Time is precious: Apple's Chinese New Year ad 'Three Minutes'

As we enter the Year of the Rat, advertising creatives across Asia offer their favourite Chinese New Year (CNY) campaigns from over the years as we celebrate the best work from the festive period and hear their views on what is best in class.

Time. I barely have any to write this piece. You have even less to read it (it’s a miracle you're reading thus far).

In today’s world of bite size content, instanews and impulse wars, it’s really refreshing to see that people still take the time for what matters: meeting family during CNY to connect with one another and honour a bond that runs as deep as our DNA. An entire country comes to a halt, millions migrate.

And so I found it more than fitting when Apple made ‘time’ the topic of their 2018 CNY film: three minutes. The bittersweet reunion of a mother and her son for which she only has three minutes. As a parent, this story tore my heart into pieces. On the one hand, I feel for the mother who has to work during a period when everyone takes time off to be with their family. But there is an underlying message which makes this story actually bittersweet for me. A cultural commentary if you will on an achievement-oriented society.

There is a boy who hasn’t seen his mother for a year. And in order to connect with her, he recites a maths equation to prove his worth, not knowing that in this moment, all his mother wants is to connect, to embrace him, maybe say how much she loves him. But he just goes on 1x1=1, 1x2=2, 3x1=3, 4x1=4, 5x1=5 … And as he’s so dutifully reciting and his mother is desperately waiting for him to finish before she has to leave again, I’m getting angry about their situation.

Both parties seek affection but aren’t getting any, because they misjudged what the other person values. All they needed was time. Not even words. A story that really makes you think about what’s getting in our way to make time for the people that matter in our lives.

Sascha Kuntze, chief creative officer, BBH Asia Pacific

Check out the latest holiday ads here, and keep an eye on The Drum's ongoing Chinese New Year coverage.

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