British luxury fashion house Burberry has launched a new online game called Ratberry, as part of its 2020 Lunar New Year campaign. The game builds on the success of Burberry’s first online game B Bounce, that rolled out in October 2019.
According to Burberry, “Ratberry” is the central character in a world inspired by the limited-edition Thomas Burberry Monogram motif in honour of the Year of the Rat this year. The luxury brand sees a growing appetite for gaming among younger consumers, particularly in China. As such, Ratberry aims to connect with the Burberry community online.
To drive traction to its game, Burberry has also released Lunar New Year stickers on WeChat, featuring Ratberry and products from the dedicated Luna New Year capsule collection.
The luxury brand is taking a safe and fun approach this Lunar New Year, after its seasonal campaign last year raised eyebrows in China for being too sombre and coming off as “horrific”. One of the campaign images posted on Burberry’s Twitter page featured eight solemn looking models across generations posing for a family photo in Burberry outfits. According to the brand, the picture was meant to celebrate “togetherness”, an important value in Lunar New Year.
However, netizens described the ad to be “terrifying”, likening the models to “ghosts” and commenting if this was actually an ad meant for Lunar New Year or a funeral. Others noted that the picture is “void of emotion” and “lacked warmth”, which does not go well with the festive spirit of occasion. Meanwhile, another netizen advised international brands not to try too hard to entice consumers for the sake of breaking into the Chinese market.
Burberry is not the only fashion brand to have been criticised by Chinese netizens for not fully understanding the culture. Dolce & Gabbana angered Chinese consumers yet again during Lunar New Year last year with its “The Chinese New Year Print” collection. The collection features an imagery of the pig to coincide with the Year of the Pig in 2019, with some netizens labelling it as an “overpriced Walmart shirt”.
The new clothing line came not long after D&G felt the wrath from Chinese consumers after a series of ads featuring an East Asian model struggling to eat Italian food with chopsticks made its rounds online. This was followed by co-founder Steffano Gabbana also being embroiled in the controversy after allegedly making racist comments against Chinese consumers.