Updated: Mar 29, 2018
As 1.5 billion people around the world get ready to usher in the year of the Dog, brands are working hard to win the hearts and wallets of consumers. Every Chinese New Year, competition for market share is intense as brands spend billions on TV commercials, print advertisements, pay-per-click advertising and social media marketing.
What is Chinese New Year?
It is the Chinese festival celebrating the start of the new year, beginning on the second new moon after the winter solstice. This year, the new year is on February 16, 2018 and it’s the year of the dog. The celebrations are marked by visits to family and friends, reunion dinners, red envelopes (or hong baos), exchanging of mandarin oranges, dragon and lion dances, fireworks, firecrackers and more.
How do brands advertise for Chinese New Year?
A recurring theme for most Chinese New Year advertisements is family, reunions and traditions. Advertisers use these themes coupled with strong emotions (e.g. happy or sad) in their campaigns to trigger an emotional response from audiences and influence purchase decisions. This is not surprising since most people rely on emotions to make brand decisions. Let's take a look at the best advertisements for 2018.
Top 10 Advertisements for Chinese New Year 2018
Emotional Advertisements - Family, Reunions, Love
1. Traveloka (Malaysia) - Wander with Wonder
See the world with someone who means the world to you. That was the message of Traveloka's heart-warming commercial about a young mother making a modest living as a taxi driver while raising her son. Despite many challenges, the mother creates unique travel experiences in her taxi and shows her son the excitement of the world around us.
2. Apple (China) - Three Minutes
What if your reunion dinner lasted for 3 minutes? Apple's latest short film about family reunions is based on a true story about a train conductor on the Nanning to Harbin train. The commercial depicts the struggles of the conductor and time spent away from her family. One year, her sister brought her son to meet her at the Kaili station platform. The heart-warming reunion reminds all of us that every minute is precious.
3. SingTel (Singapore) – Mr Lim’s Reunion Dinner
Every reunion dinner is special. But to Mr Lim, it’s the only time of the year that he gets to see his children who are living overseas. As Chinese New Year approaches, he visits the market everyday buying the freshest ingredients for his reunion dinner. But this year, plans changed. His children are too busy with their own lives to visit. Watch the video and find out how this story ends.
4. StarHub (Singapore) – Never Grow Apart
In the story, the male protagonist invites his parents over for a reunion dinner in his new home. As he reminisces about the past, there is a hint of sadness in his mother's eyes as she realizes that her son has grown up and has his own family. After dinner, the son hands her a red envelope or ang bao. When the mother opens the red envelope, she discovers a key and a note saying "Do come over anytime you want."
5. Uber (Singapore) – Ride home to family this Chinese New Year
Uber created this heart-warming video to remind people that Chinese New Year goes beyond just red envelopes and good food. The commercial showed the juxtaposition between an aspiring young chef and her hawker father and how food (and Uber) brought them together for a reunion dinner.
Something Different - Year of The Dog
6. AirAsia (Malaysia) – Pawsperous Chinese New Year 2018
A story told from a different perspective. A dog’s perspective. The advertisement starts with a mother waiting for her family to return for Chinese New Year. She seemed to be talking to her son or “Ah Boy”, asking him if his dad or “Papa” is coming home. Later in the story, it was revealed that “Ah Boy” was actually an energetic Beagle waiting for his owner to return home.
7. The Star Online (Malaysia) – Ah Ma Learns the Truth
A witty commercial about how a Labrador named Chai Chai helps an elderly woman understand why her son, daughter and grandson acted in a certain way. After she learns the truth, the story ends with a heart-warming scene of the family having a happy reunion dinner.
Supporting Social Causes
8. FoodPanda & WWF – “Say No to Shark Fin” Campaign
Instead of spending millions on advertisements, some companies chose to support social causes for Chinese New Year. For example, foodpanda partnered with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and removed shark fin dishes from its platform (from Straits Times).
9. Cathay Pacific – Sustainable Red Envelopes
Giving new meaning to old uniforms that was the theme of Cathay Pacific's Chinese New Year campaign. Cathay Pacific partnered with award winning designer, Angus Tsui and St James Upcycling Centre to transforms old cabin crew uniforms to sustainable red envelopes or hong baos. Watch the full story.
10. Maxis (Malaysia) – It’s time to HuatAR
Traditional red envelopes are going digital. Maxis recently launched its new Huat AR mobile app ahead of Chinese New Year. The mobile app uses augmented reality to display a lion dance over Maxis’ red envelopes, making tradition fun and interesting.
Join 1.5 billion people around the world as they celebrate Chinese New Year and look out for interesting, emotional and funny advertisements. And share your favorites with us! Wishing all our readers a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous Chinese New Year!
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