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Categories: Culture
| On 9 months ago

Nike’s Brilliant CNY Ad Hilariously Brings Out Our ‘Hongbao’ Tradition

Arguably one of the biggest celebrations of the Chinese Culture – Chinese New Year.

I love Chinese New Year, the spectacle of it all, the decorations everywhere, the decadent food served during reunion dinner, the exchange of mandarin oranges but mostly, the receiving of red packets.

Credit – Nike China

Traditionally, red packets would be given out by married relatives to their elders, like their parents or older uncle or aunties and their younger relatives i.e. younger cousins.

In a recently released Nike China advertisement for 2020, Nike plays on the trope of the Chinese sensibilities of overt politeness towards relatives, Chinese New Year and the iconic red packet.

This advertisement revolves around the story of an aunt and her niece, with the aunt giving her dear niece a red packet and the niece trying to reject the red packet in respect and politeness. At the beginning of the advertisement, it is depicted that the niece compliantly accepts the red packet from her aunt.

Then the brilliance begins, the niece starts rejecting the red packet by running away from her aunt and in a close-up, we see that the niece is wearing a pair of red Nike sneakers.

Credit – Nike China

The chase begins as for the next few scenes of the advertisement, the aunt is seen chasing her niece fervently through different locations, a wet market, through a public lion dance performance, hand outstretched, red packet in hand. I must say, the execution of real-life Chinese culture is incorporated very well in this advertisement.

A hilarious scene would be when the niece thought she had finally outrun her aunt, but to only realised that her aunt had sent her an e-ang bao, with a comical zoomed-in shot of her aunt standing by a nearby rooftop, waving in the distance.

Credit – Nike China

The rest of the advertisement continues the push and pull between the 2 relatives. The dynamic shift changes when one of the scenes show that the niece finally has a daughter of her own and tries to give her aunt a red packet. The camera pans down and shows that the aunt had procured herself a pair of Nike’s and ends with the niece chasing the aunt down an open field.

This hilarious advertisement closes with the phrase ‘新年不承让’ which in English is translated to ‘Hold Nothing Back This New Year’. Quite the fitting phrase to close with.

As someone who celebrates Chinese New Year, my only bone to pick is the extreme the niece went through to reject her aunt’s red packet. I know for a fact that at least in these scenarios, it would be ruder to reject the ang bao than to accept it.

However, hat’s off to Wieden+Kennedy Shanghai for such a well-executed and creative 90-second advertisement.

Have a look at the hilarious advertisement here:


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Leo Goh

Way too curious for my own good.

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