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Chinese New Year 2019: Our Top Picks
London, UK
LBB’s Laura Swinton shares her favourite work that’s ringing in the Year of the Pig
Over the past few weeks, the Asia Pacific markets have been sharing their Chinese New Year efforts and this year has seen some gems. Aside from the usual themes of family reunion and togetherness, other executions have dealt with the frustrations and young people's experience as they struggle with expectations and the desire to carve out their own paths. The most interesting work seems to fall into beautifully-shot emotional cryfests or electric, highly stylised comedy. Anyway, here are some of my faves.

Apple - The Bucket

This year, Apple’s Chinese New Year film was directed by award-winning Chinese director, Jia Zhahngke – the lush cinematography belying the fact it was shot on iPhone. From TBWA\Shanghai, it’s a slow burn story of maternal love that really kind of got to me.

Tenega - The ONG-est Hours

I’m not sure that I hold with the idea of any ad ‘winning’ any event – Super Bowl, Christmas – but within the ad community, this banging production from agency Reprise Digital for Malaysian electricity supplier Tenaga Nasional Berhad has proven popular. A quartet of housebound youngsters try to escape their family gathering in order to go out and party in a tale that marries high octane comedy with vibrant, creative direction (so kudos to Passion Pictures and director Darrel Hyon-Le).

What is Peppa?

Move over Zhu Bajie, there’s a new porcine hero who’s about to take over China. After years of trying to crack the Middle Kingdom, where she has been banned on social media, Peppa has finally found her way in with the blessing of the CCP. Making the most of the Year of the Pig, Entertainment One has created a Peppa Pig film that’s all about Chinese New Year – debuting on February 5th in the USA and China. Ahead of the movie director Zhang Dapeng a sweet – and beautifully shot – short about a grandad trying to get his head around Peppa (or Peiqi as she’s known in Mandarin). Sorry Pops – and parents of China – there literally is no escape. 

Heineken - Holiday Troubles

The pressure for the perfect Chinese New Year party gets too much for these city slickers in a campaign for Heineken that encourages a more easy-going approach to CNY. The campaign from Publicis Singapore and director Justin Reardon has rolled out across 15 markets.

Caltex - Lucky Break

The theme of the suffocating family reunion returns in this Singaporean film from Wavemaker for petroleum company Caltex. An awkward taxi driver struggles with the weight of expectations in a social film that ties into a big CNY competition with a cash prize.

Olay - Next Destination

BBDO China and Olay rail against social convention and expectation in a film that tunes into the shifting ambitions of China’s young women. From a strategic point of view it’s an interesting flirtation with the concept of individualism and non-conformity.

Coca-Cola - Clay Dolls

McCann Shanghai and Coca-Cola have gone all out for their celebrations. Not only have they brought the adorable traditional Chinese New Year boy and girl dolls to life they’ve also taken over the whole of the coastal city of Qingdao (home of the famous Tsingtao beer, FYI) – which is a pretty ambitious undertaking. Luckily Coke’s brand colour ties in perfectly with the traditional CNY red.

Tiger - Uncage New Beginnings

It may be the Year of the Pig but for this beer brand, every year is the Year of the Tiger. In Malaysia, Tiger Beer and Ogilvy have created a zingy, neon-tinged movie about a tattoo artist that shows that following your passion doesn’t have to come at the expense of family.

Daikin - Forget Me Not

Be warned – this spot for air conditioning brand Daikin Malaysia is a real weepy. It’s from agency WKNDPRJCTS and it’s an emotional tale that really hits.

Pampers - Babies

Saatchi & Saatchi Shanghai taps into a universal insight for Pampers’ Chinese New Year campaign. Travelling with babies is not easy – and parents also have to deal with the stress of worrying about their babies disturbing fellow passengers. Pampers flips all that with a spot that encourages travellers to show support for young families flying home during the festive period.

Watsons - Happy Beautiful Year

Malaysian personal care brand Watsons goes for pure, vinegar-soaked sass in this delightfully venomous musical starring social media stars Jinnyboy, Amber Chia, and Pink Tan. It’s worth watching for the styling alone, which borrows much from old Chinese soap ads from the early 20th century - but with an added oomph.

Digi - Grandfather Stories

A young man strives and struggles to find his feet, swept up in modern life – but eventually realises that his grandfather will always be there for him in this tender tale from Malaysia’s Digi Telecommunications.  

Air Asia - CNY 2019

Not going to lie, there’s a lot going on here in this fairly enthusiastic film for Air Asia. But cutting through the zaniness is another tale of a family failing to connect – this time it takes a no-nonsense granny and a fairly random flock of Air Asia cabin crew to knit things together and create the ‘perfect Lou Sang’ or tossed salad, a Lunar New Year Tradition.

McDonald’s - The Taste of Home

The Prosperity Burger has become something of a CNY tradition for McDonald’s  across Asia. DDB celebrates with a story of a lonely traveller connecting with her sisters on social media through a shared nostalgia for the Prosperity Burger.
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