As the soundtracks of Christmas adverts are still echoing in our heads, we’re already facing a new wave of holiday campaigns for Chinese New Year. This Spring Festival, we are starting to see more western brands showcasing CNY films, investing in big celebrities and heavyweight collaborations as they finally seem to understand the importance of this cultural event in the adverting market, like Nike, who surprisingly, up until now has never done a Chinese New Year campaign. As common with CNY advertising, the films have sweet, emotional, touching and funny approaches to family relationships, generational conflict and gender equality, with even some tackling LGBTQ rights this year.
We’ve selected just 6 commercials for you ：
The French perfume and cosmetics house Lancôme opted for the eastbound formula. It’s a celeb-heavy one, featuring Amanda Seyfried, Lily Collins, and Kris Wu. But the real protagonist of the advert is the red color, appearing in its many hues in clothes, make-up, lanterns, and fireworks. The film starts in Paris, where an arched bridge over the Seine becomes a magical portal and transports Seyfried and Collins instantly to Shanghai. Here, overtaken by the excitement in the streets, they join the crowds on the festivities. Chris Wu observes everything (unwillingly, one would say) from a luxurious balcony party. It’s a visually stunning composition that sends a clear message: a happy Chinese New Year from Paris to the world.
法国香水及化妆品品牌兰蔻选择向东方进发，邀请Amanda Seyfried、Lily Collins和吴亦凡三位名人拍摄春节广告，但该广告的真正主角可以说是“红色”，在演员服装、化妆以及灯笼、焰火的颜色来展示。广告中，巴黎塞纳河上的拱桥开始好像一扇魔力大门，将Seyfried和Collins带到上海，这里的大街小巷都充满着欢乐，于是她们也加入了庆祝节日的人群；此时身处奢华阳台派对的吴亦凡则漫无心迹地看到外面的场面。这支广告视觉上非常丰富，清晰地传递出这个信息：从巴黎到全球，祝您新年幸福。
Nike’s first-ever Chinese new year spot makes a joke about a girl that year after year, out of politeness, tries to refuse her aunt’s gift of a red packet. The aunt is winning the “war” until the girl gets a shiny new pair of red Nike kicks; that’s when things change. Following a hilarious Mexican standoff moment, powered by the new pair of shoes, the girl runs away to escape her aunt’s altruistic intentions. Whenever she wears the shoes, she wins. Her luck spun again with the invention of online red packets (how could you run away from those?). Then, she turns into a woman with her own family; it’s now her time to offer the red pack to her dear aunt. Try guessing who’s wearing the shoes now. Simple, witty, and tender — not bad for a first-timer.
Apple once more chose a moving campaign, shot on iPhone 11, and inspired by true stories of everyday life in great China. Set in Chongqing, the eight-minute-long film tells the story of a grandmother, a mother, and a granddaughter, and the conflicting ideas of the first two. The film typifies a leap in the generational mindset in China. It shows that, despite it all, there’s still great importance given to family ties. It was directed by Theodore Melfi, from the Hollywood movie Hidden Figures and it had Lawrence Sher, from Joker, as the cinematographer. The lead actress is the Chinese celebrity Zhou Xun, who admitted that a sense of freedom comes from being filmed by an iPhone instead of the usual bigger cameras. For the skeptics, the team released an additional behind the scenes film, proving that they indeed used only the smartphone’s three-lens camera. They were aided, of course, by a tone of gear such as drones, stabilizers, reflectors, and lights.
Above all, what everyone is talking about (and praising) this season is the Tmall’s 20-second spot that features a same-sex couple arriving in the family home for the celebrations. While LGBTQ rights were a hot topic last year, it is still an infrequent theme in Chinese mainstream media. For gay people, this time of the year often means shielding one’s true self and maintain fake appearances for the sake of harmony and tradition. It is brave of the young couple in the story to defeat that, as it is brave of Tmall to acknowledge a cohort that’s also meaningful when it comes to consumption.
This spot for ICBC, which was masterfully produced by Stink, has attracted our eye by its array of dynamic shots, great art direction and an overall idea related to the Chinese Zodiac. ICBC is celebrating the new year with a series of Zodiac themed Union Pay cards, and it created a two-minute film that starts with the origins of the story and jumps into a frantic relay race. In a traditional shadow play, a Chinese deity announces that all animals should compete for a place in the pantheon. In the modern world, the Ox starts the race in true parkour-style, passing the stick along to the other animals, each one of the moving in radical ways (except for the Goat, who travels in a high-speed train, calmly reading a book). The race finishes with the Rat, the sober ruler this year. This mega-production has the right mix of adrenaline, tradition, and humor, a formula that’s always appreciated by local audiences.
Airbnb is not a Chinese brand but their charming animation is all about Chinese traditions, family ties and Shanghai urban landscapes. It’s a typical Chinese New Year story where parents get a disappointing phone call from their only daughter a young nurse who has to stay on duty in Shanghai during the holidays. To her joyful surprise, it’s her parents who travel to the big city to join her, renting an Airbnb in the very same alleyway she lives. Following the brand’s ideas of “a home away from home,” they forge the same cozy feeling she had as a child. There’s excellent attention to detail in this animation and, if you are at least familiar to some of the urban features in China, you relate strongly to it. The speed train in the station, the streets covered with neon signs, and the traditional Shikumen architecture, they’re all delightfully reproduced in animation style. This animation is endearing and incredibly well done that we decided to write more about it later since we have a possibility to interview Final Frontier, one of the rare advertising animation productions we have in China.
爱彼迎虽然不是中国本土品牌，但其在春节推出的这支很好看的动画片讲的都是关于中国的传统，关于家庭关系以及上海城市生活。它讲的是一个典型的春节故事，在上海做护士的女儿因为过年要值班，所以打电话告诉在外地的父母过年不能回家了，这让父母很失望。但让她喜出望外的是，这次是父母来到上海与她团聚，并用爱彼迎平台在女儿住的弄堂里租了一间房子，还装饰成她小时候的温馨感觉，体现了爱彼迎的理念“旅途中的家”。这支动画有非常好的细节感，对中国大城市生活有了解的人都会有强烈的感受。高铁、布满霓虹灯牌的大街、传统石库门等，都以愉悦的动画的方式得以重现。这部片子很讨喜，做得也非常不错，SHP+稍后将另有采访其制作公司Final Frontier的报道。Final Frontier是中国为数不多的动画制作公司之一。