Tomorrow is the Mid-autumn Festival, one of the most revered occasions for family reunions in China. Given its cultural significance, global luxury brands have seized the holiday to forge deeper bonds with Chinese consumers.
Like other traditional festivals including Chinese New Year and the Qixi Festival, gifting is a fundamental part of the celebration. Many brands opt to craft gift boxes to showcase their commitment to the China market and understanding of Chinese culture. But as more players take this road, brands will need to think beyond mooncakes to enchant consumers.
Here, Jing Daily delves into the innovative strategies luxury labels are employing to connect with their Chinese clientele during this luminous time of the year.
Paying tribute to traditional cultural objects
Following last year’s innovative woodblock watermarked calligraphy gift box, Louis Vuitton once again pays tribute to traditional Chinese craftsmanship. This year’s gift box design draws inspiration from the Qianlong book box, which was originally used for preserving precious calligraphy and books during Emperor Qianlong’s reign in the 1700s .
Gifts inside the box include poetry collections about the moonlight, silk mats, jade rabbit paperweights, and osmanthus incense cones — tasteful objects often appreciated by Chinese art and culture enthusiasts. These hyper-local gifts cleverly merge iconic elements of the Mid-Autumn Festival with the brand’s monogram.
Fellow LVMH brand Hublot similarly extends warm wishes for a harmonious and joyful celebration through the gift of incense. Since time immemorial, the “incense clock” has served as both a practical timekeeping method and a refined source of leisure for ancient civilizations. Hublot pays homage to this rich tradition by offering four types of incense sticks known for their calming properties, a specially crafted incense holder, as well as mooncakes customized by the Mandarin Oriental Hotel.
Using tea as an alternative to mooncakes
Embedded deeply within traditional culture, tea serves as both a conduit to well-being and a symbol of social grace. Thus, discerning brands have chosen to embrace premium tea as a substitute for mooncakes this year. This innovative approach not only appeals to modern consumers who prioritize their health but also sets the brand apart in a gifting landscape dominated by the rounded cakes.
Longjing green tea and jasmine tea are the highlights of Montblanc’s 2023 gift box. For the exterior design, the brand skillfully combines the turquoise blue of its new Extreme 3.0 accessories collection with quintessential Chinese elements, including pandas and lanterns. This strategic fusion not only fosters a meaningful connection with discerning local clientele but also aligns with Montblanc’s latest marketing campaign, named “The Library Spirit,” an immersive touring exhibit that recently landed in Shanghai.
Jaeger-LeCoultre adopts a similar approach to present a half moon-shaped gift box, which comes with four silver needle white tea bricks and a strategy board game called nine men’s morris. Meanwhile, Zegna’s gift box features a cigar-shaped Pu’er tea brick alongside its mooncakes.
Spotlighting brand elements
Beyond cultural resonance, a brand’s identity plays a pivotal role in shaping luxury gift designs. Ralph Lauren, for example, approaches the packaging with a playful twist. Under its coffee label, Ralph’s Coffee, the brand introduces a mooncake gift box featuring its beloved Polo bear barista, artfully depicted alongside a charming green and white coffee cart. Delightful intricacies abound, such as a basket brimming with petite white flowers and a collapsible canvas umbrella, transforming the box into a miniature coffee haven.
Notably, Ralph Lauren’s mooncakes themselves are far from conventional, boasting a luscious lava-flavored filling sourced from premium coffee beans. Post-festival, the coffee cart can find new life as a home decor item, preserving cherished memories of the holiday in impeccable style.
Tiffany’s custom gifts are also designed to enhance the Mid-Autumn Festival experience. In addition to mooncakes, the box includes a Connect Four game — a delightful way for friends and family to come together, celebrate, and create lasting memories. Drenched in the signature Tiffany Blue, the designs prominently showcase the full moon, adorned with iconic motifs reminiscent of Jean Schlumberger jewelry.
Last but not least, Marni infuses its gift box packaging with the brand’s signature polka dot pattern from its 2023 Fall collection, building upon its ethos of whimsicality. Alongside the custard mooncakes produced by Italian pasticceria Cova, the gift box also includes a captivating array of Marni-printed placemats, table flags, and breadboards. These elements echo the theme of reunion during the Mid-Autumn Festival.
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