IPG’s Identity Breaks Stereotypes With SunRice Chinese New Year Campaign

IPG’s Identity Breaks Stereotypes With SunRice Chinese New Year Campaign

B&T Magazine, 4 February 2019

One of Australia’s most successful food companies, SunRice, is discarding the usual cultural clichés this Chinese New Year for a more authentic portrayal of an Asian-Australian family.

SunRice is launching a national campaign depicting a new-migrant experience – hosting their Australian neighbours for dinner for the first time.

The initial dinner table awkwardness is immediately overcome when a steaming bowl of SunRice arrives, proving that SunRice is the ideal cultural ‘rice breaker’.

SunRice head of marketing Andrew Jeffrey said: “Chinese New Year is the biggest cultural occasion for the community, and we wanted to be there to celebrate this special occasion with them.

“As a proud Australian brand, we want to show our Asian consumers that we understand the aspirations of modern Asian-Australian families.

“Our Asian family is proud of their heritage, but they are also eager to be part of the Australian community”.

The campaign creative was developed by multicultural communications agency, Identity.

Identity Communications managing director Thang Ngo:  “There are around one million Chinese speakers in Australia, making this audience highly attractive for brands.

“Just using red and gold colours or number 8’s in creative doesn’t cut-through anymore.

“It’s not new, doesn’t stand out and doesn’t demonstrate an understanding beyond cultural clichés.

“Brands need to demonstrate more sophistication and deeper understanding if they want to build an authentic connection with this valuable audience”.

The campaign will be rolled out on SBS TV and Chinese and Vietnamese channels including Pay TV, digital, print, Weibo and WeChat social media and bi-lingual out of home.



Client: SunRice

Head of Marketing & Insights: Andrew Jeffrey

Senior Marketing Manager: Shannon Cumberlidge

Brand Manager: Peta Thomas

Agency: Identity Communications

Managing Director: Thang Ngo

Head of Studio: Tobias Young

Creative Director: Yasmin Quemard

Art Director: Rachel Liang

Writers: Yasmin Quemard, Brenda Leung and Sean Zhu

Translation Management: Brenda Leung, Albert Han

Designer: Rachel Liang

Head of Strategy: Thang Ngo

Client Services Director: Angelica Naranjo

Production Coordinator: Murray Wallace

Lead Developer: Dipak Sadaula

Eat your way to a good fortune in the Year of the Pig

Eat your way to a good fortune in the Year of the Pig

The team at IDENTITY Communications, Australia’s largest multicultural marketing agency, has a few delicious suggestions for a lucky Year of the Pig in 2019.

the most important festival across Asia, Lunar New Year is celebrated in China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, Vietnam, Korea and thanks to the large Chinese diaspora, just about any Chinatown across the globe.

It’s a week-long public holiday in In China, when people head back to their home town to celebrate with family and friends, sparking the largest annual mass migration on Earth, some 385 million Chinese are expected travel during this period (below: image credit IBTimes UK).

The festival has many names, Chinese New Year, Lunar New Year, Spring Festival and Tet (Vietnam). Based on the lunar calendar, new year falls on a different day each year. The coming Year of the Pig starts on Tuesday, 5 February 2019.

Naturally, the New Year is about family and looking forward. It can be a time of great superstition, people act, eat and observe traditions to maximise luck, personally and professionally, for the coming year.  Dragon and lion dancing and fire crackers are popular for a good reason – the noise and vigorous movement are intended to ward off evil and bad luck.

Anything that happens during the first days of the new year will be repeated for the rest of the year. So naturally, the house is spotless before the first day of the year, quarrelling is avoided and given of gifts including money in red packets to younger generations is encouraged.

Everyone wants good luck in the new year in the three main areas of health, wealth and happiness – a common greeting for the New Year. 


  • Mandarin: gōng xǐ fā cái is the most common greeting “respectful wishes for your prosperity”
  • Cantonese: gong hey fat choy is the Cantonese equivalent
  • Vietnamese: chúc mừng năm mới
  • Korean: Saehae bok mani badeuseyo


For good luck in the new year, maybe you should try these 8 lucky foods:

  • Spring rolls, dumplings: are all about wealth, in addition to being delicious, their shapes resemble ancient Chinese gold ingots.
  • Fish: represents prosperity, as it sounds like “abundance” in Chinese, eat whole fish for wealth all year ’round.
  • Noodles: if you want long life, choose dishes with long strands of noodles, don’t cut them before you eat them otherwise you risk cutting short your life!
  • Whole chicken: including head and feet: is symbolic of family reunion, togetherness and happiness. Make sure the chicken is as “whole” as possible, including head and feet.
  • Tangerines, oranges: brings wealth as tangerine sounds like “luck” in Chinese, while orange sounds like “gold”.
  • Mut (candied fruit): is popular with Vietnamese, their sweetness brings a sweet life and candied seeds such as lotus bring family happiness through more children (“mut” is a Vietnamese word).
  • Watermelon: Vietnamese believe good luck comes to the household if a watermelon is cut during New Year and the inside is red, the darker the red, the greater the prosperity.
  • Ddukguk: this rice cake soup is traditionally served on New Year’s Day in Korea. Lunar New Year is a time when everyone has their birthday. Eating this soup celebrates getting a year older in Korean culture.

