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High-end brands welcome in Lunar New Year — but not everyone is convinced

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In China, a fresh round of Lunar New Year celebrations has begun, with Chinese people taking this opportunity to exchange thoughtful gifts with family and friends as per tradition.

Each Lunar New Year is represented by a different animal of the Chinese zodiac. The year, 10th February kicked off the Year of the Dragon, the most popular Chinese zodiac sign due to its associations with such positive attributes as power, strength, and fortune.

Many luxury brands have endeavoured to seize the moment by rolling out new products sporting the auspicious symbol of the dragon and adorned with red, a colour considered China’s luckiest.

Our team at the luxury brands marketing agency, Skywire London knows how important it is for businesses to tread carefully when venturing into foreign markets. 

However, as demonstrated by some examples we have set out below, not all brands’ efforts to weave Chinese motifs or references into their products and campaigns are always well-received, whether at this or any other time of year. 

Brands that got it right with their seasonal designs 

Any limited-time products that your brand brings out in a bid to capitalise on a widespread annual celebration should be sensitive to its traditions, while still preserving fundamentals of what already makes your product range appealing to consumers all over the world.

Brands recently taking this approach for Chinese New Year included Swatch, which released five dragon-themed watches, and The Peninsula Hong Kong hotel’s shop The Peninsular Boutique, which introduced gift boxes and hampers all taking stylistic cues from the dragon.

Be there or be square 

The British fashion house Burberry is famed for the iconic cheque pattern that has made it onto many of its expensive products. The company has now replicated this pattern in red and white, and got high-profile Chinese actors like Tang Wei and Chen Kun to show off the results.

This hasn’t prevented many netizens on the Chinese mainland from highlighting the pattern’s unfortunate similarity to that on laundry bags available at bargain prices online.

Shock horror at Bottega Veneta’s Intreccio Nappa Dragon

The Milan-based luxury fashion house Bottega Veneta has attracted much acclaim for its own Lunar New Year collection, with dragon shapes fused discreetly into detailing on handbags and jewellery. 

One item that didn’t go down quite as well, though, was the collection’s Intreccio Nappa Dragon ornament woven from surplus leather. One user of China’s Instagram-style social network Xiaohongshu opined that this emerald piece looked like “a dragon getting an electric shock”.

Apple unveils its own dragon — or is it a python?

The California-based tech giant has announced a Year of the Dragon MagSafe case for the iPhone 15 series. The case drew attention from mainland social media users, but not entirely for the right reasons — with the “dragon” supposedly depicted on the design actually featuring only four claws.

Traditionally, Chinese dragons have appeared with five claws — leading the topic “iPhone case dragon is actually a python” to trend on the Chinese social media site Weibo.

We at the luxury brands marketing agency Skywire London can help you reach out to overseas audiences in a manner respectful of their established culture, in support of your brand’s growth ambitions. To start discussing your marketing needs with our London-based digital, creative, and strategic experts, please feel free to complete and submit our online contact form.


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