BIG FASHION BRANDS TREAD CAREFULLY THIS LUNAR NEW YEAR
Prada has taken on a charitable project aimed at safeguarding tigers.
Several luxury brands, including Marni, Gucci, and Valentino, are launching capsule collections for the Year of the Tiger in China.
Gucci has reimagined the animal with various interpretations for its tiger collection launched in the country on January 14. The brand also used traditional Chinese art to create its palette. Some of the other brands releasing limited-edition products and themed collections include Louis Vuitton, Celine, and Pierpaolo Piccioli.
Why big brands need to tread carefully
The stakes are high for luxury brands wanting to expand in China. The country is on track to become the world's biggest luxury market by 2025, and the key is finding the right marketing messages that will resonate with Chinese consumers.
Due to the country's growing tolerance for tokenism and its fondness for online jokes, brands should be cautious about their marketing messages. China's government has also started to crack down on various industries, including gaming and tech. For that, high-profile brand ambassadors such as Zhao Wei, Fan Bingbing, and Viya are becoming increasingly difficult to rely on.
Getting involved in China is also a way for Western brands to connect with local consumers. Thus drive brand performance in the country into the high road. More luxury marketers are paying more attention to China's holiday calendar, including the Mid-Autumn Festival and Qixi (Chinese Valentine's Day).
Some luxury brands shifted their management's weight toward their China and APAC teams to avoid potential issues. For instance, Salvatore Ferragamo relied on local artists Sun Yuan and Peng Yu to create a unique print for its Tiger collection.
Prada also launched a contest for young artists to create their own interpretation of the tiger. The entries will be judged by a jury composed of artists Liu Ye, Goshka Macuga, and Lu Yang.
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What the big brands do to penetrate the Chinese market
The commercialization of ethnic traditions in the Lunar New Year has raised concerns within the Asian diaspora. Companies that profit from these cultures have faced increasing pressure to invest in the communities they operate in.
Some companies are starting to link their commercial campaigns to social responsibility initiatives. For instance, Prada is celebrating the Year of the Tiger without a capsule collection but is working on a campaign to raise awareness for safeguarding tigers.
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For its campaign, Bottega Veneta is taking over a portion of the Great Wall with a vibrant message made up of its signature green and tangerine. The company is also supporting the renovation of an award-winning community center in China.
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