Year of the Rabbit in Review

Year of the Rabbit in Review


Another Chinese New Year ushers in celebration, blessings, and a fresh wave of creative brand campaigns. Rabbit IPs graced the limited new products of major brands. Brand stories about Lunar New Year have also been presented in more and more diverse ways. Here are the top trends we’ve observed this year, and some of our favorite campaigns.

1. A Busy Year for Rabbit IPs
The zodiac animal is one of the most approachable and convenient Lunar New Year symbols in a brand’s arsenal. This Year of the Rabbit, we are delighted to see brands dig deeper into exploring the cultural significance behind the “Rabbit”. 

The ingenious integration of New Year culture and brand value sparked many delightful surprises: some brands jumped on homophonic puns related to “rabbit” /tù/, and used them to create new words to convey New Year blessings; others tapped into traditional Chinese culture to inject more “Chinese New Year flavor” into the brand; even more brands join hands with classic rabbit IPs, from Miffy and White Rabbit to Bugs Bunny and Peter Rabbit, to evoke childhood memories and renew its brand image.

Rabbit IPs
Looney Tunes X Boss

Photo: Courtesy of WBEI

As Lunar New Year approaches, and people around the world prepare to usher in the Year of the Rabbit, what better way to celebrate than with Bugs Bunny, the world’s most famous rabbit, and his friends! Today, Warner Bros. Discovery Global Consumer Products and BOSS reveal a unique collaborative capsule collection featuring the iconic Looney Tunes characters.


Peter Rabbit X Neiwai

Photo: Courtesy of NEIWAI

On December 14, homegrown lifestyle brand Neiwai launched a capsule collection in celebration of the Year of the Rabbit, which featured the brand’s collaboration with fictional character Peter Rabbit. The beloved children’s book character is printed on women’s and men’s loungewear and accessories, presenting joyful and cozy holiday vibes. Meanwhile, the label has partnered with local photo studio Himo Master to release rabbit-themed New Year photography packages. 

Centered around a theme of going home and reuniting with family, the campaign resonates greatly with local audiences. As many Chinese residents have been unable to return to their hometown for Chinese New Year in the past three years due to travel restrictions, they feel connected to the narrative developed through the lens of Peter Rabbit. The campaign post has received over 16,200 views and comments sharing their expectations for the 2023 Chinese New Year.


2. The Tradition of Reunion is Even More Treasured
In the past three years, going home for the New Year has been fraught with uncertainties, but people’s desire for reunion has never faltered. After years of ups and downs, “family reunions” are cherished now more than ever. Although the topic of “going home” has been an enduring theme in brands’ Lunar New Year marketing, this year, brands have tugged at our heartstrings by exploring what it really means to “go home”. 

Video sharing platform Kuaishou used a “hug” as the starting point. Every “hug” on the way home is worth a thousand words. Luxury fashion brand Bottega Veneta focuses on the sights and sounds on the journey home, expressing the longing for home without a single word. Delivery and booking giant Meituanconveys the expectation and mission of “helping you reunite” with a humorous and warm feature film. Smart brands have found ways to magnify subtle emotions or tell a vivid New Year story, that stirs people’s anticipation for reunion.

Bottega Veneta

Video: Courtesy of Bottega Veneta

Bottega Veneta is keeping in the widespread tradition of new year introspection for its latest campaign in light of the 2023 Lunar New Year, also known as Chinese New Year. The Year of the Rabbit signifies a year of beauty and prosperity, as the rabbit is the luckiest in the zodiac. A yin year with a more passive energy, the campaign is centered around the onset of emotions experienced during a journey home, the multi-faceted campaign features a short film, capsule collection, and larger-than-life installations.

‘Reunion in Motion’—directed by Jess Jing Zou—features journeying travelers headed to various destinations set across China’s diverse landscapes. Starring Chinese supermodel Liu Wen, the campaign’s cast of Bottega-clad travelers exemplify a sense of togetherness despite our individual journeys (whether they may be by train, boat, or car). The campaign’s visuals highlight a range of new offerings to ring in the year of the rabbit, which carries an essence of contemplation.


3. Diversified Storylines That Inspire Positivity
More and more brands are beginning to jump out of the traditional festive culture and choose differentiated storytelling to convey the brand’s blessings and messages. 

This year, Apple‘s much anticipated annual Lunar New Year short film followed the perseverance of young Peking opera actors, encouraging viewers to rise up to the occasion and overcome challenges. Trendy soft drink Hope Water teamed up with actress Kara Wai to capture the beauty and hope of the approaching spring. Proya Cosmetics brought us a true story from a volunteer teacher in western China to say thank you to everyone who “participated” in 2022 with love.

Chinese Opera X Apple

Video: Courtesy of Apple

Apple is celebrating Chinese New Year with a heartwarming film about a young man’s love of opera and the power of resilience.

The film “Through the Five Passes” was shot entirely on iPhone and directed by Venice Film Festival award-winning director Peng Fei.

The film follows a young Chinese opera performer as he prepares backstage for a big performance. While he waits to go onstage, he chats with other entertainers and has flashbacks to his struggles learning his craft and developing his skills.

The film celebrates the power of overcoming hardships and celebrates the strength of resilience and determination.

The film ends by showcasing the people and communities that continue to perform Chinese Operas across China. Chinese Opera is a key part of Chinese New Year traditions which trace back to the first dynasty of Imperial China.


Banana In X “Wish You All Well”

Video: Courtesy of Banana

Banana In released the short film “Wish You All Well”, narrated by Dongyu Zhou. From the perspective of the red gift box, the short film takes the audience inside each family, deep into the lives of ordinary people, and carries love and blessings ahead of the new year.

Banana In created an extremely relatable campaign that puts the product front and center, weaving product features into the narrative, yet avoids being too commercial. The copywriting and narration is also very sincere, which makes it stand out against hollow New Year well wishes.


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