Marketers Ring in the Year of the Rabbit and the Year of the Cat

A Look at the Work Aimed at a Growing Population

By Published on .

Bill Imada
Bill Imada
The beginning of February marks the start of the official Asian Lunar New Year season. In some cultures, such as Chinese, it is the Year of the Rabbit. In other cultures, such as Vietnamese, it is the Year of the Cat. Both the Chinese and Vietnamese attribute their zodiac to traditional calendars and the science of astronomy. The basis for their astrology focuses more on planetary movements and also follows a lunar calendar rather than one guided by the sun. Since I'm not an expert on Asian astrology, I'll defer to the experts in the field.

There are many stories as to why there isn't a cat among the 12 core Chinese zodiac figures, and several stories as to why there isn't a rabbit on the Vietnamese calendar. The fable I was told as a child involves a rat. Allegedly, the Lord Buddha himself called several animals to visit him, including the cat. The cat told his friend the rat about Buddha's call. Unfortunately for the cat, his friend the rat forgot to wake him up in time for the meeting with Lord Buddha. The rat was so eager to see Lord Buddha that he was the first in line for the meeting; hence, the rat is the first icon to lead the Chinese zodiac. The cat, being complacent and very comfortable in his bed, overslept and missed the party altogether. Therefore, cats aren't celebrated or listed in the Chinese zodiac.

For the Vietnamese, the cat is an important part of their zodiac. For Vietnamese, cats symbolize strength of character and determination, tempered with thoughtfulness and sensitivity. And even though the Chinese zodiac doesn't include a cat, it isn't uncommon to see both rabbit and cat icons in Chinese and Vietnamese communities. This is due, in part, to the large number of Vietnamese of Chinese heritage living here in North America.

Asian Lunar New Year is observed and celebrated in various ways and styles by several Asian communities. Some communities celebrate at the beginning of the year, including Koreans and Japanese. Other communities such as Cambodian, Hmong, Lao and Thai celebrate their Lunar New Year in March, April, May or even December. Most of these celebrations involve traditional foods, family gatherings, visits to temples and churches, and community events.

If you were born in any of these years, you would be deemed a rabbit and/or a cat:

1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, or 1999.

Here in North America, many companies and governmental agencies recognize that the Asian Lunar New Year is observed by a large and growing number of their customers. I'd like to show you some examples of advertisements that were especially created to commemorate the Asian Lunar New Year.

Gung Hay Fat Choy
Gong Xi Fa Chai
Ch�c Mung Nam Moi

California Bank & Trust

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Agency: ES Advertising
Client: California Bank and Trust
Title/Theme: Chinese Lunar New Year Greetings
Creative Director: Bobby Vu
Art Director: Silvano Kim
Account Supervisor: Sheetal Chadha



Citi

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Agency: Admerasia
Client: Citibank
Title/Theme: "Celebrating Abundance"
Associate Creative Director: Orlando Lin
Art Director: Yukari Ninomiya
Account Supervisor: Clara Lee
Copywriter: Yuan Lin



East West Bank

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Agency: InterTrend Communications
Client: East West Bank
Title/Theme: "Hopping Rabbits"
Creative Director: Jane Nakagawa
Art Director: Junbae Park
Illustrator: Qing Nian Tang
Account Director: Rita Cheng
Account Executive: Jeanette Tang
Copywriter: Stephanie Pao


International Media Distribution (DirecTV )

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Agency: T.D. Wang Advertising Group
Client: International Media Distribution
Title/Theme: "Happy Vietnamese New Year -- Year of the Cat" (Tet)
Creative Director: Tim Wang
Art Director: Abe Wong
Account Director: Rebecca Deng
Account Executive: Tina Leung



International Media Distribution (DirecTV )

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Agency: T.D. Wang Advertising Group
Client: International Media Distribution
Title/Theme: "Happy Vietnamese New Year -- Year of the Cat" (Tet Banner Ad)
Creative Director: Tim Wang
Art Director: Abe Wong
Account Director: Rebecca Deng
Account Executive: Tina Leung



MassMutual (Chinese and Korean Ads)

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Agency: Admerasia
Client: MassMutual
Title/Theme: "The 'Sign' of a Good Decision"
Creative Director: Tuan Pu Wang
Associate Creative Director: Kai Po Leung
Account Director/Supervisor: Shiny Qin
Copywriter: Dennis Clemente


McDonald's (Chinese and Korean Ads)

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Agency: IW Group and Arc Worldwide
Client: McDonald's USA
Title/Theme: "May the Year of the Rabbit Be Filled with the Splendor of Many Colors"
Executive Creative Director: David Toyoshima
Creative Director: Reynoldo Roman, Arc Worldwide
Art Director: Wonee Paek, IW Group
Illustrator: Nod Yong, Arc Worldwide
Account Director/Supervisor: Flora Zhao and Hope Lee, IW Group
Account Director/Supervisor: Maribel Chacon, Arc Worldwide
Copywriters: Ting Lin and Kwi Hee Park, IW Group


MetLife (Chinese)

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Agency: IW Group
Client: MetLife
Title/Theme: 2011 Chinese Lunar New Year
Executive Creative Director: David Toyoshima
Art Director: Edwin Chiu
Account Director/Supervisor: Betty Kao
Copywriter: Yao Liu



Royal Canadian Mint (Chinese)

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Agency: Kang & Lee Advertising
Client: Royal Canadian Mint
Title/Theme: "Gifting"
Creative Director: Makoto Endo
Art Directors: Tomokazu Kotani and Kalun Nam
VP Strategy: Saul Gitlin
Account Director/Supervisor: Chau Nguyen
Copywriter: Phoebe Wung
Photographer: Kimio Takeyama



Southwest Airlines (Chinese)

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Agency: DAE
Client: Southwest Airlines
Title/Theme: "Blossom"
Creative Director: Sunny Teo
Art Director: Rob Keil and Sunny Teo
Account Director/Supervisor: Edward Fung
Copywriters: Cindy Chan, Dennis Chang and Roger Richards
Illustrator: Christiane Beauregard



Wells Fargo (Chinese)

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Agency: DAE
Client: Wells Fargo
Title/Theme: "Calligraphy"
Creative Director: Sunny Teo
Art Director: Gigi Lam
Account Director/Supervisor: Fan Chew and Edward Fung
Copywriters: Cindy Chan, Dennis Chang and Roger Richards
Illustrator: Yiu Ting Ng


Western Union (Chinese)

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Agency: New-A
Client: Western Union
Title/Theme: "Fireworks"
Creative Director: Tuan Pu Wang
Associate Creative Director: Kai Po Leung
Art Directors: Yukari Ninomiya and Chieh Chen
Account Director/Supervisor: Shiny Qin
Copywriter: Dennis Clemente



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