Staff Reporters
Feb 7, 2024

BMW's playful take at ancient Chinese superstition in Lunar New Year campaign

The 14-minute mockumentary produced by TBWA China is driven by humour, and follows a mission led by four BMW engineers and scientists as they seek to set a path to good fortune for all.

For their highly-anticipated Lunar New Year 2024 film, BMW has unveiled a 14-minute mockumentary that takes a lighthearted-dig at some of the superstitions that are associated with the festivities, namely one's lunar zodiac year. 
All done in good humour, BMW envisions a world where everyone wears red to ward off the superstitious uncertainty from 'Ben Ming Nian'—one's lunar zodiac year that comes every 12 years, and according to ancient Chinese superstition, is potentially a time of unstable luck and setbacks.
For BMW, who were born in 1916, the Year of the Dragon would be their Ben Ming Nian. But rather than running from the superstition, the 14-minute mockumentary shows BMW bravely facing its situation by attempting to dispel the mystery surrounding the impending doom, and establish a universe of good fortune for everyone—regardless of their zodiac sign.
Following a mission entitled 'Project Jupiter' led by four BMW engineers and scientists, the film humorously depicts their endeavours to banish the precariousness from Ben Ming Nian by exploring solutions to avoid Jupiter’s influence. After many attempts, the four hero characters in the film devise the Red Luck Theory, ending the uncertainty forever.
Chinese culture places a lot of emphasis on the colour red. In order to ward off misfortune and provide good luck, it is customary for people to wear the colour during their lunar zodiac year. For many Chinese people, wearing red socks, pants, accessories, apparel and other items in red has become second nature. 
In the film, BMW plays on the 'wear red' superstition and takes it to the extreme, dressing up top management, staff, dealers, and customers in the auspicious red hue, changing its global headquarters to a red one, and even increasing the manufacturing of red BMWs.
"Leveraging the creative opportunity of our brand being born in the Year of the Dragon, this year’s campaign playfully continued our obsession to bring joyful surprise, sincerely wishing people good fortune and happiness in 2024," said Stéphane Koeppel, VP brand management, BMW China.
"The conundrum this Lunar New Year presented BMW with was an exciting opportunity to navigate, while allowing us to continue to celebrate the brands deep respect for Chinese culture, tradition and sharing joy," said Ronnie Wu, chief creative officer, TBWA China.
Campaign's take: The film brings a well-needed and refreshing approach by not taking itself too seriously. It embraces a lighthearted tone and injects humor, filling a void that can often be absent in such campaigns. By creatively tapping into the fact that BMW was born in the Year of the Dragon, the mockumentary cleverly explores some of the superstitions associated with Chinese New Year celebrations. What sets it apart from other festive campaigns at this time of the year is its deviation from the common theme of filial piety, instead offering an entertaining and original narrative and format. Despite its 14-minute duration, the film remains engaging from start to finish, challenging any initial concerns about its length.
Client: BMW China
Creative agency: TBWA Juice Beijing\ TBWA BOLT Shanghai
Production:  TBWA BOLT Shanghai \ BMW China\ MOD
Campaign Asia

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