08 Feb 2021

What do Chinese New Year marketing trends look like amid a pandemic?

PR pros across the region weigh in on consumer behaviour and new strategies during an unusual festive period of weariness and homesickness.

Chinese New Year this year will be more of a subdued affair as the region continues to battle the pandemic and manage movement restrictions. Usually, the festive period marks a wave of commerce and loud marketing, but we ask PR pros around the region what their CNY briefs and strategies look like this year.


'Client briefs have included themes of resilience and hope' — Choulyin Tan, Client Services Director, GO Communications

"Concluding a challenging 2020, client briefs this year have been predominantly centred around themes of resilience and hope due to the continuity of the pandemic. Our ideations and strategies largely unite brands with people through a variety of digital concepts in compliance with physical distancing and enforced travel restrictions. This is a major pivot in communications from previous campaigns which was mostly on-ground activations and open-houses.

With the current pandemic and unpredictability within the marketplace, most if not all of our campaign strategies revolving around CNY have been centred upon moving more towards digital and social media concepts rather than physical events. The industry in totality witnessed a big shift towards digitally-driven campaigns, whether via VR, AR, or through social-led activations. It's not just about utilising the tried and tested platforms such as Facebook or Instagram but rather doing things a little differently such as collaborating with streaming services like Spotify to reach relatively untapped audiences in unique ways.

This year, there's been a shift towards promoting a more health-conscious CNY celebration where consumers are encouraged to adhere to SOPs and maintain physical distancing while remaining socially connected via social platforms such as Zoom, Team, Meets, even via WhatsApp and Facebook. We see more and more companies embracing digital practices and using engagement as their brand's social currency. As more brands battle for share-of-voice in the digital arena, there seems to be a focus on incentivising user-generated content, of which consumers are more than happy to participate in due to the need to do something to get cabin fever out of their system."