Jenny Chan 陳詠欣
Jan 14, 2015

Coke and McCann promote new-year dolls as China equivalent of Santa

SHANGHAI - For the annual Chinese New Year campaign, Coca-Cola China is reintroducing two clay-doll characters, A Fu (阿福) and A Jiao (阿娇), originally created by McCann in 2001. And in an intentional move reminiscent of how Coke refashioned Santa Claus in the 1920s, the cherubic figures are here to stay as long-term creative assets.

wide player in 16:9 format. Used on article page for Campaign.

Client: Coca-Cola

Agency: McCann

Market: China

Scope: TV, digital, bottle packaging, WeChat emoticons

Details: Communications featuring A Fu (阿福) and A Jiao (阿娇) launched across China two days ago, opening with a 30-second film reintroducing the clay-doll characters, which previously representated the brand for a period of six years, from 2001 to 2006.

The dolls have a mission of reinvigorating the customary rituals of Chinese New Year. They are seen in the film helping to lay out traditional decorations and preparations, and will also be brought offline through product packaging with 10 different Chinese New Year greeting messages. Consumers can download them via WeChat to share with family and friends as emoticons.

Press release quote: Stephen Drummond, senior director of integrated marketing solutions, Coca-Cola China: “Chinese New Year is steeped in rich traditions that honour the family. However modern family life is swiftly changing. With many believing family is the most important value in China, we wanted our communication to take a step towards embracing those long established family traditions."

Campaign Asia-Pacific's comments: McCann Shanghai hasn't disappointed since it recaptured the Coke account from Leo Burnett, and this new move seems well considered.

As Tomaz Mok, chairman of McCann Guangming China, who led the creative development of the campaign, explained, there has not been a universal icon for Chinese New Year. Even though recognisable images such as God Of Fortune are common, these cultural references are not "ownable" by a brand as such and are also less appropriate due to religious connotations.

Coca-Cola aims to use the clay-doll folk art to associate itself with Chinese New Year, just as it did with realistic illustration to depict Santa Claus 90 years ago.

Notably, clay doll figurines have also been a symbolic character in advertisements for the 'Chinese Dream', a phrase promoted by Xi Jinping described as a collective effort for "national rejuvenation, improvement of people’s livelihoods, construction of a better society and military strengthening". Looks like the government will approve.

Compare McCann's work with past Chinese New Year campaigns by Leo Burnett in 2013 and 2014.


Client: Coca-Cola China
Project: Coca-Cola 2015 CNY Clay Dolls Campaign
Creative Agency: McCann Shanghai
Chief Creative Officer: Tomaz Mok
Creative Directors: Jeremy Guo & Hesky Lu
Account Management: Cia Hatzi & Grace Fong
Producer: Christine Chen
Production House: Gwantsi Production


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