Chinese New Year is here, and it’s also a time for companies to exercise their creative chops.
Less of a hard-sell of their products, but more of a means to spread heartwarming messages of the season, companies usually use these ads as a means to endear themselves to consumers.
Admittedly, while I was scouring Youtube for Singaporean CNY-related ads, there were admittedly more from our neighbours in Malaysia (you can check out their round-up here), but I still managed to find some which have captured the spirit of the season this year.
While CNY is a time for reunion for many of us, there are also some who aren’t as lucky, and don’t have places to visit, or people to visit them.
Pokka Singapore gives us a peek into the heartbreaking story of Ms. Chen, who, albeit having 10 other siblings, spends the period alone.
“They have their own families. I do not want to be a burden to them,” she says, her eyes welling up with tears as she revealed that she only has herself and Buddha to rely on.
For her, the first day of CNY is just like any other day – spent alone and watching TV programmes, tearing up when thinking about how in spite of how everyone’s houses are bustling with noise, hers is quiet.
But of course, an ad like this usually entails a happy ending, and soon, a few members of her family appear at her doorstep, and they sit down to have a hearty steamboat with, of course, Pokka drinks.
It’s a timely reminder that the periods with the most number of gatherings is also some of the loneliest times for a few among us.
For a few years now, StarHub has collaborated with popular Youtuber Eden Ang for their annual Chinese New Year advertisements, each year chronicling the misadventures of him, a milliennial trying his hardest to navigate the sometimes complicated traditions of CNY.
This year’s ad sees him being ‘promoted’ to an angbao-giving role, as he comes up with a deceptively simply code with his (I’m assuming) wife, who’s in charge of giving out the red packets.
Soon enough, disaster strikes and she ends up misinterpreting his signals, giving out angbao after angbao to a very lucky boy, who then runs over and yells, “Uncle Eden, I love you!”, to which he has no choice but to smile as relatives gathered around, applauding him for his ‘generousity’.
As millennials ourselves, we can definitely relate to his plights in every year’s iteration, and it seems like StarHub is appealing to a pretty specific market, in spite of not having any hint of their products in the ads.
This ad in particular caught the attention of many, as I saw a good number of friends sharing it on Facebook – and it’s not difficult to see why.
Filmed like good old wuxia movie, it’s even titled “Kungfu Fighter, Hidden Sugar”, a nod to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000), which brought wuxia to the forefront of the international stage.
Action-packed and yet educational, the ad guilt-trips us into more sensible snacking during our visitations, revealing the amount of sugar in CNY favourites like pineapple tarts, soft drinks and yu sheng.
Year in and out we’re haunted with infographics on how many calories, fat and sugar our festive feasting would cost us, but I think we can safely say that this year’s reminder was definitely one of the most creative of them all.
Budget airline Jetstar turned on the waterworks this year with their campaign. Reiterating the importance of CNY being a time for family, they created this ad as a tie-in with their promotion which allows customers to switch their flight dates for free if they’ve booked to travel out of Singapore on 27 and 28 Jan.
Offering unwitting young Singaporeans free tickets, they unhesitatingly took up the deal, albeit being told that the tickets were only valid during the CNY period. However, they were then delivered a dose of guilt when the reactions of their parents and family members were revealed. All of them rejected the offer, saying that spending time with family was more important, and they feel like ‘something is missing’ if their children aren’t with them during the period.
With that, the younger ones retracted their acceptance of the offer, and after being reunited with their family, were offered $888 worth of vouchers to travel with their family at a later date.
Pretty smart PR there, Jetstar.
Most Bromance (And Best Use Of GoPro)
Lion dances are a perennial part of CNY, and this year, Singtel’s ad covers the hard work that goes on behind-the-scenes of the awesome displays we witness at office celebrations and Chinatown.
Following a troupe made up of boys in their teens and early 20s, it also has one of the best uses of GoPro, and we get to experience the view the individuals doing all those gravity-defying stunts.
Capturing rather successfully the playfulness of the boys, the gruelling hours taken to perfect a jump, the occasional scuffles and the subsequent punishments, Singtel emphasises the importance of the value of togetherness – one that doesn’t simply need to come from those related to you by blood.
Given Apple’s popularity in China, it’s no surprise that the tech giant doesn’t hold back when it comes to CNY. For example, last year, they released two limited edition Apple Watch models exclusive solely exclusive to Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Taiwan and China – markets with a large number of Chinese customers (and potential ones too). Featuring a full gold-red combination (red straps, gold pins), it was created in line with how the colours “symbolise good fortune in the Chinese tradition”.
This year, Apple is taking the route more generous and giving away pairs of Beats Solo3 headphones in – you guessed it – its Product (RED) variant. Also region-limited, customers need to buy select Mac or iPhone products during a one-day sale, which took place on 6 Jan.
To appeal to budding artists and art-appreciators, they’ve also released CNY-themed folk art done by 5 young Chinese artists using Apple products and various apps.
Perhaps not specifically for the Singaporean CNY-celebrating crowd, Apple has released a few ads this year, one of which relating to how their products are not only artist-friendly, but ones that can bridge the gaps between tech and the traditional.
The one above is simple enough – a 3-gen family photo is taken with an iPhone, and a precocious little girl realises that her grandfather looks somewhat sullen. In a bid to cheer him up, she doodles on the photo and shows him the final product, and his stoic expression cracks, and he breaks out into a wide smile.
It’s a simple, yet effective ad. Given how young children using tech products are quite a contentious topic these days, Apple’s approach is that there are still ways that it can actually have a positive effect.
CNY Is Here!
Chinese New Year is just one day away, and this year’s ads didn’t disappoint.
Which ones are your favourite, and did we miss out any? Let us know!