Brands cashing in on Year of the Rat, 2020.

Brands cashing in on Year of the Rat, 2020.

 IDENTITY Communications previews some limited edition Year of the Rat goodies that could be yours in 2020.

The global luxury-goods market will grow to US$386 billion by 2025 and Chinese consumers will account for 44 percent of that market. It’s no wonder Western brands are looking to leverage every cultural occassion to turn them into profit.

There is no bigger cultural occassion for Chinese than their new year. A week long public holiday, sparking the world’s biggest human migration with over 3 billion trips taken in China. Last year, some 413 million people travelled by rail and 73 million passengers travelled by air.

Source: The Guardian

The year of the rat starts on 25 January 2020.

The rat is a cunning creature. To determine the order of the 12 Chinese zodiac animals, the Jade Emperor asked them to race. The Rat became the first animal in the zodiac by tricking the Ox into giving it a ride. Just as they arrived at the finish line, Rat jumped off and crossed first.

Rats are seen as a sign of wealth and surplus. Because of their reproduction rate, it’s a good year to pray for children.

But back to commerce. To celebrate the coming Year of the Rat, Western brands are releasing themed merchandise – some aren’t cheap.

This cool Chopard watch will set you back $US24,600. “Chopard is once again honouring Asian traditions by calling on the ancestral Japanese art of Urushi to create the dial of the L.U.C XP Urushi Year of the Rat timepiece. This work of art highlights the theme of the next zodiac sign in the traditional Chinese calendar: the Rat, renowned for its intelligence and perspicacity. Each of the watches in this refined and powerfully symbolic 88-piece limited edition crafted in 18k rose gold is powered by an ultra-thin movement produced in the Chopard Manufacture workshops: the L.U.C 96.17-L caliber”, according to their website.

Gucci collaborated with Disney for their Year of the Rat collection, headlined by Mickey Mouse. The Disney x Gucci GG Marmont medium shoulder bag could be yours for $US2,980.

These uber cool Gucci x Disney kickers can be had for a relatively more modest AU$1,370. Well, what are you waiting for?

Gucci Ace sneaker

 

Holy red and gold lanterns! For the man who has everything, how about a box of Davidoff Year of the Rat cigars? 

Davidoff Year of the Rat cigar

More affordable is a Swatch Rat watch that comes in a cheesy gold and red box (US$100).

Davidoff Year of the Rat cigar

While the Chinese market has been lucrative for many brands, recent times have seen some notable missteps, ranging from alleged cultural insensitivity (Dolce & Gabbana) to offending China’s sovereignty, particularly recognition of Taiwan (Versace, Swarovski, Coach, Calvin Klein, Audi, Marriott Hotels, Qantas, Air France, British Airways) and of course, being seen as supporting the current the Hong Kong protests (Tiffany & Co, NBA).

Lots of opportunties in China and some cultural pitfalls.

Thang Ngo is managing director or IDENTITY Communications,  Australia’s largest multicultural marketing agency.

 

 

SunRice and Identity Win NSW Premier’s Award for Multicultural Communications

SunRice and Identity Win NSW Premier’s Award for Multicultural Communications

Campaign Brief, 6 December 2019 

SunRice and Identity Communications, the multicultural communications division of IPG Mediabrands, have won the Business Campaign of the Year at the 2019 NSW Premier’s Multicultural Communications Awards presented in Sydney this week.

The NSW Premier’s Multicultural Communications Awards (PMCAs) recognise excellence in the multicultural media and marketing industry. The PMCAs acknowledge the valuable contribution multicultural media and marketing plays in our society by helping people connect to their culture, identity and language. The awards also recognise the important roles played by journalists, editors and publishers in print, radio, television and digital media.

The campaign challenged stereotypes because it didn’t feature the usual cultural icons of red, gold and ‘8’. Instead, SunRice the Rice Breaker, depicted a Chinese-Australian family sharing a meal with their local Australian neighbours. Inclusion was a key message – as a rice brand that is universally appealing, SunRice is able to connect people of different cultures over great food.

The Rice Breaker resonated with migrant audience because it acknowledged that they also want to be successful in Australia and engage with the community – 66% of people who saw the creative said they would consider SunRice for their next rice purchase; it drove an 86% increase in SunRice followers on WeChat. SunRice also recorded a significant uplift in orders from retail partners. 

Says Andrew Jeffrey, head of marketing, SunRice: “SunRice is thrilled our campaign has been recognised with this award. The outstanding results demonstrate the crucial importance of audience insights in building authentic engagement with our Asian-Australian customers. The audience insight that Identity Communications brought to the table was invaluable.”

Says Thang Ngo, managing director, Identity Communication: “From day one, SunRice told us they wanted to build an authentic connection with Australia’s Asian community. The client recognised the importance of developing a robust strategy and bespoke creative.”

Client: SunRice
Head of Marketing & Insights: Andrew Jeffrey
Senior Marketing Manager: Shannon Cumberlidge
Brand Manager: Peta Thomas, Jeddah Ryan

Agency: Identity Communications
Managing Director: Thang Ngo
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
Production Company: Clockwork Film
Media: Havas Media

SunRice and Identity win NSW Premier’s award for multicultural communications

SunRice and Identity win NSW Premier’s award for multicultural communications

AdNews, 6 December 2019

SunRice and Identity, a division of IPG Mediabrands, have won the Business Campaign of the Year at the 2019 NSW Premier’s Multicultural Communications Awards.

The campaign challenged stereotypes because it didn’t feature the usual cultural icons of red, gold and ‘8’.

Instead, SunRice the Rice Breaker, depicted a Chinese-Australian family sharing a meal with their local Australian neighbours.

Inclusion was a key message – as a rice brand that is universally appealing, SunRice is able to connect people of different cultures over great food.

