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TESS VIGELAND: It's officially summer and you know what that means. Wedding season is upon us. And this summer marks an even more frenzied schedule than usual because of a calendar quirk. Apparently lots of folks are all excited over July 7, 2007, and its ties to lucky 777. Hotels, casinos, even Wal-Mart are offering tie-ins involving special products and even group weddings costing $1,777 per couple. Ahhhh, America. But companies in search of the Asian consumer have an even bigger day to look forward to: 8/8/08. Lenora Chu explains.
Lenora Chu: In the Chinese language, the word "eight" sounds a lot like "prosperity." The number "three" sounds like the word for life. So joining three eights in a row? A guarantee of lifelong prosperity and wealth.
Bill IMADA: 8-8-8 is just unbelievably popular and auspicious.
Bill Imada is chairman of the marketing firm IW Group. They help corporate clients like McDonald's, Wal-Mart and MetLife cater to the Asian community. Imada says plenty of Asians will plan weddings, business openings and special events around that date.
IMADA: Since it only happens once a century, I think that it's going to be a really big event for a lot of Chinese and Chinese Americans.
Especially when it comes to weddings, which are a huge opportunity to show face in Asian culture.
IMADA: I think an average American wedding is probably around 50 grand or less. And Asians typically spend upwards of $75,000 to $150,000 for a wedding. So, a large number of people are going to benefit from this. So clearly Vera Wang does very well at this time of year.
Las Vegas resorts are already prepping for a huge influx of Asians and Asian Americans. At The Venetian, wedding planners will open their booking window for 8/8/08 more than a year in advance.
IMADA: They could easily, easily get a 10 to 20 percent jump in business at this time. So, if the restaurants are smart, they'll make sure that they have wedding planners that can plan a minimum of 12-course meal with a lot of fish and a lot of very important other foods."
Many Asians will also be opening new businesses, remodeling their homes, refinancing mortgages, and traveling, Imada says. The Beijing Olympics will open at 8:08 p.m. on August 8. Banks will launch mortgage packages with lender fees of $1,888.
And Imada says a hospital has already asked his firm for help preparing for more Asian births next year.
Imada: So it's not only the resorts, the hotels that cater to weddings. It's going to be food companies, toy companies, baby companies . . .
In fact, Imada says, nearly every month in 2008 contains a lucky number combination, meaning an entire year rife with promotional opportunities. Except for April, of course. In Asian culture, the number four corresponds to death.
In Los Angeles, I'm Lenora Chu, for Marketplace.
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