Ad Nut
Feb 15, 2018

Ad Nut's in the mood for Chinese New Year advertising

Brands roll out Chinese New Year campaigns to usher in the Year of the Dog on 16 February.

It's that time of the year when the great CNY migration inspires advertisers to focus on mixed, bittersweet emotions of longing, anxiety, joy and gratitude in anticipation of reunions during the family festival. Ad Nut will be adding new lunar-new-year work here as it appears throughout the runup to the holiday.   

Advertiser: Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB)
Agency: Society and Ansible

Many CNY ads tend to get a bit heavy emotionally (see below), but here's one that instead focuses on a group of siblings rediscovering their celebratory superpowers. Ad Nut tires of advertisers lamenting about excessive mobile-phone use, but in this case it makes a nice lead-in to a fun story.

Advertiser: Petronas
Agency: N/A

The brand that arguably made the annual emotional new year video a thing submits a father-son tale for 2018.

Agency: Isobar
Ad Nut loves a piece of effective advertising that also makes for good entertainment. After an award-winning stint last year, the philosophical, singing plumber makes a comeback singing praises for the online marketplace. Ad Nut hopes Facebook won't come after him for the rights to '32665'.

Agency:, with Passion Pictures and directed by Kyra & Constantin
The online retailer splashes out on a high-production-value animated tale that brings its dog icon to adorable, 3D life. The tale of the pup, named Joy, and a worm-thieving heron centres, perhaps unsurprisingly, on giving. The production spanned Melbourne, London and Barcelona, and the brand will be pushing the video out across a wide range of Chinese online channels. Given that it's going to be the Year of the Dog, Ad Nut is prepared to see even more murderous beasts than usual in advertising. At least this one seems genuinely kind-hearted.

Advertiser: AirAsia
Agency: Dentsu Aegis Network

This is a very cute commercial despite the murderous beast. But wishing people a "pawsperous" new year is unforgivable.

Advertiser: Nissan
Agency: Kingdom Digital

Who said you can't build hard sells and product benefits right into a Chinese New Year ad? Nissan manages to do both here, with a story of overblown sibling rivalry. Ad Nut particularly likes the pickup truck that doubles as a cool bath.

Advertiser: WeChat, Tencent
Agency: FF Shanghai

WeChat has totally embraced signposting in this clip, another entertaining work that speaks effectively about the WeChat red packet application primed for the festive giving period.

Advertiser: HKTB
Agency: Grey Group Hong Kong; The Sweet Shop
The tourism board harks back to tradition and a few iconic spots in the city as a preview to the International Chinese New Year parade, taking place this Friday. Ad Nut is glad that there's not one murderous beast in sight in this spot, unlike the HKTB's summer campaign.

Advertiser: Nokia
Agency: The Secret Little Agency and Mother

'Be the gift', released for China, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam, underscores that time is the best gift for the family. The spot also marks Nokia's first major campaign since its relaunch in China and features the Nokia 6 model. It is also the first major work from a joint venture between The Secret Little Agency and Mother. 

Advertiser: Singtel
Agency: In-house; made by Akanga Films

Singtel tackles the empty-nest syndrome and the loneliness of a widower, played to perfection by veteran actor Lim Kay Tong, who makes preparations for the reunion dinner even though it looks like he may be alone. Spoiler alert: Ad Nut is relieved that his children finally came to their senses; Disneyland Tokyo and deadlines can wait.

Advertiser: Tiger Beer
Agency: BBDO Singapore

Along the same lines, 'The Letter' by Tiger Beer makes a case for overseas Singaporeans to return home albeit with a slightly more forthright plea from a parent. The release is part of Tiger Beer's Reunion Project, running into the second year, in which it ran a contest offering free flight tickets or a pack of beer as consolation prizes. A nice touch, Ad Nut must say, but offering free beer to make somenone's reunion dinner complete, as Tiger Beer says, is as stale an idea as a cutout of your loved one at the dinner table.

Advertiser: Apple China
Claimed to be shot entirely on iPhone X, this seven-minute short film by acclaimed Hong Kong director Peter Chan is a feast for the eyes on the mainland's homecoming exodus. The film, inspired by real incidents, however tells a rather unusual story of reunion where a train conductor is able to spend only three minutes with her son due to her six-day long shift. Ad Nut feels sad about the many young children who are forced into rote learning after watching this film. Apple hopes viewers will be inspired to pick up the phone and film their own reunions.

Advertiser: Budweiser
Agency: Anomaly Shanghai

Marathon is another piece of work that shines the spotlight of children who are reluctant to go home during the lunar new year. The film premiered at Times Square New York last month. 

Ad NutAd Nut is a surprisingly literate woodland creature that for unknown reasons has an unhealthy obsession with advertising. Ad Nut gathers ads from all over Asia and the world for your viewing pleasure, because Ad Nut loves you. Check out Ad Nut's Advertising Hall of Fame.


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