Creative Director’s Choice gives creative directors a chance to highlight the best work and spotlight campaigns that are making a difference.
This week, Khlauss Feldhaus, group creative director, North Asia at We Are Social, talks about Apple’s Chinese New Year spot and how it compares to a John Lewis Christmas ad.
Global brands and cultural nuances are the kind of combinations that either go well — like coffee and milk — or terribly wrong — like sleeping pills and laxatives.
Growing up in Brazil in the ‘90s, when our global economy was promising, I remember foreign brands trying to blend in with locals — only to end up looking like gringos dancing samba with stiff necks. I’ve witnessed the same attempts again while living in China in the '00s, where international brands have to cross a much more nuanced cultural border.
Apple's Chinese New Year's Shot On iPhone ads became something we’ve been almost conditioned to anticipate, comparable to the affect of John Lewis' Christmas ads in the West. This year is no exception; the nine-minute commercial that flashes before your eyes, as if it were only 90 seconds, is a heartwarming masterpiece filled with cultural truth from big to small, whether they be about hindrances like flat tires or like a daunting society’s playbook of hard-set expectations.
My favorite moment of the film was of the kid dreaming about "Dinosaur dumplings, fairy dumplings, chocolate dumplings" while her mom craves the most ordinary filling — the leek and egg dumpling. That's the flavor of her family affection, of her mom's tender care; a sentiment that in Chinese families is much more likely to be expressed with food than with words. It shows the respect for the family reigning even over disagreements and polarization.
Even though the taxi-driving mom would need to save up a year's worth of rides to afford an iPhone 11 Pro to attach to her cab's dashboard, this piece feels believable in every one of its amazing frames. I can't say I will shed my savings on a new iPhone just yet, but I know for sure what I want for dinner.
Khlauss Feldhaus is group creative director, North Asia at We Are Social, based in Hong Kong.
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