Brand Marketing Brand Opportunities Chinese Consumer Behavior

2 Key Chinese Festivals During the Summer Marketers Should Not Overlook

One of the most crucial elements in winning Chinese marketing strategies is to plan your campaigns with the key dates in mind. Besides universal traditions like Mother’s or Father’s Day, Christmas, and New Year, Chinese have many of their own cultural festivals and shopping holidays. These are great opportunities for brands to run campaigns to elevate their brand affinity for the Chinese consumers and stay top-of-mind.

We have talked about 2 important Chinese shopping holidays in June before in our other blogs, they are International Children’s Day and the 618 Shopping Festival. Chinese shoppers respond well to sales and special promotions. Shopping festivals are great opportunities for brands and retailers to drive sales, lots of brands have been leveraging these key timings to run campaigns for the best results.

In this blog, we would like to introduce another 2 noteworthy Chinese festivals marketers can take advantage of for their summer campaign plans.

Dragon Boat Festival (June 3, 2022)
A terrific starting point for targeting Chinese consumers this summer

The renowned Dragon Boat Festival (端午节 Duānwǔ Jié) is on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month. In 2022, Dragon Boat Festival falls on June 3. People in China will have 3 days of public holiday from June 3 to June 5.

The festival commemorates the death of Qu Yuan (屈原), a Chinese poet in ancient China known for his patriotism and contributions to classical poetry and who eventually became a national hero by drowning himself in the Miluo River to protest the government. To save him, boats raced to his rescue but were too late. When people could not find his body, they threw rice into the river to lure the fish away. 

That was how Dragon-boat racing and eating rice dumplings (粽子Zongzi), a treat made of rice wrapped in bamboo leaves, originated as the most iconic activity during the Dragon Boat Festival

In modern China and around the world, the Dragon Boat Festival is marked by races where wooden boats are decorated to resemble Chinese dragons.

Traditions become precious when they become the only links to one’s historical heritage, especially for Chinese overseas. That is the reason why Dragon Boat Festival is now a global festival, celebrated on all five continents. In many cities of North America like New York, Toronto, and Vancouver, there are different large scale dragon boat races held every year to celebrate the festival with the Chinese community.

From the old days until now, Dragon Boat Festival is also a time when families gather for a meal like Chinese New Year and eating zongzi. So, lots of snack and beverage brands incorporate dragon boats or zongzi imagery onto special packaging which can be used for gifting. Starbucks, for example, has long celebrated the Dragon Boat Festival in China, producing a range of foods and merchandise.

Incorporating traditional Chinese culture into your marketing mix will help your brand create a strong connection with the Chinese consumers. It is also good timing for special offers in celebration of this day as Chinese shoppers usually respond well to sales and special promotions.

Examples of Brands taking advantage of the Dragon Boat Festival to connect to Chinese Consumers

Auto brands like Mercedes, Buick, BMW, and Subaru have run advertising campaigns during Dragon Boat Festival. They have wisely included dragon boats and zongzi in the creatives to deliver a strong resonance with the Chinese audience:

CPG brands like Listerine also take advantage of the festival to deliver a greeting message to the Chinese consumers by reaching them through their favorite Chinese websites and mobile platforms:

Qixi Festival (Aug 4, 2022)
Traditional Chinese Valentine’s Day has immerged into a big marketing opportunity

Did you know that China has its own Valentine’s Day? Actually, more than one. We have talked about 520 before in our blog. Here we would like to tell you about the most traditional one.

Qixi Festival (七夕节qīxījié), also known as Double Seventh Festival, is on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month. In 2022, the festival falls on Aug 4. Although it is not an official holiday in China, it is very widely celebrated in China and by Chinese all over the world.

The festival commemorates the bittersweet love of the Cowherd (牛郎 Niú Láng) and Weaver Girl (织女 Zhī Nü) back in the Han Dynasty. According to Chinese myth, seven goddesses who lived in heaven secretly ventured to the mortal world one night to do some exploring. The seven sisters were bathing together in a lake when a nearby Cowherd spotted one of the goddesses. It was love at first sight for the two, and she stayed behind in the mortal world, married the Cowherd, and bear two children.

A graffiti wall was unveiled on Shanghai's popular “Sweet Love Road” for Qixi Festival Photo: shanghai_daily Instagram

But for a goddess to marry a mortal man was against the rule, the Goddess of Heaven immediately ordered Weaver Girl to return to Heaven and resume her weaving duties. Weaver Girl had no choice but to obey and leave the Cowherd and the kids, heartbroken. They were allowed to be reunited only once a year, on the 7th day of the 7th lunar month – the day was later called the Qixi Festival.

In the hearts of generations of Chinese people, romance has come to represent the power of true love in overcoming great odds.

Although the western Valentine’s Day on Feb. 14 prevails in China for years, Chinese people attach more to Qixi, their own Valentine’s Day. Lovers and couples exchange gifts on this day, and youngsters like to join traditional activities in ancient Chinese costumes, too.

Qixi has grown to become one of the most important giftings (and shopping) festivals for the Chinese and seen increasing commercialization over the years, with luxury brands doubling up on their digital marketing efforts to boost their online sales during this period. Ahead of the holiday, retailers promote sales of goods such as flowers and chocolates. Many luxury brands have also capitalized on the festival to release limited-edition collections in the Chinese market.

Marketers should definitely consider integrating buzz-generating Chinese campaigns in their marketing strategies, ahead of the competitors, this summer.

Examples of Brands taking advantage of Qixi Festival to connect to Chinese Consumers

The festival provides us with more opportunities for marketing and storytelling for the brands to stand out. Lots of brands even have their Qixi special collection to attract Chinese consumers’ attention.

Louis Vuitton launched their “Fall in Love” special collection that featured heart-shaped red prints on the house’s iconic Dauphine, Petit Sac Plat, and Onthego handbags. By collaborating with three Chinese female celebrities, the brand chose to focus on women’s clothes, handbags, sneakers, and accessories for Qixi as the best gifts.

Brands like Balenciaga, Christian Dior, and Lancôme also carry Qixi special items. They have wisely launched different Chinese advertising and social media campaigns to promote these items through this biggest gifting season for lovers in the Chinese consumer’s market.

In Canada, Holt Renfrew launched a WeChat campaign to target local Chinese consumers for Qixi Festival. They had a series of promotions for the festival and a live streaming sales event with valentine’s gifts by brands like Dior, Fendi, and Gucci.

What Next?

If you have a creative idea in mind to speak to the Chinese Audience, it is also especially important to find the correct touch points to convey your message and the best time to run your campaign.

Chinese Immigrants to North America are more likely to retain the same consumer values and behavior as well as media usage habits from their home country before they are completely acculturated.

Eastward Media is a Chinese Digital Marketing agency that specializes in helping media planers and brands target Chinese audiences in North America through different powerful Chinese Digital Marketing strategies like programmatic advertising and Chinese social media marketing.

Contact us today to have a discussion with one of our specialists and get the complete calendar of Chinese festivals.

Interested in learning more? Connect with us today.

Chinese Marketing