CBI Video: Eight Brand Films for the Year of the Rat

Ning Hao directed BMW’s brand film for the Spring Festival

Releasing short films for the Lunar New Year is a tried and tested way for brands to connect with Chinese consumers in celebrating the country’s biggest holiday, and over the past several weeks we’ve been highlighting notable creative efforts in the genre. 

Rather than singling out one more for this week’s video pick, we’ve compiled a selection of eight of the most talked-about brand films of the holiday season (including highlights from our previous selections). While many employ heartwarming themes of family relationships and reunions to establish emotional bonds with viewers, others focused on humor, celebration or action to stand out in marking the holiday.


Director Ning Hao’s “Bayier’s Spring Festival” (巴依尔的春节) imagines the brand’s Chinese name change to Baoma (宝马, “precious horse”) in the early 1990s from a young boy’s perspective, bringing his broken family back together again in the process. The 22-minute-long film has been among the most watched of the season on Weibo, with nearly 67 million views to date, underscoring the appeal of an engaging and well-executed story.


Airbnb worked with the renowned Taiko studios on its first foray into animation, a touching, wordless story that upends the concept of “going home” to market the brand’s core offerings in line with traditional Chinese values.


Following on the success of its “shot on iPhone” campaigns of the previous two years, Apple released its longest Spring Festival film yet, the eight-minute “Daughter” (女儿) a story of intergenerational love and conflict directed by Theodore Melfi (“Hidden Figures”) with cinematography by Laurence Sher (“Joker”).


The snack brand Lay’s annual Spring Festival film stars Yang Zi, one of China’s most commercially valuable actresses, in another story of family conflict and reconciliation. While the sentiments expressed are fairly traditional and predictable, the acting chops of Yang and co-star Lin Yongjian drew widespread praise, as did a song at the end performed by idol Liu Yuning. 

Tencent Weishi

To promote its Weishi short-video platform, Tencent leveraged last year’s viral hit “What is Peppa?” (which was a trailer for the animated film “Peppa Pig Celebrates Chinese New Year,” co-produced by Alibaba Pictures). While not mentioning Peppa by name, “Return to Pink Pig Village” had a familiar director, cast and setting, with a more humorous tone throughout. 


Nike offered a humorous twist on how the Lunar New Year tradition of elders giving  red envelopes of “lucky money” to the younger generation, with a decades-long “chase” between two relatives that cleverly incorporates the brand’s latest styles. 


Rival sports brand Adidas focused on popular celebrities for its campaign, a high-energy music-video style celebration of the diverse personas embodied by the brand. The combination of traditional Chinese cultural elements, streetwear fashion and star power fueled the video’s virality. 

Industrial and Commercial Bank of China

The somewhat staid state bank promoted a new credit card design for the Year of the Rat with an action-packed adventure relay that featured the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac through creatively designed masks, with nods to moments of historical significance in China over the past twelve years.