CreativeHunt’s 20 Ads for the 2020 Lunar New Year

Lunar New Year is a time for family, huge meals and boring TV. Or at least it used to be. More and more, it’s becoming a time for the ad industry to tap into the moment as brands and their creative agencies launch campaigns for the holiday season.

In 2020, Alibaba’s Tmall went viral with an ad nodding to same-sex couples, Nike entered the fray with its first ever Chinese New Year spot and there was more traditional sentiment than you could shake a red packet at. At the same time, regional companies proved that with the right message, their creative could easily outpace global corporations, with Singtel’s funny spot about stubbornness racking up more than 10 times the views of Apple’s multi-generational sketch on YouTube.

Here’s a summary of what the big companies in the worlds of retail, tech and banking/property are doing, and an approximate number of views they have on YouTube in the run-up to Chinese New Year’s Eve.

TMALL: REUNION DINNER

Alibaba-owned online retailer Tmall stole the headlines with its ad to promote a site-wide discount with a subtle reference to gay and lesbian couples. The video sees a young man show up at his family reunion dinner with his boyfriend much to his parents’ surprise. But the clip has been praised in China as a rare step forward for the LGBTQ community. Alibaba said in a statement to CNN: “Chinese New Year is a time for family reunion and inclusion, and the ad is a creative expression to celebrate such an occasion.”

NIKE: THE GREAT CHASE

Every Lunar New Year, Chinese people traditionally give red envelopes known as hongbao    (红包). Family elders usually give these red packets to the young, who return the favor once they are grown and married.

As a show of respect, the proper etiquette is to kindly decline the gifts before eventually accepting in politeness. But what happens when the game is taken to another level, as it is in Nike’s first ever Chinese New Year spot through Wieden+Kennedy Shanghai? One young girl is determined to find out as a great chase ensues in Wieden+Kennedy Shanghai’s amusing ad.

ADIDAS: 2020 CNY

Sports brand adidas brings a bout of tradition and street style in this highly choreographed spot. The commercial features a mix of sped up tai chi, soccer skills and breakdancing to see in the new year with force and conviction. The work was created by Haomai Advertisement, Anamacliq Shanghai, Grassjellystudio, Touch Down Art Department, and Nakid Co.

ASADI: CNY 2020

Malaysian video company Hatchtag Media created this short film for slipper brand Asadi to promote self-improvement for 2020. It reminds us that sometimes we can get distracted by our ultimate goals in life but it’s important to enjoy the journey.

EU YAN SANG MALAYSIA: WHERE LOVE IS, HOME IS WHERE IT IS

This deep and meaningful spot for Eu Yan Sang explores the complex nature of a family’s roots with a daughter discovering she isn’t the biological child of her parents. But despite the realization, the commercial emphasizes that real love means much more than a surname and it all starts at home.

MR.DIY: THE GIFTS UNNOTICED

It’s a showdown between the man who won’t give and the girl who just won’t give up in this sweet spot for MR.DIY. But whether it’s a big handout or a simple kind gesture, we all have something to give. The ad, which racked up over a million views on YouTube, encourages consumers to see in the new year by giving whatever they can.

WATSONS: HAPPY BEAUTIFUL YEAR!

Watsons tells its Chinese New Year story through song in this musical spot that bridges the gap between the older and younger generations of a family. It’s the most dramatic and exciting family reunion that takes place at the trendiest family mansion as Chan Fong, Chui Ling, Han Xiiao Aii, Bernard Hiew, Freddie Huang, Catz, and Pink Tan bring Chinese Opera to life in the name of a Happy Beautiful Year. It notched 6.6 million views on YouTube.

APPLE: DAUGHTER

A new year for Apple usually means a new line of products and devices to buy. But the brand’s new seasonal short shows it does have a heart after all. The story is about three generations of Chinese women coming together at CNY and it’s the latest in the ‘Shot on iPhone’ series, plugging the 11 Pro model. The film, created by TBWA\Media Arts Lab, highlights the importance of family and is helmed by Oscar-nominated director Theodore Melfi (Hidden Figures) while China’s leading actress, Zhou Xun, stars. Hope by Varqa Buehrer features in the soundtrack and the film notched 1.1 million YouTube views.

