Chinese New Year (abbreviated to CNY) is a very important holiday throughout East Asia.
Ethnic Chinese have a significant footprint in many countries in the region, so this time of year is filled with traditional music, decorations, and, of course, CNY-themed ad campaigns.
But despite the enormous cultural significance of CNY in Asia, the holiday has not caught on as much in the West.
Tiger Beer, a large Singapore brewery, is trying to change that with its latest social media campaign #SayItWithTiger.
Through a collection of videos, Tiger is aiming to send a ‘Happy Chinese New Year’ message globally (as well as bringing attention to its globally-distributed beverage of course!).
How it works
For the campaign, Tiger enrolled eight global celebrities to represent its brand:
- Emily Ratajkowski, American model and actress
- Liam Hemsworth, Australian actor
- Chris Bosh, American basketball player
- Narelle Kheng, Singaporean musician
- Penny Tai, Malaysian singer
- Diego Costa, Spanish footballer w/ Chelsea
- Zheng Kai, Chinese Actor
- Norman Reedus, American actor
On the campaign’s microsite, there are videos of each of these celebrities saying a CNY greeting (Hǔ Hǔ Sheng Wei, Hè Xīn Nián) and then saying that it’s now ‘your turn’ to say the same.
The concept is that fans then create a video which interacts with the celebrity and upload it to the site and share it on social media.
The point of the campaign, then, is to associate the brand with the videos which then have the potential to spread virally.
Why it’s good
A campaign like this is quite complicated and required a lot of thought and coordination, so it’s good to start with what works well.
Instead of just having a page on the main website, Tiger has a microsite devoted to the campaign.
The site is well-designed and rightfully focuses attention on the campaign, and makes it clear what you are supposed to do to participate.
Many other promotional campaigns seem to be designed to get people to the brand’s main page and lose the impact achieved by a site with a single focus.
Tiger’s use of a branded hashtag (#SayItWithTiger) is a great way for brand fans to both associate their videos with the campaign as well as spread the word on social media.
Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram all support hashtags meaning that people can post their videos on any of the platforms and fan videos are instantly ‘included’ in the campaign and searchable by others.
Also, it seems that the hashtag is a light parody on another branded campaign in Asia, #SayItWithCadbury.
The best part of this campaign are the celebrity videos. Well-known celebrities are always good for a campaign, but seeing them in ‘normal’ videos makes it even better.
And, interestingly, all of the videos are shot in portrait-mode (not the traditional landscape) and have a very contemporary, ‘SnapChat’ look to them as a result.
And, because the celebrity videos were made to encourage interaction, the fan videos make sense and some are actually quite funny.
So, overall, this campaign has successfully associated the brand with a very popular holiday in Asia and encouraged viral distribution of charming, yet branded, content.
What’s not so good…
But there are also some things about the campaign which don’t work well and could serve as a warning to brands thinking of doing something similar.
1. Video production is still somewhat difficult
It’s great to let people participate in your campaign, but the technical know-how required to download a video, shoot your own, and then edit them together is still far beyond that of your typical fan.
So, as a result, very few people have created their own videos. And this lack of quantity means that the average quality of the videos on the site isn’t as high as it could be.
2. The campaign’s success, or lack of it, is public
Hashtags are a double-edge sword. They allow for easy discovery on social media, sure, but they also make it obvious when something hasn’t taken off.
As of now, it’s two weeks into the campaign and there are very few people who have created videos or even shared the hashtag.
And so even though the concept is clever, the lack of hashtag traffic makes the campaign look unpopular and unloved.
So, after making all the effort to make the celebrity videos, it might be an idea to ‘seed’ a campaign like this on social media so that it looks more popular and encourages participation.
3. It doesn’t tell you ‘why’
Probably the biggest issue with the campaign, though, is there is no indication of why you might want to ‘say it with Tiger’.
It’s not traditional to say ‘Happy CNY’ with a beer, nor is it clear why you should start doing so now.
The campaign doesn’t seem to be associated with a contest nor does it seem that there is any distribution of your video by Tiger beyond its own website.
This could have been done better. Even a token prize would have been better than nothing and Tiger Beer, with over 1m ‘likes’ on Facebook, could have promised some distribution of your video with its fans.
There are many things that are commendable in this campaign including bringing the CNY tradition to a global audience and encouraging fans to interact with celebrities through editing ‘real’ videos.
But when a campaign is looking for audience participation, then the reward has to be clear and good enough for people to make the effort to contribute.
There are simply too many alternatives for personal expression these days to think that people are going to spend time with your brand just to get a spot on your website.
So, while it is encouraging that brands are still willing to experiment on digital, this campaign could have been more effective if Tiger had made a bit more effort in encouraging fans to participate.
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