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Export case study: FC Barcelona celebrates Chinese New Year

/ August 26th 2020
Exports and International Trade

Spring Into Colour – FC Barcelona celebrates Chinese New Year
Over the years, football has become one of the most popular sports in China, with millions of fans tuning in to Western matches. Clubs like Manchester United, Borussia Dortmund and FC Barcelona are well known and highly celebrated.

The challenge
Western football clubs want to strengthen their relationship with their passionate and growing Chinese fan base, but they face a major challenge: there is no particular reason for Chinese supporters to choose and stay loyal to just one Western club. 

How can brands then win without falling into the trap of enforcing one-way globalised communications or using cliché messages, particularly around Chinese New Year, China’s most important holiday? 

Our Insight
China’s economic growth has been so rapid, and, in many cases, cultural expression was sacrificed in the name of progress. At Chinese New Year, traditionally, families would reunite and usher in the new year with rènào 热闹, a hustle and bustle, an atmosphere of excitement which only happened once a year. These happy and hectic preparations were almost as important as the celebration itself.

Family gatherings have seen a decline and when they do take place, the length of visits is shorter and very different to what they were in the past. It seems like the 热闹 is lost, the air and feel of Chinese New Year merely living in memories of a bygone time. Chinese Barcelona fans, who were young in the 80s and 90s, will remember this from their childhood. Qumin decided to bring them back to that time. 

Qumin created a heart-warming animated film, laden with traditional Chinese New Year cues, from decorations to dumplings, evoking the nostalgic emotion of a simpler, happier time. 

A family prepares their home, the adults are hectic, everything is 热闹 and a young boy seems lost amidst the adult chaos. When he hears children playing outside, opens the door keen to get out and play with friends he hasn’t seen in a year. Suddenly, a Barcelona football comes flying in. The ball shatters a Peking Opera mask on the wall, unleashing the boy’s imagination. The mask transforms into Lionel Messi and the explosion of colour ignites other masks on the wall into life. More Barcelona players including Luis Suarez, Antoine Griezmann, Marc-Andre Ter Stegen and Lieke Martens join the boy and his new friends to play football. Tired, but delighted with simple childhood pleasures, they all to the family house to cheer for Barcelona on TV as they win a football match.

With over 6 million views on Weibo in just 3 days, achieving 1262% KPI completion rate, the film and social prompts connected the brand and the audience on a far more meaningful level than a simple ‘Happy New Year ‘message’. This piece of culturally relevant reactive entertainment has strengthened the Western brand and audience relationship, showing China that Barcelona FC really cares about their Chinese fans.


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