Wishing you a happy and successful Year of the Pig from the IDENTITY Communications team.

Top 5 Tips for Marketers during Chinese New Year 2019

Top 5 Tips for Marketers during Chinese New Year 2019

The Lunar New Year is celebrated by almost 1.5 million people in Australia. IDENTITY Communications, Australia’s largest multicultural marketing agency has 5 tips for marketers looking to cash in.

The Year of the Pig starts on Tuesday, 5 February 2019. Get ready for a sea of red and gold, paper cut pig icons, red packets, dragons, and gratuitous use of ‘8’ and ‘luck’ as marketers jostle for the lucrative Asian dollar. Examples of brands cashing in from last year include Chobani (above) and ANZ (below).

What’s wrong with red and gold?

It wouldn’t be in the festive spirit to deride these attempts as bad example of multicultural marketing. Overwhelmingly, ‘red and gold’  has been the approach of marketers and their multicultural agencies over the years. So basically everyone had done it to some degree.

It isn’t the wrong thing to do, but there are drawbacks, which has been best articulated by Alain de Botton.

“The problem with cliches is not that they contain false ideas, but rather that they are superficial articulations of very good ones” Alain de Botton.

5 ways to avoid being superficial in Chinese New Year marketing.

1. Demonstrate cultural understanding rather repeat cliches

Coca-Cola’s approach in 2017 was to put family reunion front and centre rather than default to the road often travelled of new year cliches. Apart from red, which is Coke’s corporate colour, the usual festive cliches have been dialed down.

2. Be confident to stand out

Can a brand win the hearts and minds (and wallets) of their customers without resorting to cliches or even promoting their brand. Against the sea of red and gold, Pokka, Singapore’s number one ready to drink tea beverage brand takes us back to what’s important during the new year, without gratuitous product placement.

3. Inject your brand into the Chinese New Year season

Apple highlights their phone’s product benefits in Chinese New Year commercials. Three Minutes, a Chinese New Year short film was shot on an iPhone X by director, Peter Chan. The tactic showcases iPhone X’s high quality video capabilities via Chinese New Year.

Vodafone’s unlimited calls to China for Chinese New Year campaign compared the ‘unlimited’ promotion feature with the seemingly unending Great Wall of China.

Disclosure: I worked on this Vodafone campaign at a previous multicultural marketing agency.

4. Don’t try to out-Chinese the Chinese

In all of the examples above, the brands weren’t trying to dial up cliches to demonstrate understanding. If you’re marketing to Australian-Chinese, it’s also important to recognise these migrants have come to Australia for a better life. Demonstrating this might take you further than repeating cliches.

While not a Chinese New Year campaign, IDENTITY’s TVC for client, SunRice reflects the the migrant experience – what could be a more uniquely Australian-Chinese experience than having your Australian neighbours over for dinner for the first time? SunRice has effectively claimed the territory of bringing their customers the best of both worlds, a point of difference their competitors can’t compete with.

5. Be inclusive

The Lunar New Year is celebrated by those in China as well as Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, Vietnam and Korea. The festive season is about reunion and inclusiveness, so marketers should also remember to include all cultures celebrating the Lunar New Year.

Brand should use the inclusive term of ‘Lunar New Year’ rather than making it just about China.

Vietnamese celebrate this festival also, they call it ‘Tet’. The commercial above by food brand Knorr for Tet in 2017 appeals to parents who yearn for their children to celebrate tradition in the face of encroaching Western culture. When their children asks for Pizza to celebrate the New Year, mum cleverly gets the family cooking banh chung, a traditional Tet food.

Cracking a $32b Consumer Segment

Cracking a $32b Consumer Segment

Sean Zhu, Identity Communication’s business analyst shines a spotlight on a potential audience that’s worth $32b. 

If you’re a marketer, I can recommend a group in Australia that is over 626,000 in size and contributes $32 billion to the Australian economy. They’re easy to reach as they’re concentrated in major cities. They’re young, most are between 18-26 years of age, are tech savvy, enjoy entertainment and travelling and embrace new experiences. They should be a marketer’s dream. But this group maintains a strong connection with the homeland and homeland media channels, so your ‘mainstream’ media may not get through to this large and lucrative group.

You’ve probably guessed, they’re International Students, a potential multicultural marketing segment for Australian brands.

