Nike is taking its first steps into Chinese New Year with a witty ad putting a twist on the hongbao red envelopes tradition.
These envelopes are often filled with money and given to children by elder relatives for good luck. The 90-second spot from Wieden+Kennedy Shanghai depicts a cat-and-mouse game between an aunt attempting to give an envelope and her niece who repeatedly declines out of politeness.
The action begins with the niece as a young girl, donned with a conventional ‘lucky’ Chinese bowl cut. Her aunt tries to give her the red envelope, but the girl is quick to refuse as her mother does not want her to accept it. Not quick enough, however, as the elder slots the envelope into her niece's pocket and leaves abruptly.
Over the next few years, as fashions change and the struggles between both become more intense, the niece eventually dons a pair of Nike’s to try to outrun her determined aunt.
Through factories, festivals, massive crowds, fields and rooftops, the chase goes on for years with the aunt winning each time, even resorting to internet banking to transfer the envelope onto her niece's phone from afar.
Bringing the ad to the present day, the niece is now an adult with her own family. Cue the aunt turning up for Chinese New Year, at which point the niece turns the tables and give an envelope to her relative. But the aunt is prepared with her own Nike’s, a new pair inspired by Chinese mythology, and the chase lives on.
Steve Tsoi, vice president of marketing for Greater China, Nike said: “At Nike, we inspire everyone to make sport a daily habit; even through the festivities of Chinese New Year. The spot takes a playful approach on a Chinese tradition reminding the audience to celebrate and have fun, to stay active during a time when we typically eat a bit too much."
Directed by Steve Ayson and featuring the Chinese-language version of Doris Days 'Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps', the ad promotes Nike’s new line of Chinese New Year-themed footwear which is inspired by the last four cycles of the Year of the Rat.