How Harry Rosen is celebrating Chinese New Year

The retailer ups its digital efforts for the holiday by jumping on Weibo and WeChat.

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Harry Rosen has continued to expand its celebration of Chinese New Year, this year looking to more digital executions to complement its events in-store.

Like past years, the retailer has been commemorating the holiday with a number of activities in-store. Red envelopes, a traditional gift for the holiday featuring gifts from Harry Rosen, have again been handed out, but this year, they feature a product from fashion label Etro in a new partnership. Locations have featured window displays and events ranging from traditional tea services to full-scale catering and calligraphy, depending on local populations.

The biggest expansion this year is what’s been going on outside of the store, especially with digital. The brand has launched accounts on Weibo and WeChat, social and messaging platforms popular among Chinese-Canadians, as well as a buy on Facebook. In addition to a dedicated online lookbook, it has created a landing page that visitors are directed to when they come to the site through social posts related to Chinese New Year. The page features a list of activities, blog content and videos. It is also running ads in Sing Tao and Ming Pao newspapers in Toronto and Vancouver for the first time.

All creative for the ads and displays was done in-house. The social buy was handled by Search Engine People, with strategic and development support from Vancouver multicultural marketing agency Hamazaki Wong.

Harry Rosen has been celebrating Chinese New Year for upwards of eight years, when staff in Vancouver noticed an opportunity to do more around the holiday. What started with handing out red envelopes and having Mandarin-speaking hosts and hostesses in stores has expanded to include the events, displays, wider ad buys and, this year, more digital and print executions.

“At that time, no other retailer was really celebrating it,” says Tim Gallant, director of communications for Harry Rosen of when it began marketing around the new year. “They felt it could be a chance for Harry Rosen to show its leadership with Chinese consumers. We’ve grown it over the years, because our business with Chinese clients is thriving, so we need to continue to tip our hat to those customers, and now we’re providing more of a digital experience.”

Gallant says that while the retailer has celebrated other holidays from other cultures based on feedback from clients, such as Diwali, it has been on more of a “one-on-one” basis, and not as far-reaching as its activities around Chinese New Year. It’s not just immigrants and Chinese-Canadians Harry Rosen has been seeing a surge in traffic from, either.

“We know in Vancouver and Ontario, Chinese tourism has been the second-largest contributor of tourism dollars, and we’ve felt the results of that in our flagship stores,” Gallant says. “It’s also been the student population, especially in Vancouver. A lot of students are engaged on social media sites like Weibo and WeChat, and they’ve come in showing us pictures that designers have posted on those sites, which is what convinced us to launch our own pages on these platforms.”