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Perfume brand appeals to younger consumers with sleek incense burner for Qing Ming

The Chinese festival of Qing Ming, or Tomb-Sweeping Day, fell in early April this year. To celebrate, high-end Chinese fragrance label Documents partnered with funeral products brand Greatroam to release a special incense burner. Made of sleek white porcelain, the product is designed in the shape of a conch shell, one of the eight auspicious symbols in Buddhism. The shape also signifies ‘the sound from beyond,’ recalling childhood memories of putting a shell to one's ear to hear the sea, and representing the spirit of communicating with departed loved ones during Qing Ming.

One of the most important Chinese festivals, Qing Ming is a time for people to visit the tombs of family members and clean their gravesites, offer ritual foods and burn incense and joss paper. In 2024, spending on domestic travel in Mainland China grew 12.7% from pre-pandemic levels, and over 47.5 million people traveled to visit ancestral tombs.

Despite the day's popularity, most brands traditionally skip Qing Ming activations to avoid associations with the topic of death. But newer brands like Documents and Greatroam recognize that attitudes towards death are shifting among younger consumers. The conch incense burner is a bold attempt at reimagining Qing Ming for a new generation that considers death as less of a taboo topic and more a matter-of-fact discussion. The sleek, modern design is also a departure from the traditional red candles and yellow joss paper aesthetic typical of the festival.

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Beyond Qing Ming, brands have a powerful opportunity to help consumers write new narratives about age-old traditions, ensuring these customs don't die with younger generations but evolve to suit modern sensibilities. After all, who said that you couldn’t approach the topic of death (and honoring one's ancestors) in style?