The Mid-Autumn Festival is on the 15th day of the 8th month of the Chinese calendar. That puts it on Tuesday, September 21st in 2021. It’s a big festival on the Chinese calendar and there are usually 3 days of public holidays. If the holiday falls close to the October 1st Golden Week, one extra day of holidays is added.
It’s a food-focussed, family-centred holiday. Families get together for a big meal, eat mooncakes and other traditional foods like pumpkin, duck, pomelo, fruit, taro, crab and others. They watch the moon together and children play with decorative lanterns as the full moon shines brightly in the sky.
The main gifts that are exchanged are mooncakes and holiday related items. However, young people especially like to go shopping and lots of brands promote themselves with specialty mooncakes or limited edition holiday themed products.
So which brands made the most of the holiday in 2020? Let’s take a look.
1. Alexander McQueen Mooncake: Elegant simplicity
Following on from the brand’s beautiful butterfly design in 2019, they created simple, elegant packaging that was still luxe and special. In some ways like a jewelry box, it strongly showcased holiday and cultural elements, like the color red and the moon. It also incorporated modern and vintage elements, like a lighting element inside the box to mimic moonlight and traditional ink illustrations to depict a gorgeously detailed moon and flowers.
McQueen embodied the spirit of the holiday with its exquisite packaging that represented the brand well.
2. Fendi Mooncake: Thoughtful, unique design
Fendi took a new approach to container design. Lanterns are a big feature of the Mid-Autumn Festival and the brand went with a highly functional cylinder shape that turned into a lantern. Once the cylinder is opened, a small, vertical set of drawers full of mooncakes is revealed. Each mooncake has the brand’s FF stamp on it.
Once the drawers are removed and the container is closed, protective film can be slipped away from a small battery on the side of the tube. This turns on LED light inside that shine through star-shaped holes to create the effect of a starry night on nearby walls. It spins too.
Their messaging was also charming. They released a 15-second animation featuring Fendidi the Panda that was made in collaboration with Chinese artist Oscar Wang. It was featured on the brand’s Weibo, WeChat and RED social media accounts. It was also rolled out across Instagram, Twitter and Facebook internationally. It included very cute renditions of a full moon, an astronaut, and China’s national symbol, the panda.
In addition, they had a mooncake giveaway campaign. The brand covered many angles in surprising and delightful ways.
3. Perfect Diary: Mid-Autumn themed beauty product
Some brands departed from traditional offerings like mooncakes in favour of other products inspired by the holiday. Perfect Diary, a domestic Chinese beauty brand that has been riding high on the country’s guochao trend and a strong marketing game, decided to release a Mid-Autumn Festival themed eyeshadow palette.
They worked with Tmall’s guochao incubator and co-branded the palette with the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation – China’s NASA. China’s lunar probes have been named after characters from Mid-Autumn Festival fables who live on the moon, like Chang’e and Jade Rabbit.
Their Mid-Autumn palette also fit into a series of animal themed shadows the brand had begun in 2019. The “Explorer Eyeshadow Palette 11, Rabbit” was described as “uncovering the colors of the universe”. The campaign featured brand ambassador Luo Yunxi and beauty KOLs who did makeup tutorials with the palette on social media.
The brand also released a computer generated campaign video that featured the moon, other planets, a virtual model and a mysterious rabbit. The Weibo hashtag #PerfectDiaryRabbitPalette got over 110 million views and the video itself got over 1 million views. It obviously caught the eye of the brand’s young fans.
4. Hey Tea: Catering to thirsty young people
Hey Tea didn’t miss its chance to release a special holiday drink and limited edition products. In honor of the holiday, it created a custardy, creamy, yellow bubble tea “流心奶黄波波冰” with a Jade Rabbit, the legendary rabbit that lives on the moon, on its container.
It also offered limited edition lanterns, stickers and coupons as prizes in its giveaway promotion. Anyone who interacted with the brand’s accounts on Douyin, Weibo, Xiaohongshu or Bilibili got a chance to win them.
A Weibo post promoting this special bubble tea got thousands of comments, reposts and likes.
5. Tory Burch: Touching family stories hit the right emotional note
American fashion brand Tory Burch didn’t release special mooncakes or innovative packaging. They didn’t make a CGI animation or try to lure in Gen Z. They went for something simpler and straight to the heart of the holiday. For them, it was all about family.
On Weibo, the brand asked people to share heartfelt family stories online to receive a special gift from the brand. The use of such a meaningful topic, with such strong connections to the holiday, used in such a positive and motivational manner showed their understanding of the holiday and gave an outlet for people to express their appreciation. This increased respect for the brand and increased brand awareness.
If the special gifts that were sent in Hong Kong are anything to go by, the brand collaborated with local, high quality artisanal businesses to make beautiful packaging for gifts for VIPs and gift winners.
The holiday is famous for its signature delicacy, mooncakes. If your brand wants to make its mark with mooncakes, they should be a special creation with unique, gorgeous or innovative brand packaging.
The pastry stamp on top of mooncakes also needs extra attention. It can feature the brand’s logo or a beautiful pattern. If you don’t want to make mooncakes and a beautiful container, you can offer holiday related gifts like lanterns. All with your brand’s special twist.
But, Mid-Autumn Festival offerings don’t need to be mooncakes, beautiful containers or lanterns. You can introduce a limited edition of your usual products and connect it with the holiday through its colour, flavor, design or in other ways.
Connecting with an audience in other ways is also a big part of the holiday. Animated videos featuring brand mascots, influencers – real or virtual – and holiday symbols and themes are a great idea.
Campaigns can also be simple and straight to the heart, focussed on connecting with people in ways that are both meaningful and linked to the holiday in question.
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