The countdown to the 2020 Spring Festival, China’s biggest holiday, is already well underway, as it will land on the early side of the Western calendar with January 25 as the first day of the Lunar New Year. The holiday is a peak period for brand marketing and entertainment, as much of the country shuts down for two weeks, during which time consumers have plenty of leisure time to spend with family and friends, shopping, eating, and watching movies and TV.
Last month, Tencent released a comprehensive marketing overview of how it will deploy its extensive media resources to help brands to increase their visibility during the crowded, and increasingly digital, holiday season. Already, the cross-platform success of Tencent Video programming such as “The Untamed” (陈情令) and “Produce 101” (创造营) shows the increasing attention being paid to the consumer habits of streaming video audiences, highlighting how brands can benefit from being associated with such powerful IP.
Under the theme of “connecting each person’s Spring Festival,” the technology giant’s offerings are largely focused on its signature social media, music, video, and gaming products. To mark the upcoming Year of the Rat, Tencent is especially keen to highlight its upgraded entertainment content, which it refers to as “golden IP.”
Tencent Video looks to be casting a wide net with its upcoming slate of Spring Festival programming, which will be released throughout the month of January and into February. Among the shows on the schedule are a celebrity awards gala, the special holiday program “Human Worth” (人间值得), new reality shows, and the online releases of popular television dramas such as 2009’s “The Qin Empire” (大秦帝国之天下), a sequel to the early 2000s comedy series “Liu Laogen” (刘老根), starring Zhao Benshan, and the new costume drama “The Chang’An Youth” (长安少年行), among many others.
Other Spring Festival content will focus on music. On December 8, Tencent hosted the inaugural Tencent Music Entertainment Awards (TMEA) in Macao, part of a broader effort to promote its artists and original content through its platforms QQ Music, Tencent Video and social karaoke app WeSing. For the Spring Festival, Tencent will offer special opportunities for brands such as short-term collaborations with chart-topping acts such as Rocket Girls 101, R1SE and Nine Percent, and additional musical concerts will be broadcast during the holiday period.
Of course, money will also play a role in the success of Spring Festival marketing campaigns. Each year, China’s biggest internet companies compete to see who can give away the most money via digital “red envelopes.” Last year, Tencent’s WeSee short-video platform alone gave away a reported RMB 500 million ($71 million) to randomly selected viewers who watched videos the platform, with WeChat offering much more. Brands are encouraged to participate in these giveaways, which will often incorporate gaming elements to make collecting cash more entertaining for users.