Ad Nut
Sep 17, 2019

China chili-sauce brand Lao Gan Ma launches first commercial

THE WORK: China's 'Old Godmother' chili sauce makes an impression on young people with a self-aware two-minute video.

Lao Gan Ma (or "Old Godmother"), a household-name chili sauce in China, has a cult following of hundreds of millions globally thanks to low price and unique flavor. Even American wrestler John Cena expressed his love for the sauce in a video on China's Weibo last year.

Since its founding in 1997, the sauce brand has avoided promotion. But recently, the brand released its first TV commercial, which immediately went viral on Weibo, the mainland's rough equivalent to Twitter.

Catering to internet culture, the two-minute video includes funny editing, dancing and a brainwashing rap. While the brand's 71-year-old founder still appears on its packaging, the icon comes to life in the video as a young 'godmother' who leads a large group of people in a dance move that suggests opening a jar of the sauce. 

The campaign also relates Lao Gan Ma to the young generation by focusing on two struggling graduates who are fighting for a brighter future. The lyrics read "a lunch costs RMB1.50 (US$0.20), and each bottle of Lao Gan Ma contains so much sauce that it can serve you a year and a half."

The young woman in the video loves the sauce so much that she puts it on durian. Ad Nut is not so sure that is a good idea, but commends this venerable product for finding the magic of marketing in the digital era.

Ad 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. You can also check out Ad Nut's Advertising Hall of Fame, or read about Ad Nut's strange obsession with 'murderous beasts'.


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