This year the Chinese crushed it by opening up their celebration to the world of social media and video advertising! Last Thursday’s Chinese Lunar New Year signified the end of the year of the horse, and the commencement of the year of the goat. We, however, saw it as the year that the Chinese festival went virtual.
Those involved in the performance of the show, along with many of its viewers, consider the Lunar New Year Gala the biggest show on the planet. Last year, over 700 million people tuned in to watch it. This year the Gala went global. Video advertisements were featured on big screens in Times Square and digital advertising online and on social media was given a great deal of attention. As traditional and popular as the Lunar New Year Gala is, its organizers still struggle to excite younger generations with the event.
In an effort to gain popularity with the millennial and younger generations, and to share the Gala with people all over the world, they made deals with Google, YouTube, and Twitter; all sites that are banned in China. This year the Lunar New Year Gala was broadcast live on Youtube, allowing a global audience to watch the festivities.
The annual event causes a huge stir in social media, usually on the part of the viewers. This year the event’s organizers decided to join in. The program’s host partnered up with China’s leading third-party online payment solution, Alipay, to create an electronic prize giveaway in order to create an online buzz surrounding the show. In China, it is traditional for children to receive red envelopes from their elders on Chinese New Year. By encouraging viewers to use the hashtag #SpringFestivalGala during the show they were in with a chance of winning an electronic red pocket from the organization.
Even the 15-day Lunar Festival has broken with tradition and embraced social media, video, and digital advertising. The customary celebration overshadows events such as the Super Bowl and the Academy Awards, and creates what can be described as social media frenzy.