Since our SunRice campaign launched during Lunar New Year, we’ve had lots of interest from clients and prospects. They’re particularly interested about IDENTITY Communication’s view on multicultural talent in creative.
I always start with this story…
“Box Hill is a well-known Chinese suburb. There are all Chinese billboards on the street and 9 out 10 are Asian faces. You see more international (non-Chinese) people in Shanghai than here” Weibo post.
It came up in branding work for a large retail client earlier this year. During the insight and discovery phase, this nugget unlocked a crucial insight that had us reassessing our recommendation. Surely, you’d expect Chinese in Australia to love being in an area that is predominantly Chinese, right?
In higher education, particularly in courses which Chinese international students are the predominant group enrolled, these students are finding that too much of a good thing might not be good after all. Some are craving more diversity in their class and express an interest to mix outside of their group to get a more authentic experience of Australia and Australian education.
That’s lead us to this insight:
Being lumped in with people like you all the time is comforting at first, but before long, you want to explore and experience more of Australia. After all, isn’t that why migrants and international students come to a sunburnt country?
But how should we treat these audiences in multicultural creative? Is it to make sure everyone is represented, like below?
But what if you miss one group? Awkward. And how do you avoid producing creatives that come across as tokenistic?
Take a look at NAB’s Life – More Than Money campaign above. A well told story that focuses on a universal truth. We all love and want success for our children, don’t we? So let’s tell that story from one perspective, in this case, it’s an Asian-Australian one.
The single-minded focus makes this creative more powerful, more compelling. It’s one of my favourite ads of recent years.
Context is important, too. Instead of being a United Nations of representation, bringing it back to what’s authentic and real.
The Rice Breaker, our campaign for SunRice, depicted a uniquely migrant experience of inviting your neighbour to dinner for the first time.
It’s real, it doesn’t feel tonkenistic.
Migrants don’t live in their own bubble so we should find ways to represent that in creative.
How does that compare with multicultural creative you’ve seen lately? Where does it fit in the tokenistic/cliche to authentic scale? Think about the Chinese New Year creative you’ve seen lately… red and gold, 8’s, papercut pigs, smiling Chinese family in traditional costume, much?
Oh, and make sure this more inclusive approach is reflected in your media investment. Your media plan should use all relevant touch points; a ‘mainstream’ channel like Out of Home might be just perfect to extend your campaign reach.
I’m glad IDENTITY’s work has inspired and stirred interest. Really looking forward to seeing great creative that genuinely reflects modern Australia.
Seen any other great work lately? Share it with us in the comments.
SunRice is discarding the usual cultural clichés this Chinese New Year with a new campaign that aims to create a more authentic portrayal of an Asian-Australian family.
The campaign depicts a new-migrant experience – hosting their Australian neighbours for dinner for the first time. The initial dinner table awkwardness is immediately overcome when a bowl of Sunrice arrives.
The spot positions SunRice as the ideal cultural “rice breaker” in the situation, launching to coincide with Chinese New Year.
“Chinese New Year is the biggest cultural occasion for the community, and we wanted to be there to celebrate this special occasion with them,” SunRice head of marketing Andrew Jeffrey said.
“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 MD Thang Ngo said: “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.
SunRice is celebrating Chinese New Year with a campaign via Identity Communications, Sydney, featuring 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’.
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.
“Chinese New Year is the biggest cultural occasion for the community, and we wanted to be there to celebrate this special occasion with them,” says Andrew Jeffrey, head of marketing at SunRice. “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. Says 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”.
Agency: Identity Communications 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 Managing Director: Thang Ngo Head of Studio: Tobias Young Client Services Director: Angelica Naranjo Production Coordinator: Murray Wallace Lead Developer: Dipak Sadaula
Production Company: Clockwork Film
Client: SunRice Head of Marketing & Insights: Andrew Jeffrey Senior Marketing Manager: Shannon Cumberlidge Brand Manager: Peta Thomas
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.
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.
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