The Asian Lunar New Year officially began February 18 and will be continuously celebrated by many Asian populations in the US, including Chinese, Vietnamese, and Koreans.
The Lunar New Year is represented by a cycle of 12 years, each denoted by a different animal. This year - Year of the Golden Pig - is particularly special because it only comes around every 600 years.
The annual holiday is deeply rooted in cultural tradition. "The Asian Lunar New Year is an extremely important holiday that is widely celebrated in many Asian communities. It is a time for reunion, renewal, and revitalization with family, friends, and business colleagues," says Cynthia Park, MD at Kang & Lee Advertising (K&L), a marketing communications firm specializing in linking corporate clients to the Asian multicultural marketplace.
Why does it matter?
"[Because] Lunar New Year is celebrated by so many different Asian cultures, it presents many pitching angles for PR professionals who may have relevant products and services," says Patrick Kwan an account executive at M. Silver Associates.
"It is important for companies to understand that this is a big year," says Jon Yokogawa, VP and MD at interTrend, an agency targeting the Asian-American marketplace, adding that companies should take advantage of the holiday to send good wishes through different media platforms to relevant audiences. "It helps with community relationships. Research shows that if your clients feel that you understand their culture and support it, they are more likely to purchase your products or use your services."
"Marketing to Asians during the Lunar New Year is one of the most important mechanisms for PR pros to recognize, show respect for, and strengthen brand relationships with Asian consumers," says Saul Gitlin, K&L EVP of strategic marketing services.
1 The birth rate of the Asian population globally is projected to increase 200% in this year alone, notes interTrend's Yokogawa.
2 Some of the major companies sponsoring this year's Lunar New Year activities in New York include Allstate, American Airlines, Verizon, and Washington Mutual.
3 In celebration of the Year of the Pig, Swatch is releasing a special new watch called Be Lucky in time to ring in year 4705, as recorded by the lunar calendar.
4 For the Year of the Dog last year, the Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals partnered with Chinatown to promote adoptions through a Year of the Dog parade with homeless dogs wearing Chinese New Year outfits and "Adopt Me" vests.
5 The State-run television in China banned any ads with references to pigs, out of respect for the 2% of its population that is Muslim. Islam considers pigs unclean.