About this series

The WARC Spotlight China series focuses on a timely industry topic facing brands in the market. It comprises a capsule collection of commentary, tackling the topic from a range of angles. Contributors to the series are industry experts with first-hand knowledge of the market in focus, offering current on-ground insights to what’s working or developing.

The spotlight: Crafting Culture-Relevant Marketing

China is a nation in a constant state of change, its march towards modernity seemingly at odds with nostalgia over historical and cultural legacies. This is a dichotomy that many foreign brands haven’t quite cracked. The luxury sector, with its inherent expectations of aspiration, has been the more high-profile perpetrator of cultural faux pas in China but the delicate balancing act between old and new when pitching to Chinese consumers is something that brands from every vertical remain wary of. With the Lunar New Year looming, the temptation to leverage traditional culture in upcoming campaigns will no doubt be irresistible. But given the rise of nationalism, the revival of Chinese cultural traditions and a growing middle class that demands to be addressed beyond the labels of “oriental” or “rural” – how can foreign brands strike a balance that will not rub Chinese sensibilities the wrong way?

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