The Singapore-based telco focused on the theme of the reunion dinner in 2018, which is an important part of Chinese New Year and is traditionally held on the eve of the festivities. This year, the ad shines the spotlight on overseas Singaporeans who think they have successfully dodged spending Chinese New Year at home, only to rediscover the importance of family and tradition.
The story, titled ‘‘From Ma, With Love’, follows three Singaporeans based in Melbourne, Australia, and living together as flatmates, using school as a pretext for avoiding Chinese New Year and returning home as they expressed their disdain for the festival. All three agreed in unison that back at university is a welcome escape from the annual obligations of decorating, feasting and doing the bidding of their respective parents and families.
As they unpacked their suitcases, one of the flatmates, Charmaine, finds to her surprise several tubs of Chinese New Year goodies, including her favourite homemade pineapple tarts. Packed along with it is a letter from her mother that one of her flatmates picks up and reads aloud, to her embarrassment.
As the flatmate reads the letter, the film unfolds through a montage of letter writing from mother to daughter, baking and other expressions of care, allowing the viewer to become privy to a parent’s hopes and wishes for her child even as she herself comes to terms with the prospect of an empty nest.
Charmaine’s mother’s words, heard as a voiceover, evoke memories of Chinese New Years’ past to all three flatmates who come to realise the universal sense of family and how blessed they are. Feeling remorseful, they instinctively reach for their phones to call home.
“Sometimes we get too caught up in the preparations for Chinese New Year that we miss the forest for the trees. Beneath all the festive ritual and fuss, the New Year is ultimately about family, shared histories and new beginnings,” said Lian Pek, the vice president of group strategic communications and brand at Singtel.
“As the most important holiday in the Chinese calendar, this is also a time of renewal and reflection and we hope this film will touch your heart and make you smile.”
Like its 2018 Chinese New Year and Christmas ad, ‘From Ma, With Love’ was created and produced in collaboration with Akanga Film Asia. It will air on Singtel TV and various social media channels from 4 January to 19 February.
To view past Chinese New Year ads from Singtel and other brands, go here.