Ad Nut
Jan 25, 2019

See Apple's new film for Chinese New Year, 'The Bucket'

A mom's love takes on real-world heft in a film by director Jia Zhahngke. Shot on an iPhone, of course.

After its '3 Minutes' film made a big impression at Chinese New Year last year, Apple was more or less required to offer up a big, emotional CNY film again this year. In fact, given the company's well-publicised struggles in China, it's perhaps more crucial to make the most of the season than it was a year ago.

Today marks the debut of the brand's CNY campaign, entitled 'The Bucket', created with TBWA Media Arts Lab Shanghai. It will run on broadcast and digital channels (Weibo, Youku, WeChat, Douyin and Apple’s YouTube channel). 

See more 2019 Chinese/Lunar New Year ad campaigns

Whether it will top last year's film, or improve Apple's standing in the market, will be up to the people of China. But Ad Nut likes Apple's chances.

It's a fairly simple story that nonetheless says a lot. There's no contrived surprise at the end, no tears, no falsely happy ending. Rather, we simply spend time with a mother and her son as he leaves home after the new-year celebrations to return to his city life. And we get to feel the weight of separation on their relationship. And how the love sustaining that relationship endures despite that weight. In less sure hands, the symbolism of the bucket and the carefully packed eggs that it contains could have become trite, but the director, Jia Zhahngke, handles it in an understated and moving way.  

As a good friend of Ad Nut observed after seeing the film, Apple has smartly chosen to focus on the trip back after the great CNY migration. The approach feels fresh in comparison to the majority of brand work, which focuses on the journey home and ends with the warm embrace of family. It will also give the work a longer shelf life. The brand plans to use WeChat to highlight real stories from several families across China. The campaign also includes OOH placements throughout Greater China, and the real-life images highlighted at the end of the film—buckets of eggs are not the only food item parents burden their traveling children with—will be included on Apple’s global Instagram.​ 

Oh yeah, the film was shot on an iPhone XS.

By the way, Ad Nut appreciates that Apple waited until a reasonable date to launch its CNY campaign, unlike certain brands that didn't even let us clean up from New Year's Eve first (see "Singtel thinks you're ready for an emotional Chinese New Year film"). 

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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