The story behind our Birks Chinese New Year campaign award win
Cheers to Major Tom’s 2021 multicultural marketing award win!
We are excited to announce that Major Tom has won silver in the 2021 Marketing Awards in the Multicultural Holiday/Seasonal category for our work for Maison Birks’ Chinese New Year Campaign. Plus, congratulations to Cossette on their well-deserved gold! The Marketing Awards have been at the forefront of recognizing the best work in advertising since 1923. Over the years, the program has expanded to encompass all areas of marketing creativity.
Working with our client, Maison Birks, is always fulfilling — but was especially so through 2020-2021, which posed challenges unlike any other. We’re proud of our team for the creative solutions they brought to these unique hurdles and grateful to clients like Maison Birks, who give us the freedom to exercise our skills. Here’s an in-depth look at the award-winning Maison Birks Chinese New Year Campaign:
Maison Birks Chinese New Year (CNY) Campaign
Lunar New Year celebrations were vastly different in 2021, with travel restrictions making family gatherings nearly impossible for millions of households.
For Maison Birks, the 2021 Lunar New Year was the perfect opportunity to connect with its Chinese consumers. Undoubtedly the most important holiday in China, CNY celebrations see many people traveling to be with their families, celebrating and exchanging gifts.
With the unique challenges of 2021, those families would be looking for a way to maintain a connection to their holiday traditions.
The challenge: Unfamiliar territory
Birks’ challenge was twofold.
First, Chinese audience outreach was a relatively new initiative for the company. For a resonant, authentic approach, they needed a strategic partner familiar with their target demographics.
Second, the impact of COVID-19 meant a very different kind of holiday for Birks’ audience. With millions of families unable to meet, the campaign would be dealing with consumers' fear of diminished holiday festivities and a lost sense of family connection.
Our solution was a campaign to connect Maison Birks with a Chinese audience, raise awareness of their retail brand, and leverage CNY gifting to drive sales and highlight a limited edition pendant.
The solution: The theme of family connection
We centered our approach on the theme of connection. Despite the lack of gatherings, gifting would continue, with technology bridging the gap between families. We focused on the idea that distance is only physical, selecting the Family Tree as a visual foundation for the campaign to evoke the enduring bonds that family shares.
The campaign leveraged an emotional connection with the audience and encouraged users to send their love across multiple platforms. Tactics included paid media, influencers, contesting, magazine editorial, and in-store displays.
A family’s unbreakable bond
The Family Tree
The visual foundation for the campaign, the Family Tree, is a globally recognized image of familial relationships and lineage that connect families across locations and generations. Symbolically, it represents the unbreakable bonds a family shares. The tree was a flexible and scalable visual that worked in a variety of applications throughout the campaign.
Through engagement with Chinese influencers, we created a keystone storytelling component for the campaign. To take it a step beyond the usual product placement, we provided two limited edition Lunar New Year pendants to each influencer. We then had them share the story of gifting one to a family member, creating a naturally emotional narrative for the audience.
Jackie Kai Ellis and her mother wearing Birks' limited edition Lunar New Year pendant. Photo: Dennis Gocer
Birks’ magazine, 1879, was another central component to the campaign’s storytelling. Guest contributor Jackie Kai Ellis, a multi-disciplinary creator, told her immigrant family’s story of maintaining deep connections despite the physical distance from her homeland.
Chinese Language Paid Media
To execute a full-funnel paid media strategy in the Chinese language, two of Major Tom’s Chinese speaking strategists created compelling copy. We leveraged Weibo and WeChat to meet the Chinese audience on the demographic's preferred platform and invested in direct buys with several Chinese vendors.
Chinese language ads were executed on Instagram, Facebook, and the Google Display Network. We focused ad objectives on brand awareness and conversions for a contest and sales of the limited edition Lunar New Year pendant. By creating Chinese language landing pages, we could ensure a seamless user experience for visitors brought to Birks by the campaign.
The impact and results
Generating over 95,000 clicks on the landing page and almost 4,000 contest entries, the Chinese New Year campaign delivered seven million impressions and had an impressive conversion rate of 3.99%. The influencer partnership generated an engagement of 30,973 likes and 1,595 comments, while WeChat generated 56,852 clicks with a CTR of 1.34%.