In Nike’s First Lunar New Year Ad, a Tradition Sparks an Annual Family Face-off

Wieden + Kennedy Shanghai joins brands like Apple in marking the Chinese holiday

Still of a woman with a black turtleneck
Can you outrun an aunt's generosity? Maybe with the right shoes. Nike
Headshot of David Griner

Whether it’s in the U.S. or China, Nike is all about outrunning tradition, a message that usually comes in the form of powerful athletic anthems centered on overcoming social stigma or presumed limitations.

But for its first ad celebrating the Lunar New Year—an Eastern holiday Western brands are increasingly building cinematic spots around—Nike is having a bit more fun with the theme.

The plot centers on the Lunar New Year tradition of the hongbao, a red envelope with money inside given at the new year. A gesture of good luck and appreciation, the red envelope is a frequent gift for young children from relatives.

In the Nike ad from Wieden + Kennedy Shanghai, a young girl has been told by her mother not to accept hongbao, but a crafty aunt is too quick for the girl to elude. As the girl grows, her attempts to deny the gift become an annual—and increasingly athletic—showdown with the aunt.

“At Nike, we inspire everyone to make sport a daily habit, even through the festivities of Chinese New Year,” says Steve Tsoi, the brand’s vp of marketing for greater China. “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.”

With its entry into Lunar New Year advertising, Nike joins a growing trend that includes brands like Apple, which has released branded short films about modern Chinese culture over the past few years.

Wieden + Kennedy Shanghai was founded in 2005, the year the agency network won the Nike China account from JWT.

While the office has produced a range of big-budget work, the Lunar New Year spot represents an opportunity for a bit more visibility both in and outside the Chinese market, with viewers of Chinese descent around the world appreciating the nod to a shared tradition.

CREDITS:

Nike Greater China
VP of Marketing, Greater China: Steve Tsoi
Senior Director, GC Brand Communications: Che Lin
Senior Creative Strategist, GC Brand Communications: Flora Zhang

Agency Credits

Wieden + Kennedy Shanghai
Executive Creative Director: Ian Toombs, Vivian Yong
Creative Directors: Jeff Fang, Matt Meszaros, Matt Skibiak
Art Director: Jing Qiu
Copywriter: Liltree Qian
Executive Producer: Bernice Wong
Sr. Producer: Fang Yuan
Producer: Angela Liu
Account Director: Chuck Xu
Account Executive: Larry Zhong
Senior Planner: Chris Kirkup
Planner: Bart An
Comms Planner: Molly Chen
Head of Designers: Fish Ho
Designer: Helen Yu
Business Affairs: Jessica Deng, Kathy Zhan

External Credits:

Film

Campaign Summary Sheet
Production: The Loft Films Shanghai
Executive Producer: Geok Lem
Production: MJZ (LA)
Executive Producer: Emma Wilcockson
Director: Steve Ayson (MJZ)
DOP: Monika Lenczewska
Producer : Karen O’Brien
Producer: Lynn Wong
Editor: Rick Russell (Final Cut )
Editor: Bing Feng
Assistant Editor: Sophia Solomon ( Final Cut )
Tech: Eddie McClements
Stylist: Avivi Wang
1 st Assistant Director: John Lowe
1 st Assistant Director: Alex Lam
Art Director: Tang Zheng
Assistant art director: Gabby Zhang
Gaffer: Wing
Steadicam: Mario/ Julian

Post Production Credits:

Fin Design Shanghai
Creative Director/VFX Supervisor: Segundo Fernandez
On set VFX Supervisor: Segundo Fernandez
Post Producer: Caryne Chia / Ivy Shi / Chow Chye Yee
Colour: Billy Wychgel
Digital Compositors: Ted Tsui / Joseph Tsang
Online Team: Ran Xiao Xu / Camille Shen
BOTTLES
Post Producer: Fei Fei
Motion Graphics: Sylvie QQ

Music
Assistant to Geok Lem: Cynthia Han Shi Yi
Singer: 杨默依
Creative Director: 沈力
Music Producer: 沈力
Composer (Adaptation): 沈力
Lyrics: 周天尧
Arranger: 重山 , 沈力
Remix: 李文婷
Music Editor: 重山
Jazz Drums/ Percussion: 李平

Campaign Summary Sheet
Guitar: 胡晨
Strings Producer: 刘辉
Voilin: 叶霖, 陈思
Viola: 刘辉
Double Bass: 刘悦
Flute: 黄开
Erhu: 刘卓俊
Voice Engineer: 邢铜, 侯炜
Percussion Engineer: 王恺
Strings Engineer: 斯琴朝格图
Folk Music Engineer: 斯琴朝格图
Production Assistant: 李佳泰
Audio House (Shanghai): Big Knows
Executive Producer: Arthur Monnet
Art Director: Charles Monnet
Sound Supervisor: Charles Monnet
Sound Engineer: Aho
Sound Design: Charles Monnet


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@griner david.griner@adweek.com David Griner is creative and innovation editor at Adweek and host of Adweek's podcast, "Yeah, That's Probably an Ad."
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