International Student

The numbers are up….

International Student enrolment includes those studying in the Higher Education, VET, Secondary Schooling, English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS).

In 2017, there were 796,529 enrolments. This represents a 12% increase on 2016 and compares with an average annual enrolments growth rate of 4% per year over the preceding ten years.

Higher education a greater contributor

44% of international enrolments in 2017 are in higher education and 27% in vocational education (VET) out of the total number, with China and India being the two largest contributing countries.

VET: The VET sector accounted for 27.2% of total enrolments, India contributed the largest share of in the sector. China was the next largest source country followed by the Republic of Korea and Thailand.3

ELICOS: The English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS) sector accounted for 19.4% of total enrollments in 2017. China was the largest ELICOS market followed by Brazil, Colombia and Thailand.

Higher education: The higher education sector had the largest share in 2017. China and India accounted for 53% of enrolment.
The larger proportion of Higher education means two things:
– Longer time spent in Australia which brings more opportunities for brands
– But they maintain their home networks including social channels, knowing they will return

Tuition Fees
International Students are not eligible for most of the scholarships or student loans and need to pay each semester in advance. Typically, the costs are:

  • ELICOS: $250 – $350 per week, 10-60 weeks
  • VET: $1,000- $20,000 depends on the degree and institution
  • Higher education: The average tuition fee for undergraduate students is around $29,000 per year; Master’s degree ranges from $20,000 to $37,000.
    For example, an International Student studying a Bachelor degree of Marketing and Media (3 years full time) in Macquarie University, the estimated annual fee is $36,450. These fees tend to increase each year.

Geographically concentrated on NSW & VIC

NSW and VIC is home to nearly 70% of international students. And in NSW and VIC, International Students make up one in three students at many universities.


  • This is a young group of consumers, perfect for entertainment, travel, banking, FMCG, food & beverage and beauty brands
  • Reach these audiences via their preferred channels, such as WeChat, Weibo, YouKu, to name a few
Hong Kong’s neon signs might be fading but not my memory of them…

Hong Kong’s neon signs might be fading but not my memory of them…

IDENTITY Communications might be the intelligent multicultural marketing agency, but our team also has heart. As Hong Kong’s neon lights fade, Brenda Leung, IDENTITY’s Insights Manager reflects on her childhood memories of the Pearl of the Orient.

One of my most vivid childhood memories is of evenings at Victoria Peak, Hong Kong Island with my family. Hong Kong at night is breathtaking. Looking down to Victoria Harbour, all my attention was captured by the vibrant, warm and inviting hue of Hong Kong’s iconic neon lights – glowing and blinking on skyscrapers that reflected on the harbour. It is this view that leaves a lasting impression for the 27m overnight tourists who visit Hong Kong every year. It is this view that gives Hong Kong its nickname of the “Pearl of the Orient”.

Hong Kong neon

Walking through the city of Hong Kong, the city’s lights are spectacular. Neon’s brilliant blaze has always been used by businesses to attract customers. Big neon light boards are found on the façade of commercial buildings, department stores, shopping centres, restaurants, clubs, with those colourful lights shining, sparkling and twinkling into people’s eyes. It is a city that embraces neon. I have no idea who made those neon lights and how they are made, but they are definitely the representative of the dynamic, bustling, fast pacing and never stopping lifestyle of Hong Kong. There is so much ambient light that you can even read a book at 2am if you sit by the window of an apartment in Mongkok, Tsimshatsui or Wanchai.

Hong Kong

The neon lights in Hong Kong also mark the beginning of the fun of its exciting nightlife, where retailers open until midnight and restaurants until the early hours of the morning. Other than the nickname of “Pearl of the Orient”, Hong Kong is also known as “Shoppers’ Paradise” because the shops stay open until late, with the purpose of entertaining the residents and tourists alike. When you have finished a movie at 1am, you can still make your way to a nice eatery where you can stuff your belly to recharge for the next day. Hong Kong is truly a city that never gets dark or comes to a stop.

Hong Kong

Light is an important part in celebrations in Hong Kong. Occasions or festivals like Chinese New Year, Hong Kong Establishment Day and Chinese National Day are times to celebrate with fireworks. Breathtaking fireworks glow over the Harbour with crowds of people lining the harbour on both sides to witness the spectacular display.

I read that recently, Hong Kong has shifted from neon lights to LED for cost effectiveness, safety and other technical reasons (watch the video above for the full explanation). That’s a shame, neon lights can be handcrafted to create different shapes and unique characters. When compared with LED, neons are brighter, glow with a larger variety of colours to help sign boards stand out.

Whatever happens to the lights of Hong Kong, in my heart nothing will stop the vitality of the city I love. In my heart, Hong Kong will still always be a city of energy and intense lights, and its sparkle is eternally vibrant.