Understanding the award winning BMW “The Year of the Dragon” Chinese New Year Greeting

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In the Chinese zodiac, the celestial dragon symbolizes characters traits such as power, ambition, and self-assurance. Those are the very type of traits associated with being a BMW driver, as communicated in this print ad which appeared in Chinese-language newspapers in celebration of the Year of the Dragon.Through the art direction, parallels are drawn between a BMW vehicle and a Chinese dragon. For starters, the brand’s signature kidney-shaped radiator grille represents the ornate mouth and snout of the dragon. The elegantly-shaped driver’s side window doubles as the eye of the dragon. Finally, the fast and powerful movement of the vehicle is conveyed through gold streaks – ie., the whiskers of a dragon in full-flight, a common depiction in Chinese art. The image also makes use of the colour gold, which symbolizes wealth and happiness because the colour was once exclusively reserved for the Emperor of China as well as other high-ranking imperial officers.

The tagline of the ad, which translates to “The Presence of the Golden Dragon Will Drive You to Success”, is a double entendre. On the one hand, it recognizes the coming Year of the Dragon, but also suggests a BMW will bring success to drivers because, at its essence, the vehicle is like a mystical dragon itself. This kind of positioning speaks well to the 34-50 year old target market, which are looking for a vehicle that speaks to the values of success.