Time to Celebrate the Year of the Horse

A Toast to Some of the Ads That Commemorate the Asian Lunar New Year

By Published on .

Corporate and business advertisers who value their Chinese, Vietnamese and Asian customers often create advertisements ringing in the Asian Lunar New Year. The celebration begins this year on or around Jan. 31, with many of the advertisements focusing on the symbolism behind the new year's Asian zodiac icon, the horse.

If your child is born between Jan. 31, 2014, and Feb. 18, 2015, he or she would be a horse. Although exact dates vary from year to year, people who are born in 1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, and 2002 are probably horses.

A few fun characteristics, based on folklore and superstition, that are attributed to people born in the Year of the Horse: They tend to be clever but stubborn, fiercely independent, narcissistic and flamboyant. They need to spend money to impress others and call attention to themselves.

Quite a few Chinese horoscopes indicate that wood is the natural element that will guide the Year of the Horse. Wood is associated with confidence, high moral values and discipline, since it is commonly used to support buildings, bridges and homes, but it also serves as a fuel that can lead to the burning of assets and resources, such as money.

What might this mean for consumers? The Year of the Horse (Lunar calendar year 4712) ) will be a time to reinforce what they have built in terms of wealth and investments, and to reinvest in their families and employees. It will also be a time to splurge a little on friends and family, and on advancing a business idea that has been on the back burner. It is also a time to invest in training, development and even new hires.

For advertisers and marketers, it is a time to stay relevant to a growing group of consumers in the United States., Canada, Europe and Asia who value traditions associated with the Lunar New Year. The smartest marketers in the United States have been engaged with this celebration for decades by creating Asian-themed calendars for homes and businesses, festive red envelopes filled with coupons and special business offers, plush horse toy, orange-colored fruits, chocolates and desserts, reusable shopping bags adorned with holiday images, and specially made piggy banks to hold loose pocket change.

Why offer these particular items?

Calendars are symbolic because they emphasize the ongoing relationships that businesses have with their customers. They're also often displayed in homes and in businesses throughout the year. Red envelopes decorated with Chinese calligraphy and symbols and containing a monetary gift are traditionally given to children and unmarried individuals. But now they are commonly used to promote a company's products and services. Red symbolizes prosperity, abundance and luck.

Orange-colored fruits such as tangerines, kumquats and oranges also symbolize abundance, luck and wealth, and desserts such as cookies, candies and cakes -- often shaped like coins -- are symbolic of prosperity, wholeness and abundance. Piggy banks are all about saving for a prosperous and abundant life.

For the corporate marketers and advertisers sitting out the Year of the Horse, it isn't too late to begin planning for 2015 and the Year of the Sheep (or in some traditions, goat or ram), the next Asian zodiac symbol in the annual cycle.

In closing, I'd like to share examples of ads and promotional images commemorating the Lunar New Year and the Year of the Horse. Thanks to the companies and advertising agencies for providing these examples. Happy Year of the Horse!

Wells Fargo

Caesars Entertainment

Title/Theme of Ad: Lunar New Year - "Reveal Your Fortune"
Name of the Advertising Agency: Gravity Media
The City/State/Province of the Agency Office that Produced the Ad: New York and Costa Mesa, Calif.
President/CEO/Chairman of Agency: Yuriy Boykiv
Executive Creative Director/Creative Director: Artur Melentin
Copywriters: Xiang Lan/Candy Tse
Account Director: Quyenzi Pham
Account Supervisor: N/A
Account Manager/Executive: Natalie Do
Graphic Design/Design Studio Director/Manager: Deniz Eyuboglu/Xiang Lan/Candy Tse

Wells Fargo


Title/Theme of Ad: "Golden Opportunities"
Name of the Advertising Agency: Admerasia
The City/State/Province of the Agency Office that Produced the Ad: New York
President/CEO/Chairman of Agency: Tommy Ng
Executive Creative Director/Creative Director: Tuanpu Wang
Associate Creative Director: Orlando Lin
Copywriter: Joy Xia
Account Director: Shiny Qin
Account Manager/Executive: Joshua Shyu/May Lin
Graphic Design/Design Studio Director/Manager: Orlando Lin/Shanna Zhao

Wells Fargo

GODIVA Chocolatier

Title/Theme of Ad: "Victory"
Name of the Advertising Agency: IW Group Inc.
The City/State/Province of the Agency Office that Produced the Ad: Los Angeles
President/CEO/Chairman of Agency: Nita Song
Executive Creative Director/Creative Director: Stan Toyama/Stone Shih
Copywriter: Ting Lin
Account Director: Shagorika Ghosh
Account Supervisor: N/A
Account Manager/Executive/PR: Jennifer Ju
Graphic Design/Design Studio Director/Manager: Daisy Ho/Melissa Ross

Wells Fargo

JPMorgan Chase

Title/Theme of Ad: "Chinese brush strokes create rhythmic action and mood, depicting authentic Year of the Horse blessings and Chase's sincere wish to you of a prosperous New Year."
Name of the Advertising Agency: interTrend Communications
The City/State/Province of the Agency Office that Produced the Ad: Long Beach, Calif.
President/CEO/Chairman of Agency: Julia Huang
Executive Creative Director/Creative Director: Stephanine Pao
Copywriter: Stephanine Pao
Account Director: James Kulp
Account Supervisor: Fiona Wen
Account Manager/Executive: N/A
Graphic Design/Design Studio Director/Manager: Qing Tang/Junbae Park

Wells Fargo


Title/Theme of Ad: "Celebration Unleashed"
Name of the Advertising Agency: Dyversity Communications
The City/State/Province of the Agency Office that Produced the Ad: Markham, Ontario, Canada
President/CEO/Chairman of Agency: Albert Yue
Executive Creative Director/Creative Director: Charlie Ho
Copywriter: Doris Leung
Group Account Director: Irene Tang
Account Executive: Jennifer Wong
Graphic Design: Sharon Chan

Wells Fargo

Verizon - West Area

Title/Theme of Ad: Lunar New Year - Year of the Horse Augmented Reality Calendar
Name of the Advertising Agency: T.D. Wang Advertising Group, LLC
The City/State/Province of the Agency Office that Produced the Ad: Seattle, Wash.
President/CEO/Chairman of Agency: Tim Wang
Associate Art Director: Abe Wong
Copywriter: N/A
Account Director: N/A
Account Supervisor: Victoria Wong
Account Executives: Henry Han and Serena Li
Graphic Design: Howard Tran, Joe Yang and AdAsia Communications, Inc.

Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo

Submission: Leap into the New Year
Title/Theme of Ad: Leap into the New Year
Name of the Advertising Agency: DAE
The City/State/Province of the Agency Office that Produced the Ad: San Francisco, CA
President/CEO/Chairman of Agency: Vicky Wong
Executive Creative Director/Creative Director: Kai Mui
Copywriter: Yvonne Chang
Account Director: Lulu Huang
Account Manager/Executive: Kelly Ko
Graphic Design/Design Studio Director/Manager: Frankie Lam

Bill Imada is chairman-CEO of the IW Group, New York.
Most Popular
In this article: