Chinese New Year: Be prepared for The Water Rabbit!

Chinese New Year: Be prepared for The Water Rabbit!

It is time to turn your gaze from the Tiger and start to focus on the Rabbit. To be more specific, the “Water Rabbit”.

This year, the Chinese New Year CNY starts on January 22. The celebrations begins on the evening of the 21st and continues for another 15 days, but to be precise, the 22nd is the official start of the tradition that also is called “The Spring Festival”.

The start varies from year to year but it always falls on the first full moon in the period between January 21 and February 20.

The rabbit represents the zodiac animal of 2023. Image: Adobestock

Why a Water Rabbit, and what to expect from the Rabbit year 2023?

The Chinese lunar calendar is based on a cycle of twelve years where each year has its own animal. The rabbit is the fourth animal in order.

Each year is also connected to one of the five elements, water, earth, metal, wood, and fire. The different elements are just like the animals of the zodiac associated with certain characteristics.  The combination of animals and elements is believed to influence how the upcoming year will be formed.

According to Chinese astrology, the rabbit represents calm, patience, peace, and prosperity. The year 2023 is expected to be a year filled with hope and fortune, some people describe the rabbit as the “the happy rabbit”, or “lucky rabbit”.

If you are born in a Bunny year, you will have to wear something red every day through the year until the next animal enters the stage. Many people choose to wear a red bracelet or why not red underwear?

How is the Chinese New Year celebrated?

For many Chinese, the Chinese New Year means the longest vacation of the year, as the celebration begins with a 7-day long national holiday. The entire celebration includes various activities with family and friends, such as giving each other gifts, honor ancestors and much more. The elder and parents often gives money to the kids in a traditional red envelope.

The national holidays include a lot of traveling, people going home to their hometown, or taking the chance to travel abroad. This year is of course extra special as China, after a long strict covid lockdown, finally opens up to travel. Scrolling through social media, if not least Chinese social media, is flooded with pictures and videos of crowded trains and airport stations.

The entire celebration ends with a lantern festival. According to legend, the ancestor’s spirits flew aimlessly under the full moon. To guide the spirits, their relatives lightened lanterns and sent them up into the air. Another tradition is to light lanterns with different riddles for the children to solve.

Chinese red lantern in the night of Chinese New Year. Image: Adobestock

Let the Rabbit inspire your marketing strategy

Let’s look at the fun part, because we have to admit, the animal of the CNY invites to more creativity than “our” santa?

It’s every year very interesting to see how brands adapt their marketing. Last year, we saw very “cool” tiger inspired campaigns. Read NBH Tiger New Year special, here. This year we see more cute, humouristic, and nostalgic inspired campaigns.

The Chinese New Year is one of the world’s most celebrated holidays, and in recent years many western companies have adopted the tradition and adapted their marketing products based on the animal year.

Many of the designed products aren’t only for the Chinese market, these days China also inspires western trends. The Bunny has stretched its paws to the west, and replaced last year’s stripes.

To reach the Chinese market, cultural adaptation is fundamental. Whether if your business is within B2C or B2B, Chinese New Year is a great opportunity to reach your targeted audience, and show gratitude to your clients.

Why not send a gift, a greeting card, or add bunnies to your campaign and design?

We take a look at some examples!

In some industries within B2B, it can be a bit of a big investment to place a rabbit on its product. But paying attention to a holiday sometimes doesn’t have to be more difficult than posting and sharing a nice New Year’s card.

It is a simple way to show appreciation for its clients, and an understanding of Chinese culture.

Here are two examples of B2B company greeting cards posted on their official WeChat account, which displays their product and graphic design. Read the NBH WeChat Guide here.

WeChat CNY greeting card from our clients Absortech and Orkel

Turning to the B2C sector, Hugo Boss and Moschino take the lead in nostalgia and give the cartoon character Bugs Bunny a comeback.

Bugs Bunny Moschino. Image: Little Red Book Moschino account
Hugo Boss Bugs Bunny Campaign

Looking at the beauty products, the Japanese beauty brand SK-II created this cute design.

Beauty products from SK-II

The danish clothing brand Ganni, celebrates the CNY together with the designer and artist  Lǚ Wéntíng 吕文婷 who designed a Ganni bunny gift box containing a kaleidoscope, stickers, and red envelops.

Ganni is a great example of how you as a brand can be creative and celebrate the Chinese New Year with simpler means like this gift box.

Ganni collab with Chinese artist-designer Lu Wenting for CNY. Image: Ganni Little Red Book Account

Last but not least, scrolling on the social media platforms, such as Little Red Book or WeChat, is filled with “Bunny year” pictures, not only posts from companies but also lifestyle photos. Lifestyle photos such as bunny nails, bunny filters, and celebration activities.

Meaning, if China is an important market for you, then treat the CNY the same as the Christmas holiday.

To summarize, we entering 兔年 Tunian “Rabbit Year”, which hopefully will give us a calm and lucky year. Looking at “rabbit marketing strategies”, the Chinese new year clearly does not set any limit to creativity when adapting your marketing for China.