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When is a Tiger a Rabbit? When It’s the Asian Lunar New Year!

Date: Jan 14, 2011

Asian Lunar New Year on February 3, 2011 Ushers in Year of the Rabbit

Kang & Lee, the Premier Agency Targeting Asian Multicultural Consumers, Explains Significance

Famous People Born Year of the Rabbit Include Tiger Woods, Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, and others….see Lunar New Year ‘Fun Facts’ Below

New York, New York — January 14, 2011 – The Asian Lunar New Year will begin on February 3, and is celebrated by many Asian ethnic groups including Chinese, Vietnamese and Koreans. For Chinese and Koreans, the holiday marks the start of the Year of the Rabbit, and for Vietnamese, the Year of the Cat. “This holiday is an ancient tradition and an annual cultural highlight within key Asian communities in North America,” said Cynthia Park, President, Kang & Lee Advertising, the leading multicultural marketing consulting and communications agency specializing in reaching Asian multicultural consumers. “The Lunar New Year kicks-off the Spring season, with a celebration of family, friends, community, and wishes for good fortune.”

The Lunar New Year is celebrated with loved ones, lots of special holiday food, and traditional music including drums and gongs. Family members and friends gather at each other’s homes for visits during which they share large meals and gifts symbolizing fortune. According to tradition, Chinese and Vietnamese give each other “red-envelopes” with good-luck money for the New Year, and Koreans offer newly minted money as a symbol of auspicious and fortuitous beginnings. Before the New Year, houses get a thorough cleaning to sweep away evil spirits that may be hiding and everyone buys bright new clothing to wear on New Year’s Day.

Known as “Chuen Jie” (Spring Festival) in Chinese, “Tet Nguyen Dan” in Vietnamese, and “Sol” in Korean, the Lunar New Year is represented by a cycle of 12 years, each denoted by a different animal zodiac. This coming year, the Year of the Rabbit for Chinese and Koreans, is the fourth animal in the cycle. Whereas Vietnamese culture mostly shares the same animal zodiacs with Chinese and Korean tradition within the 12-year cycle, the coming year is the one zodiac that diverges in Vietnamese culture as the Year of the Cat. Traditionally, the holiday festivities start 22 days prior to the New Year and continue for 15 days afterwards. Lunar New Year parades in Asian communities are annual traditions across the United States and Canada.

With few exceptions, the Asian Lunar New Year is also the one period in each year that most advertisers who target Asian multicultural consumers – regardless of product category – develop Lunar New Year greetings ads and/or special promotional offers tied to the holiday.  This advertising conveys respect for Asian culture, and is therefore an annual mechanism for companies active in these markets to strengthen their relationships with Asian consumers.  As almost all of this advertising is placed in the North American Asian-language media, it is largely “hidden” from mainstream, general market view.  Some major categories that, in past years, have acknowledged Asian consumers with specific promotions and/or holiday greetings during this important Asian celebration include those in the financial services, automotive, telecom, and retail industries, among others.

“Just as few marketers would ignore the opportunity to extend their wishes and special offers to consumers during important mainstream holidays such as Christmas, the Asian Lunar New Year is considered by brands engaged in Asian multicultural marketing as an essential period of the year to demonstrate commitment to, and recognition of Asian consumers,” said Saul Gitlin, EVP, Strategic Services at K&L Advertising. “Marketing programs during the Lunar New Year send an unmistakable signal to consumers that they are important, and valued.”

Below are some Fun Facts about the Year of the Rabbit:

Rabbit Years: 1903, 1915, 1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011 (February 3, 2011 – January 22, 2012)

Chinese Calendar Year: 4709

Corresponds to Western Sign: Pisces

Famous People Born in Year of the Rabbit: Sting, Tiger Woods, Confucius, Drew Barrymore, Bob Hope, César Chávez, Angelina Jolie, Francis Ford Coppola, Nicholas Cage,  Kate Winslet, Alex Rodriguez, Tina Turner, Brad Pitt, Michael Jordan, Orson Welles

Rabbit Characteristics: Considerate, fragile, modest, calculating, ambitious, well-mannered, fashionable, obsessive, sophisticated

Best Careers for Those Born in the Year of the Rabbit: Teacher, painter, musician, publisher, actor, PR agent, fashion designer, therapist, doctor

 ‘Lunar New Year’ In-Language:
– in Chinese: “Chun Jie” (Mandarin for ‘Spring Festival’)
– in Vietnamese: “Tet Nguyen Dan”
– in Korean: “Sol”

‘Happy New Year’ Greetings:
– in Chinese (Cantonese): Gung Hay Fat Choy (Wishing you get rich)
– in Vietnamese: Chuc Mung Nam Moi  (Happy New Year)
– in Korean: Sae Hae Bok Man Ie Ba Due Se Yo (Get lots of luck)

Lucky/Special New Year Foods:
-Chinese: Dumplings, Rice Cake (called Nian Gao)
-Korean: Rice Cake Soup (called duk-kuk)
-Vietnamese: Rice Cake (called Bánh chưng)

Next Lunar New Year:
Year of the  Dragon: January 23, 2012 – February 9, 2013.

About Kang & Lee Advertising
K&L Advertising is the leading multicultural marketing consulting and communications agency specializing in reaching Asian multicultural consumers in North America, ranked #1 Asian multicultural agency by Advertising Age Magazine on April 27, 2010. With offices in New York City and Toronto, Kang & Lee services a wide range of blue-chip clients in diverse product categories.

Lisa Skriloff
Multicultural Marketing Resources, Inc.

Saul Gitlin
K&L Advertising