Celebrating Gong Xi Fa Cai with a Coke

Experiencing a surge in brand loyalty among Chinese Canadians, the brand expanded its presence at this year's celebrations.

The year of the goat came to a close on Sunday, signalled by the arrival of the second new moon after the winter solstice, and launching the qi of the fire monkey.

And with the arrival of the Chinese lunar new year comes a campaign from Coca-Cola that marks the beverage company’s biggest investment in targeting the Chinese-Canadian market during the festival.

Screen Shot 2016-02-08 at 3.09.46 pmThe multiplatform campaign is the first time Coca-Cola is running a Chinese-language commercial to mark Chinese New Year. Those ads, in Mandarin and Cantonese, are running on the Fairchild TV network until Feb. 17. In addition to the TV commercial, there are print ads running in Sing Tao and Ming Pao, which are popular Chinese newspapers and magazines. An extended digital display campaign will run on a number of Chinese-Canadian websites through Feb. 22.

McLaren McCann worked on creative and media planning for the campaign, with UM on buying, Mosaic on experiential for the event and LPI on POS development.

The focus of this year’s campaign was on maximizing brand presence and consumer engagement, says Shamus Qu, director of multicultural marketing at Coca-Cola. He says the media mix was optimised based on results from previous campaigns built around the Chinese New Year, with TV considered the most effective way to reach the campaign’s target customer. “Communicating our brand messages in the audience’s native language helps build better connections with our target consumers, particularly during this traditional Chinese festival.”

Following its new year campaigns in the previous two years, Qu says the company saw a significant increase in brand loyalty among Chinese Canadians.

One change this year was a shift in sponsorship from a Toronto-based event to one in Vancouver. Chinese-Canadians make up 19% of Vancouver’s population and 11% of Toronto’s population. This year the Fairchild TV-hosted-event saw the resurgence of the Share-a-Coke campaign and was hosted at Aberdeen Centre. Participants at the countdown party were able to get their name printed – in English or Chinese – on a mini can of Coca-Cola.

Qu says the company’s multicultural marketing strategy is not exclusive to the Chinese-Canadian community, while noting its size and the importance of the festival. “Chinese New Year, much like Christmas, is a special time of year for Coca-Cola to connect with our consumers and we have been continuing to expand our investment in the multicultural events that are important to so many Canadians.”

The campaign aims to create a sense of community and sharing around festival time. The 15-second TV spot, set against a backdrop of fire-crackers, shows the cutout of a family ringing in the new year around a table full of festival delicacies and a cake of Coke (and Sprite).

“When friends and family are sharing in special moments like gathering around the table for a holiday meal, Coca-Cola makes the moment that much more special and memorable,” says Qu.

The TV spot runs in Mandarin and Cantonese and print ads have simplified and traditional Chinese characters on them.