MAXIS: THE MOST UNFORGETTABLE CHINESE NEW YEAR

At this time of year, we all look forward to the people, stories and laughter that come with CNY, but what happens when all’s said and done and the celebrations are over? Malaysian telco Maxis shows how you can extend the joy with a tear-jerking short that got 1.2 million views on YouTube.

GRAB: HUATEVER YOU WANT, GRAB GOT!

Ride-hailing app, food delivery service and cashless payment solution Grab wants to teach you how to be a tai chi master this Chinese New Year with this action-packed spot featuring all the moves. Little bro is the superstar as he learns to deal with his mother’s demands via the martial art and handy technology. It got 2 million views.

SINGTEL: HIS GRANDFATHER'S ROAD

Two families face off in this funny spot from Singaporean telco Singtel that notched over 10 million views on YouTube. On the first day of CNY, both camps are on their way to visit relatives and friends when their cars meet head on and they each refuse to give way. Find out what happens as they stubbornly decide to wait it out.

ECOWORLD: TOGETHERNESS IS HAPPINESS

Time, food and togetherness are the themes of this sentimental spot for Malaysian property developer Ecoworld. It shows that no matter how much our lives change as the years pass by, the most important things remain the same and the holiday season is a time to appreciate that.

SETIA: THE MANY CELEBRATIONS

Traditions and celebrations naturally evolve over time. Some are forgotten and replaced by new ones and some remain unchanged. In 2020, there’s no right way to celebrate the new year, but one thing that’s certain is that people will be together this Spring Festival week. Property developer Setia wishes you a “smooth and prosperous” Lunar New Year in this uplifting ad that earned over a million views on YouTube.

RHB BANK: HEART BAKER

The power of positivity is celebrated in this ad from Malaysian bank RHB. It tells the true story of Chef Leah, a 10-year-old girl who bakes cakes to sell to raise money for her sister’s cerebral palsy treatment. The message from the brand and agency FCB Kuala Lumpur is to promote the idea of never giving up and the ad got over 2 million views on YouTube.

HONGLEONG BANK MALAYSIA: THE GROWN UPS' TABLE

This Chinese New Year, Ah Girl is determined to earn her place at the Grown Ups’ Table. Will she succeed? Find out in this funny ad from Hongleong Bank Malaysia that got 2.5 million views on YouTube, as she does everything in her power to dine with the adults and graduate from fried chicken, fish balls and French fries.

PRUDENTIAL MALAYSIA: EVERY GIFT BECOMES A BLESSING

Technology aids tradition in this ad for Prudential Malaysia as a young boy wins back the faith of his father. A secret food recipe is at the center of the story alongside the message: every gift becomes a blessing when you do something about it. It got 4.5 million YouTube views.

ZESS BISCUITS: ZESS & JACKER 

A special new year promise is made in this commercial for Zess Biscuits as a young girl and her grandma share their love for their favorite food on Chinese New Year Eve. Despite work commitments and the years passing by, the ad shows how that nothing can come between the pair and their appetites for Jacker potato chips and Zess wafer rolls.

DAIKIN MALAYSIA: THE TWINS

There’s a big plot twist in this ad from Japanese air con company Daikin, which promotes the message that the greatest love can endure the greatest sacrifice. A mother and daughter’s relationship is the focus as they deal with family issues before bonding over a meal.

COWAY: TINY PRAYER

Malaysian water and air purifier Coway’s Chinese New Year offering is another ad to promote the message that the best gifts come from the heart. A young boy tries to stay awake for longer to keep his granny young and fresh as she plays along to make his tiny prayer come true. The ad was viewed 2.7 million times on YouTube.

TENAGA NASIONAL: REALITY NOT VIRTUAL

Traveling home at this time of year can be daunting prospect considering the amount of people on the roads, railways and at airports across Asia. But Malaysian electricity firm Tenaga Nasional knows the importance of being with the ones you love for Lunar New Year and shows it in a frantic four-minute film (2.7 million views) fueled by a virtual reality experience. Strap in and enjoy the ride.