“SunRice is thrilled our campaign has been recognised with this award,” says Andrew Jeffrey, SunRice head of marketing.

“The outstanding results demonstrate the crucial importance of audience insights in building authentic engagement with our Asian-Australian customers. The audience insight that Identity Communications brought to the table was invaluable.”

Thang Ngo, managing director at Identity: “From day one, SunRice told us they wanted to build an authentic connection with Australia’s Asian community. The client recognised the importance of developing a robust strategy and bespoke creative.”

Other winning marketing campaigns at the NSW Premier’s Multicultural Communications Awards:

Agency Campaign of the Year: Cultural Perspectives – Your Vote Will Help Shape Australia

Voting is a right for all Australians but enrolling, assessing candidates and casting a ballot is a challenge for people with low English language-speaking proficiency. The Your Vote Will Help Shape Australia campaign by Cultural Perspectives aimed to make voting easier and support increased participation by sharing voting information in 30 different languages across print, radio, and online.

AFL NSW/ACT Community Campaign of the Year – Hindu Council of Australia – Deepavali Fair
Aiming to increase Deepavali Fair attendance by 10% to 30,000, the Hindu Council advertised on Hindi satellite television channels, in Indian language newspapers, via social media and through flyers and banners around local schools and major intersections. As well as meeting attendance targets, the Council successfully increased sponsorship revenue by 15%.

Other winners of the 2019 Premier’s Multicultural Communications Awards:

Best Audio Report: Manpreet Kaur Singh, Shamsher Kainth, Avneet Arora and Maya Jamieson – SBS Punjabi
Best Audio-Visual Report: Andrea Booth – NITV, The Point
Best Print Report: Zia Ahmad – AMUST
Young Journalist of the Year: Xinrui (Rena) Li – Sydney Today
Best Use of Digital or Social Media: Sirine Demachkie and Kinderling Kids Radio – Mother Tongue
Public Interest Award: Avani Dias – triple j Hack
Alan Knight Student Award: Nadine Silva
Publication of the Year: AMUST
Lifetime Achievement Award: Antoine Kazzi OAM – El Telegraph

5 tips for your next Chinese Influencer Event

5 tips for your next Chinese Influencer Event

By Wei Ng, Account Director 

 

Last week, Identity Communications had the pleasure of bringing together a group of Chinese social media influencers, also known as Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs), to test drive Hyundai’s exciting Electric Vehicle range: the KONA Electric, IONIQ plug-in Hybrid and IONIQ Electric.

The day went down very well thanks to Sydney putting on a sunny face to keep the rain clouds away for our drive into the beautiful Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park.

Here are five tips that will help to achieve a successful event for client, influencers and project planner (i.e. yourself).

1. Do a site reconnaissance before the event day

This will take time out of your diary but it’s crucial if you want the day to pan out to expectations. As much as possible, we scouted possible driving routes to ascertain the best one, visited pitstops and ideate on photoshoots, ensured the lunch spot catered for a big group of guests and clocked the whole journey to see if we could fit all the activities in. Whether it’s a test drive, a sit-down function or any influencer event you are planning for, a full practise run is invaluable to minimise potential hiccups on the actual day.

The morning presentation is set up the day before.

2. Make sure everyone speaks English (or a common language)
On any other occasion, this wouldn’t even cross your mind. But to host an event where your social media influencers and the media organisations are planning to create content in Chinese, it makes sense to ensure that, while they’re well-versed in Chinese, they should also have an adequate level of English proficiency. After all, they will be required to translate your client’s press releases or answers to Q&As into Chinese, and can only do so accurately if they are proficient enough in English. That said, have someone who can be that go-to person for both clients and influencers to interpret information bilingually. For example, we had someone who spoke in Mandarin to the media and influencers throughout the day, for simple things such as rounding the group for a photoshoot with the cars or translating technical words about car specs. It helps to keep the influencers and media at ease when someone speaks their language.

3. Allow plenty of time for influencers to create and share content in real time
You may assume a test drive will merely involve a lot of driving, close-up shots of alloy wheels and peering under the car hood. None of that happened, except for the driving. Instead, there were drones, poses in scenic locations along the route with the cars, influencers gaping in awe as one of the Electric Vehicles self-parked, and A LOT of selfies. After all, it wasn’t about selling wheels. It’s about being inspired and finding the inspirational in these cars. Moreover, the influencers were immediately logging onto their social platforms to share as soon as they finished their selfies. The instant creating and sharing won’t be the full extent of what influencers are giving back to the day, but it is part and parcel. The more time you give them, the more they are able to share with their thousands of followers a taste of what’s to come and to build excitement.

A group shot posted online on the day immediately received hundreds of likes.

4. Engage a professional for photo and film shoots
The influencers are recorders of the event but to do the project justice, have a professional capture the day. This ensures you cover every aspect that’s important for your brand. It’s great for internal press releases for the client to share within the business. Furthermore, such content becomes your client’s property and can then be shared on owned platforms or for you to share with other media and gain additional PR.

A social media influencer being filmed on location

5. Involve the clients
The client is the brand expert. But technical specifications and brand history aside, Chinese social influencers love it when the client team takes the time to go through the whole experience with them, to entertain every question raised and to demonstrate what makes their product uniquely different. It’s akin to special treatment and that is something no press release or gift pack can match. The client will enjoy going through the experience too because if your invited Chinese influencers are being themselves, they’re sure to be entertaining and fun.

Scott Nager, Senior manager of Future Mobility and Government, demonstrating the Nexo’s self-parking capabilities.

The right balance in multicultural marketing

The right balance in multicultural marketing

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?

Maybe not…

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 recreates modern migration experience in cultural campaign

SunRice recreates modern migration experience in cultural campaign

AdNews, 4 February 2019

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.