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23 September, 2015 - Uncategorised


This Sunday September 27th marks the Harvest Full Moon, which is celebrated by Chinese and Vietnamese people around the world as Moon Festival (also commonly known as Mid-Autumn Festival). This harvest folk festival can be seen in many ways as a Chinese version of Thanksgiving and traditions include moon viewing parties, visiting temples, paying respect to ancestors, family and friends with gifts of mooncakes. It is an officially recognised public holiday in many countries including Mainland China. Its close proximity to Golden Week also presents some unique opportunities for brands looking to genuinely engage with Chinese consumers. Here are five essentials to understanding Moon Festival….

1) Mooncakes are the traditional treat and gift during Moon Festival. An elaborately patterned pastry the size and shape of a hockey puck which is filled with a range of sweet and savoury fillings, some of which have a whole salted duck egg yolk suspended in the filling to represent the moon. Traditional fillings include red bean paste, lotus seed paste, jujube paste and mung bean paste. Contemporary versions of mooncakes sometimes replace the outer baked pastry with a glutinous rice casing and are known as “snow skin mooncakes”.


2) $2 billion worth of mooncakes are sold each year and there are a full range of popular brands ranging in price point. Many western brands such as Häagen-Dazs and Starbucks sell their own range of branded mooncakes across Asia, often with less tradtional flavours such as chocolate or ice cream filling. Luxury moon cakes by renowned chefs at 5-star hotels are highly sought after as prestigious gifts. Even luxury brands such as Hermès and Fendi have produced their own branded mooncakes by leading Chinese pastry chefs as a VIP gift or seasonal GWP that are very well received by customers.


3) As a result of the anti-corruption campaign, the purchasing and gifting of extravagant and luxury mooncakes has become associated with bribery in Mainland China, which saw a decline in sales last year. Therefore it is no longer deemed appropriate to purchase and gift such mooncakes to government officials. However, designer mooncakes gifted to customers by businesses are now seen as a cultural gesture that reinforces brand loyalty.


4) Moon Festival next year falls on Thursday, September 15th 2016. As a result of the Chinese holiday system Thursday 15th & Friday 16th will be public holidays and Sunday 18th a substituted work day in order to give a 3 day bank holiday. However, many Mainland Chinese tourists will take this opportunity to take 11 days annual leave from September 18th – 30th in order to prolong their upcoming October 1st – 7th Golden Week vacation time. This would give them a whole 23 days off, making long-haul travel more popular and travel ahead of the Golden Week period more likely.


5) Forgoing or starting Golden Week marketing earlier in favour of a strategic and culturally appropriate Moon Festival marketing strategy provides brands with the advantage of engaging with Chinese consumers earlier than most other brands. This also allows brands to avoid the very competitive and intensive marketing period during Golden Week itself. Moon Festival marketing also extends reach beyond Mainland Chinese to those from Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam and other overseas Chinese communities.


For more information on regarding Moon Festival and appropriate marketing strategies, please feel free to contact Steven Bywater. E-mail: s.bywater@wei-ukconsulting.com or give us a call on +44 (0)2036423899.