Chinese New Year Commercials

In recent year, China has seen the commercialisation of Chinese New Year on a scale it has never seen before, not just within the country, but around the world. Every company splashes red and gold packaging onto its products, and creates a “Going Home for Spring Festival” advert.

These adverts have become a hugely anticipated thing. Like the John Lewis Christmas advert, and the super bowl ad reel-rolled into one .

This year, we saw an advert, promoting the Peppa Pig franchise, find viral success, and global sharing.  Where as the majority of ads show metropolitan wealth to a bright poppy soundtrack, or village bliss to tinkling piano music, the Peppa Pig campaign, with a video ad titled in colloquial northern Mandarin 啥是佩琪?(What’s Peppa?), takes inspiration from the realist cinema of China’s Urban Gen directors, such as Zhang Yuan and Jia Zhangke. 

This year also sees Jia Zhangke featured in Apple’s new year commercial. shot on the iPhone, and a total of 6 minutes long, the advert is about as long as a couple of Jia’s signature long panning shots. Even though Jia began his career with films of dissent, the director clearly understands the tropes of the new year commercial, and lends his beautiful cinematography to a heart-warming short story, which delivers on nearly all of them.


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