Chinese Valentine’s Day, when the Chinese celebrate love and romance
In Europe and North America we are used to celebrating Valentine’s Day, and therefore love and romance, in the middle of winter, with warm hearts and cold noses – but is it the same in China? In point of fact, Chinese Valentine’s Day is celebrated in the middle of our summer, on the 7th day of the 7th month of the Chinese lunar calendar. In 2021, the date to be circled on the calendar is Saturday 14 August.
The legend of Zhinü and the symbols of Valentine’s Day in China
Admittedly we shouldn’t even call it Chinese Valentine’s Day, as its correct name should be Qixi Festival, a celebration of love based on the romantic legend of Zhinü, the weaver daughter of a goddess, and Niulang, a cow herder, whose union is frowned upon by the gods. Their love was not allowed and thus they were separated and banished to opposite sides of the Silver River, which symbolizes the Milky Way. Once a year, however, when on the 7th day of the 7th lunar month a flock of magpies forms a bridge between the two banks, they are allowed to reunite. And this is precisely the occasion to celebrate all people in love.
The ceremonies related to the festival are many: first of all, in line with tradition, the girls participate in the worship of the celestial goddesses at the local temple, to honour Zhinü and ask her for wisdom, then votive offerings of paper are burned and prayers are said asking for the gift of skill in acupuncture, a traditionally feminine talent that distinguished a good wife in ancient Chinese culture and, finally, many young women collect toiletries in honour of the seven virgins.
Even newlyweds celebrate. Traditionally they celebrated Zhinü and Niulang one last time before saying farewell to the celestial couple and dedicate themselves to their family, thus propitiating a happy and prosperous marriage; today they pay homage to their spouse or partner with special gifts and thoughts.
The main themes of the Qixi Festival are therefore the meeting and reunion with the beloved one, with all the emotional but also ceremonial implications that this involves.
An unmissable opportunity for brands
On this special day, there is no shortage of gift lists, in the same way as for our Western Valentine’s Day. This drives the brands present in the Chinese market to develop initiatives dedicated to the festival, with specific commercial promotions and content marketing activities.
The most involved sectors are undoubtedly those of food and luxury, but every segment strives to capture the attention of the immense Chinese public in such occasion.
The most well-known companies indulge themselves with limited or exclusive capsule editions featuring the theme of love and capable of getting noticed in the Chinese digital universe thanks to the aura of Anglo-European style and a storytelling culturally adapted to the local context.
A multi-channel strategy for Chinese Valentine’s Day
In order to promote and enhance initiatives, intercept the target audience and bring it closer to the own brand, it is necessary to develop a proper multi-channel content marketing strategy, capable of directing targeted traffic to the own website for China and involving direct sales spaces from the proprietary e-commerce portal with Chinese domain to platforms such as JD.com and Tmall, up to mini program shops, spreading their story through the most popular social networks suitable for this purpose, like the mandatory WeChat.
These flows must be stimulated and promoted with an appropriate advertising investment that focuses the attention of users on the event or special occasion, possibly through campaigns with digital key opinion leaders, i.e. Chinese influencers.
The story unfolds through a dedicated communication plan, able to present the product in its uniqueness, its relationship with the Qixi Festival and the value link between the brand, culture and the Chinese market.
The PINKO Love Bag, a success story
A good example of content marketing linked to the Chinese lovers’ festival is the PINKO Love Bag, with a media planning conceived and created by Retex. The fashion brand proposed a communication plan linked to its own ‘love bag’, by telling it to the public through mutually selective banners on WeChat, positioned on four selected and target profiles.
A distinctive and recognizable creativity able to give the right visibility to the special edition developed for the Chinese Valentine’s Day and characterized by a buckle with two magpies: this thanks to the dynamic and interactive potential of the most populated Chinese social platform and precise strategic choices.
A good starting point for the 2021 event now upon us!