Roaring applause for Bulgari’s Year of the Tiger campaign

While the Chinese New Year represents a great opportunity to push the boundaries of creativity and sell more products, it can also be the ultimate test: how well does your luxury brand truly understand Chinese culture?

For the Year of the Tiger, Bulgari is doubling down on what’s really important by deepening its connection with local consumers. Ahead of the February 1 festival, the Italian luxury house launched a campaign with five brand ambassadors – actresses Shu Qi, Tong Liya and Wen Qi, and actors Yang Yang and Leo Wu – to unveil special editions of its iconic products and spread the joy of traditional Chinese customs.

Bulgari creates a star-studded Year of the Tiger campaign featuring five brand ambassadors (swipe left). Photo: Courtesy of Bulgari

With holiday campaigns often being random, Bulgari evokes the strength of the tiger to carve its way into the hearts of consumers. Below, Daily Jing outlines three ways the brand has prepared for a crazy year ahead.

Putting a new spin on signature products

For the occasion, the LVMH-owned jeweler released an exclusive version of its Serpentine Viper necklace encrusting the 18k rose gold piece with rubies for a festive touch of red. A symbol that has defined the brand for more than 70 years, the snake represents wisdom, power and “endless metamorphosis”, stimulating themes for 2022. The new year also brings new materials: the Lvcea Intarsio watch, recently launched on LVMH Watch Weekap characteristicsink mother-of-pearl marquetry dial and pink alligator strap that perfectly matches the auspicious aesthetic.

Bulgari gives its iconic products a festive twist, from adding auspicious pops of red to incorporating a playful tiger motif. Photo: Courtesy of Bulgari

Bulgari does not miss the opportunity of the zodiac either. Inside the Chinese New Year edition of her Serpenti Forever jewelry box, a sculptural bag that pays homage to ancient Roman chests, is a playful image of a tiger. The Logomania Stole and Heritage Mini Shelley are also covered in cute tigers as well as graffiti versions of the Bulgari logo to spice up the accessories.

While embracing the color red is nothing new, Bulgari does so in a way that is authentic to its identity as the master of colored gemstones. At the same time, the use of the tiger, an animal that embodies courage and power, adds a creative touch to some of its classic items that is sure to appeal to stylish young consumers.

Highlighting traditional customs with top celebrities

To bring these products to life, Bulgari has assembled an elite team of local ambassadors. The campaign video featuring Shu Qi, Tong Liya, Wen Qi, Yang Yang and Leo Wu – who have a combined audience of 190 million on Weibo – now has over 2.4 million views. The short but sweet clip of the five celebrities watching the fireworks garnered a positive response from netizens, with many commenting on Bulgari’s cutting-edge designs and appropriate choice of ambassadors.

In addition to boosting social media engagement, snippets from individual A-listers were also used to highlight different aspects of the Chinese New Year festival. In particular, the video of Yang Yang, who was named Bulgari’s brand ambassador last September, garnered the most likes. As Yang Yang is surrounded by red lanterns that “illuminate lucky moments”, Bulgari sets the perfect backdrop to showcase its Serpenti Viper necklace.

Actor Yang Yang stands in a room full of lanterns, ushering in a new year of prosperity and protection. Photo: Courtesy of Bulgari

Meanwhile, Wenqi cuts paper (a traditional craft used to decorate Chinese homes and ward off evil spirits) and Shu Qi paints the Chinese character “Fu” for wealth, sending good vibes to onlookers. Elsewhere, Tong Liya is dressed in a total red look. Even more impressively, the campaign featuring Leo Wu unboxing the brand’s special CNY jewelry handbag garnered 1.2 million views in 12 hours.

By partnering with the country’s top talent and incorporating these New Year’s customs, Bulgari is expanding its reach among Chinese fan communities and communicating its deep respect for the local culture.

Take advantage of online platforms

Besides promoting on Weibo, Bulgari also makes full use of its local e-commerce channels. In particular, the Italian house has used its WeChat Mini program to present products in 3D, offer recommendations and provide special services, which now include the customization of leather bags with a tiger stamp. On top of that, the brand is giving away a 2022 calendar to the first 650 buyers who place their online orders of more than 20,000 RMB (about $3,150) between December 27 and February 1, as well as red envelopes to the 1,800 first orders of any amount.

While these activities may seem innocuous, they demonstrate Bulgari’s focus on the customer journey. Plus, there’s good reason to be cautious this year, as Chinese consumers have been quick to call out brands for advertising errors and misinterpretation of their culture. Therefore, focusing on the essence of the party – joy, prosperity and emotional connection – through stylish products and clever online tactics, Bulgari’s campaign lands with thunderous applause.

Freeda S. Scott