Festive Apple ad applauded

By Wang Qi Source:Global Times Published: 2020/1/12 22:13:41

Cultural sensitivity impresses online audience

A Sina Weibo screenshot from Daughter, Apple’s 2020 Chinese Spring Festival promotional video Photo: web

Chinese internet users have been applauding and forwarding an Apple Spring Festival promotional video for its delicate and culturally sensitive storytelling.

US filmmaker Theodore Melfi shot the 8-minute video with an iPhone11 Pro and Apple CEO Tim Cook posted it on the account of his Twitter-like Sina Weibo on Saturday. 

Based on a true story, the video talks about a single mother from Chongqing Municipality in Southwest China who left her mother and brought up her daughter alone by driving a taxi. 

On a rainy Spring Festival eve when the single mother was about to finish work, she saw a passenger wave at her, who turned out to be her mother, carrying a box of dumplings in her hand. The family reunified. 

"There is nothing more special and enduring than the strength and love of family," Cook posted with the video, which had received more than 2.64 million views by press time. 

Daughter is the third annual iPhone video since 2018. "What an emotional story," posted one Weibo user. "Apple's short video touches me every year and that inspires me to record my daily life with my phone."

A Nike festival commercial released last week has also received a thumbs-up. 

The video shares insights into the money given to children as a Chinese Lunar New Year gift, usually put in a red envelope or paper bag. 

Every year a Chinese girl sporting Nike sneakers tries to flee from her aunt as she insists on giving her a red envelope. 

Most users interpret the girl's behavior as politeness. 

The story ends up with the girl, grown-up and married, chasing after her aunt trying to give her instead a red envelope.  

"I really like the Nike video," one Weibo user posted below the video.

"It's really close to people's daily life and funny, and I wish I would have such a nice aunt as well."

The comment had received more than 30,000 likes and 3.3 million views as of press time. 

The Nike and Apple videos exhibited "weakened commerciality," but enhanced "emotional resonance" to assert a positive image for the brands, Zhu Qiang, an associate professor from the School of Journalism and Communication of Nanjing Normal University, told the Global Times on Sunday. 

Zhu said that such a promotion emphasizing cultural aspects rather than product functions can win customers' hearts. 

Embedding Chinese elements and scenarios makes the videos popular and also shows the rising status of Chinese culture in the world, Zhu believed. 

International companies should be aware of and respect Chinese culture if they want to perform well in such a huge market, said Zhu.  

Some internet users also compared the successful commercials with previous fails by fashion brands including Dolce & Gabbana and Burberry. 

In mid-November 2018, a promo for Dolce & Gabbana triggered a wave of public wrath as Asian audiences interpreted it as racist. 

The promo showed an Asian woman fumbling with long chopsticks in an attempt to eat Italian food with a voiceover that seemed to mock Chinese speech.  

Burberry in early 2019 released a series of weird family portraits with gloomy weather and pale non-smiley faces, which internet users compared to horror films and clearly not fitting the festive mood. 

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