During the 2019 Spring Festival, the brand film that had the biggest impact was “What is Peppa?” (啥是佩奇?), a live-action trailer for the Alibaba Pictures co-production “Peppa Pig Celebrates Chinese New Year,” which became a must-watch piece in its own right. Directed by Zhang Dapeng (who also helmed the animated film), it shared a touching story of a rural grandfather’s tireless efforts to figure out what his city-dwelling grandson was talking about when he said he wanted a “peiqi” (Chinese for Peppa).
A year later, director Zhang takes viewers back to that rural hamlet, this time on behalf of Tencent’s short video platform Weishi, with “Welcome Back to Pink Pig Village” (欢迎回到粉猪村, the name “Peppa” is bleeped throughout). Tencent has struggled to gain market share in the short video market dominated by Douyin, though it has been increasing its stake in rival Kuaishou as it continues to promote its own short video platforms, of which Weishi is the most prominent.
The humor-filled plot revolves around short-video creator Chen Guanghui’’s holiday trip back to his very rural hometown, where residents have a hard time fathoming what he is up to as he tries to film them, confusing Weishi with one of the satellite TV networks, and requiring explanations of how social media popularity works — all in a manner that echoes the grandfather’s search for information in “What is Peppa?”
Things come to a head as Chen’s father accuses him of engaging in useless work, and Chen becomes inspired to prove his worth by creating a video that will help the villagers sell their harvest of apples, with the explicit aim of outdoing Zhang’s “What is Peppa?” film that brought the village to fame. In his video Chen uses a popular “brainwashing” technique from Chinese advertising in which two groups face off while shouting repetitive slogans at each other. The clip goes viral across China via Weishi, the surplus of apples is sold, and a final plug reminds viewers of Tencent Weishi’s virtual red envelope campaign for the holiday.
Reactions to the video have been positive overall, although some viewers have opined that the content is frivolous and lacks the emotional resonance of “What is Peppa?”