cultures including India, Pakistan, Korea, Japan, Thailand, Vietnam, and Nepal, just to name a few. Chinese New Year is by far the Lunar New Year we hear about the most due to its rich cultural festivities and simply the large number of people celebrating it.

There are 12 different animals assigned to every new year which repeats every 12 years. Thus, everyone was born with an animal sign in their given year. Every animal sign is associated with different personality traits and predictions for their year, a concept similar to horoscopes. Some characteristics of the rooster personality are observant, hardworking, confident, courageous, talent, frank, and honest.

Here are some Chinese New Year traditions that you may want to integrate into your brand’s upcoming Chinese New Year campaign.

Chinese New Year Traditions

拜年:New year greetings are said to friends and family during the new year. Kids usually get red pockets after saying these greetings to elders.

春联, 对联,对子:Couplets are hung in front of doors with rhyming verses similar to New Year greetings to emphasize good fortune in the household.

年夜饭:Chinese New Year Dinner is when the whole family comes together to enjoy a large feast of food.

红包: Red Pockets or envelopes filled with money are given typically to the children from elders. Ever since this tradition became digitized, it has become a massive fintech integration in mobile technologies in China. During the 2016 Chinese New Year period, the average number of WeChat Red Pockets sent and received by each individual was 20, totaling over 8 billion transactions.

red pocket
饺子: Dumplings are made together with the whole family and the shape is similar to the Chinese inglot, which symbolizes the more you eat, the wealthier you’ll be in the new year.

汤圆: Rice cake balls in sweet soup is usually eaten as a dessert, and symbolizes wholeness of the family due to its round shape.

年糕: Rice cake is also eaten during the new year, as the pronunciation is a homonym to the characters of “higher year”.

春节晚会: Chinese New Year Spring Festival Gala is a more “modern” tradition for Chinese New Year. It is an annual entertainment program that runs from 8PM to 12:30AM featuring musicals, dance, singing, comedy, and drama segments. And though you’ll find viewers complaining about the show getting worse and worse every year, they will still watch it and discuss the show online and with family over the new year.


5 Chinese New Year Digital & Traditional Campaign Ideas

Red Pockets come in many forms, both digital and physical pockets. WeChat Red Pockets are by far the most popular, followed by Alipay Red Pockets. However, you can also go old school and hand out real red pockets with chocolate coins, promotions, or gifts inside.

eCommerce Promotional Sales designed around Chinese New Year is also a very strong strategy, as Chinese people will always buy gifts for their parents for the new year. A great digital integration is to build a campaign around Chinese eCommerce platforms such as T-mall, the Amazon of China.

Social Media is a great place to showcase your holiday spirit. Post about your internal team celebrations and temporarily change your branding to a Chinese New Year theme, such as your logo or mascot. That means red everything!

Integrating QR Codes are commonly overlooked in the western world, but you may be surprised to know that it is integrated into very popular platforms such as Facebook Messenger and Snapchat. The purpose of a QR code is to find a unique user or page as quickly as possible without going through a search function. QR codes have always been big in China, especially due to the complexity of the language itself when it comes to forming coherent, grammatically, and character correct sentences. Thus, the behavior of scanning QR codes is quite well adopted amongst Chinese audiences and is also a great way to measure offline to online marketing efforts, especially for mobile.


QR Code integrations are usually placed on print and used in platforms such as WeChat for obtaining a promotion or discount. The image below shows a banner ad where you can receive a free Coke after scanning the QR code.

Simply having your company recognize that this is a very big holiday for the Chinese community will give your brand lots of brownie points! An email campaign or social media post sharing some traditional Chinese New Year greetings should be the minimum for your campaign. Here are a few common greetings that you can share with your audience.

  • 新年快乐 – Happy New Year
  • 恭喜发财 – Congratulations on good fortune
  • 大吉大喜 – Lots of luck, lots of happiness

Read our previous post on the top online channels amplify your Chinese New Year campaigns.

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