The gif of Chinese New Year: how Giant supermarket revamped the God of Fortune

Giant launched the gifs on Giphy for the public to share on instant messaging and social platforms like Facebook and WhatsApp.

To strengthen its position as a mass-market retailer that is not only known for its value but also as a brand that shares wealth and prosperity with all its customers, supermarket chain Giant embarked on an experimental foray into gifs in Singapore ahead of Chinese New Year 2019.

The Dairy Farm-owned supermarket created 10 Giant-branded God of Fortune (a Chinese deity believed to bless people with luck and wealth) animations with its agency Construct Digital, to allow customers to share the fortune with their friends and family members.

Giant then launched the gifs on Giphy for the public to share on instant messaging and social platforms like Facebook, WhatsApp, Telegram and Instagram.

Even though the format of animated gifs has been around for years, Lim Wee Ling, the marketing director for Giant and Cold Storage brands, believes they have become more popular with Singaporeans in today’s social media culture, as gifs are able to tell stories, express emotions and strike conversations effectively.

In addition, she says gifs are very shareable, which means a well-designed and relevant gif and can gain a wide reach on social media organically and quickly.

“Singaporeans, in particular, love uniquely local gifs and that’s why we brought the 10 Giant God of Fortune to e-life this Chinese New Year with virality and customer engagement in mind,” Lim tells The Drum.

“This is the occasion for sharing good fortune and greetings and we wanted to create a collection of very shareable gifs that everyone can use easily on Instagram or WhatsApp over the festive occasion. Perfect for adding as decorations on Instagram stories, the God of Fortune gifs have been viewed over 27 million times as of February 8, 2019.”

Known for its affordable house brands among Singaporeans looking to score a ‘lobang’ (a good deal), another reason the supermarket chose gifs is that it is always open to exploring new and creative ways to reach out to its audience and stand out in the expected surge of CNY campaigns around the festivities.

In 2017, Giant created a digital character called Lobang Queen, a character that resonates with Giant’s key audience, who today runs the Giant Facebook page (via Giant Super Savers Club).

“We didn’t want to just add noise to the conversation, at the risk of getting drowned our client’s marketing drowned out,” Charanjit Singh, the managing partner of Construct Digital tells The Drum.

“Giphy is a well-known platform that enjoys pervasive use, that is strangely untapped by brands. Gifs, as with many digital trends, had younger people blazing the trail for widespread use, and today it is gaining popularity among a more mature demographic, which constitutes Giant’s core audience.”

However, as the God of Fortune is a mascot that is used by many brands during Chinese New Year, Giant needed to ensure its God of Fortune Gifs delivers brand recall for the company without the need for excessive media spend against other competitors, who will bring up average ad placement prices during the period.

So instead of a single God of Fortune, it decided on 10 different versions, to help consumers ‘huat’ (a popular CNY greeting) to be present in all channels that its audiences use.

“Giant’s audience is one that looks for great value, and therefore we worked with Giant to tie relevant promotions to each number that God of Fortune stickers represented,” explains Lim.

“Whether online or offline, the Giant consumer is one who’s always on the lookout for a good deal and is never one to pass up a queue for freebies. The Giant customer is also one that is willing to go all out for the best deals and is seen sharing promotions that they find at Giant."

She continues: "By executing the campaign both online and offline covering both experiences and deals, the campaign was able to gain a wider reach into different segments of the target audience.”

According to Singh, some challenges both parties faced was that Giphy API syncing with Instagram GIF Stickers, Facebook, Whatsapp proved to be a problem as there is no precedence or rulebook they could follow.

He says the learnings it had along the way included the fact that Instagram gifs must have no background and Facebook and Whatsapp must have one. They also found that some Whatsapp users pull gifs from Tenor instead of Giphy.

“Collectively, we learned that sometimes the simplest things can generate the most traction,” explains Lim.

“While companies were out there putting out a lot of noise during Chinese New Year, we focused our efforts on low hanging fruit, finding an uncontested space that could work towards key brand objectives, and then doubling down on it.”

Giant claims it has received over 20 million views for its God of Fortune stickers and a week before the official launch, it garnered 11 million views, generated through organic usage. By the time CNY rolled around, it generated more than 18 million, with the majority being from Instagram Stories.

To see more Chinese New Year campaigns, please go here.

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