You can’t go wrong with Fortune and Happiness – or can you?

How one of our biggest brands stuffed up their Chinese New Year offer

Someone came up with a great idea for Nike – designing special Chinese New Year runners with the character for “fortune” on one and “happiness” on the other. They’ll run off the shelves – surely!

Well, when you put the two together – the meaning transforms … “getting fat”.  Not the best reminder during the feasting, festive new year!

These days, with social media used by almost every Chinese person on the planet, a mistake like this is magnified all around the world – and lasts for years (this one from 2016).

Nike is not alone. Every year big brands stuff up with the wrong words, poor image choice, colour mismatches, cultural gaffes and mis-translations.  That’s why we always say – get advice on language and culture. Don’t use machine translation for marketing messages.

The Christmas break is upon us in Australia, but when everyone returns to work in January the rush will be on to get your Chinese New Year campaigns in order. Whether you are pitching to local Chinese in Australia or around the world, they are cashed up and eager to return to a (hopefully) more normal Chinese New Year season: travelling, shopping, wining and dining, and getting together with family and friends to exchange gifts and eat!

If you have products and services to match, now is the time to start your plan to attract some buyers.

You don’t need a big budget just some creative ideas and cultural underpinning.

Chin has come up with some package ideas for all sorts of offerings and budgets.

Our popular CNY webinar is now online with ideas and guidance for you;

MSO Case Study

The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra has been producing a special CNY concert since 2014. The Chinese government has acknowledged its importance and describes it as the largest CNY concert outside China. Every year the concert is sold out.  Covid has disrupted over the last 2 years, but for 2022, sales are already well underway and there are not many seats left.

MSO starts its marketing for this February concert in early November. Chin is delighted to support the MSO with a marketing calendar of action. It is an east-meets-west must- attend event and a great way to kick off the year.

MSO has used this concert to reach and convert Chinese subscribers to more of its season and successive seasons. Going to the symphony has become a place to enjoy wonderful music, meet your friends, get your kids interested in music, and be seen. Click and learn more.

Knowing where to find potential subscribers, what appeals to them and persuading them to attend – well that is where Chin – or your Chinese marketing agency can help. Oh and definitely get advice to avoid those gaffes!

For more info, contact any of the Chin marketing team:


Got a question? We’d love to hear from you


Level 4, 221 Queen Street, Melbourne 3000
GPO Box 2231, Melbourne 3001

P. 1300 792 446
F. 03 9670 0766

"*" indicates required fields