Best of LNY 2021 Creativity
Welcome to the Year of the Ox! This Lunar New Year celebration was noticeably quieter, due to the gathering cap of eight persons and rules that banned shouting during lohei sessions. Despite these restrictions, brands managed to excite and delight Singaporeans by celebrating LNY creatively - and many opted to do so primarily online.
Here is a recap of some noteworthy creative efforts this LNY.
Minigames have become a trendy kind of campaign as brands can inform audiences about their products in an entertaining and engaging way. This LNY, Google and POSB placed minigames at the centre of their celebrations.
Google Pay’s Singapore-exclusive Huat Pals campaign sent users into a frenzy as they religiously completed daily tasks for a shot at obtaining Ah Huat the Pineapple and BB Loh. Although the prize for completing the Huat Pals collection was a scratch card worth $8.88 (for the majority of prize winners), the campaign went viral, and rare Huat Pals were even listed on Carousell. Read more about the campaign here.
Meanwhile, POSB’s annual #HuntYourZodiac campaign was tweaked to accommodate pandemic advisories. The collaboration with local gamification firm Sqkii saw players virtually exploring Singapore in search of 12 zodiac animals in 5 different elemental skins each, totalling 60 collectables. Each set would earn players $188. To up the difficulty level, this campaign only lasted 5 days, so only the most dedicated and determined of players would be able to find the zodiac sets.
Swee Lee’s Huat Sticker Pack
Many brands have released virtual sticker sets but none have conveyed their brand values quite like Swee Lee.
Swee Lee’s stickers do not overly advertise their music store business. Instead, its playful and friendly persona is translated into catchy puns, and subtle hints in the form of musical instruments decorate the stickers. This made the stickers a hit among Swee Lee’s target demographic of millennials.
As a suggestion, if they were to offer physical versions of these stickers as freebies during the LNY season, it would sweeten the shopping experience.
Lohei Audio Recordings
Some web developers acted on Minister Lawerence Wong’s suggestion to pre-record lohei greetings and play them during the tossing session. Zaobao’s Lohei Butler is a minisite of colourfully illustrated lohei ingredients and their corresponding audio recordings of auspicious cheers. There is even a two-minute long walkthrough which teaches you the correct order of adding the ingredients.
A less data-intensive alternative was created by “DJ Beng”. The bare-bones (hipster speak: brutalist) website has greetings in Mandarin and most Chinese dialects spoken here, even Shanghainese. Simply press one of the 15 sound buttons and toss away. To create the chaotic, noisy atmosphere of traditional lohei sessions, simply tap different buttons rapidly for the greetings to be played over one another.
Maki-San’s Festive Packaging
Maki-San’s award-winning packaging got five additional festive skins this LNY. The limited-edition sleeves incorporated lion dancers, koi and lanterns, in the same aesthetic as the original designs.
On social media, Maki-San shared animated versions of their ox-picious designs, which brought the lion dance to life.
Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall’s Double Prosperity Installation
For a second year in a row, the Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall invited artists to put their spin on lion statues to celebrate LNY.
“Double Prosperity”, an installation by Chengdu-based art label Blackbox in collaboration with the memorial hall, is a pair of Fu Dou lion statues - Chinese protection symbols of fengshui. The female yin statue has her paw on her cub, representing nurture, while the yang male’s paw presses on an embroidered ball, depicting supremacy in imperial context.
The installation represents the memorial hall’s wish for Singapore to have double blessings this year, in the form of a national economic recovery and personal protection for Singaporeans.
Before this installation, Blackbox sold miniature statues of Fu Dous in different poses and sizes.
Last year, the memorial hall collaborated with Hong Kong collectible label BigBoysToys on a mecha-inspired “Lunar Guardians” installation. The label also sells miniature figures of these robot lions on their website.
Angbaos and QR Codes
Created by tech studio MeshMinds, the Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre’s cute angbao design comes alive when one scans the QR code and opens the link using Facebook’s camera. A 3D pink ox would greet users in Mandarin and five other Chinese dialects.
DBS’s QR gift cards are the missing link between digital angbaos and physical ones. Printed on thick paper stock, these red gift cards contain QR codes which can be loaded with money and given to loved ones.
While opening physical angbaos in the presence of family members is seen as rude, digital angbaos immediately show the angbao amount once the transaction is complete, which could be one of the reasons why digital angbaos have not become the norm. DBS’ gift cards are a solution to prevent the awkwardness of knowing the angbao amount prematurely - provided kids do not scan the QR codes immediately after getting their cards.
One of the biggest angbao families this year was the series from the Museum Roundtable, a collective established by the National Heritage Board. 32 member museums and galleries participated in the angbao campaign, which gave visitors specially-designed angbaos featuring cosplaying oxen dressed in their respective themes.
Alternatively, participating in a QR scavenger hunt gave players a chance to win a box set of all 32 angbaos.
That’s a Wrap
Since the start of 2021, Singaporeans have wondered what LNY celebrations would be like. Although some large families did not get to gather at one place, I hoped these creative projects (especially the digital ones) helped to make the season less lonely than usual.