Direct mail case study: Putting a modern twist on tradition

Schroders aimed to blend tradition and innovation, which is in line with its corporate philosophy, into its red packet design for Chinese New Year earlier this year. The design for its 2019 red packets was inspired by the traditional Peranakan culture, which comprises a unique blend of Chinese and Malay influences.

With every piece of art and artifact in the Peranakan culture invoking tradition and stories, Schroders worked with antics@play to present the heritage and storytelling through its red packet concept. To ensure it got the details right, Schroders spoke to Babas and Nonyas who shared interesting anecdotes from their lives and how they celebrated Chinese New Year. The team then turned the vivid and colourful tales into their final design.

Despite the traditional elements, a modern twist was introduced to the design by selecting a bold colour scheme to complement the design. This unconventional mix created red packets that were elegant, yet updated with a touch of modernity. With the Chinese New Year symbolising a time of renewal, new clothes are often worn to represent hope and new beginnings. The red packet holder, hence, resembled a traditional kebaya outfit to represent such wishes.

Bright festive prints bloomed across the surface, signifying springtime. The red packet within took up the form of a jacket, and when opened, revealed an intricate layer of floral prints, which were characteristic of Peranakan art. The final look was then completed with a stylised kerosang.

Physical red packets were chosen despite the digital red packet trend. The choice of physical red packets was to retain a sense of personal touch – to invoke the emotions linked to the joy of giving or receiving a physical red packet. Also, apart from being a form of blessing from older to younger generations, we hoped to spark conversations between generations using our red packets.

However, in a digital world, there remains a need to blend tradition and digital to better engage customers. A digital twist was introduced to the campaign via the online colouring game.

In the game, users were able to design and colour their own pigs. The colouring game could be accessed via the QR code printed on the red packet or through a microsite. The colouring game was intended to be a stress-free interactive session and aimed to give users a reason to smile during the festive season.

Users could also share their completed artwork on social media or as personalised e-greeting cards to share their festive wishes with their friends and family. The digital game also appealed across generations, enabling it to become a tool where families came together.

To encourage users to participate and to share the festive joy, Schroders offered 10 sets of gold coins for the best 10 colouring entries.


Delight customers and serve as a talking point for sales personnel.

Target audience

Clients and partners of Schroders.


The campaign website had 800 visits from about 550 users. Users also engaged in the interactive game for about two minutes.

The writer is Shawn Mak, creative director, Antics@play.

shawn headshot

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