Super Bowl vs. Chinese New Year

Two major sporting and cultural events will collide at the end of this week and while Chinese New Year festivities and  the Super Bowl couldn’t get more different, both share the theme of advertisers pumping big cash into marketing around both events.

So how does advertising around CNY measure up to the Super Bowl? From tone all the way down to the content, the ads from opposite sides of the earth could not be more black and white.

Let’s start with the Super Bowl XLVIII, which will falls on 2 February. Thanks to YouTube, Super Bowl advertisers including AXE, Pepsi, Doritos, Bud Light and Butterfinger have been at their typical best.

All you can see from these ads is a colossal expenditure on celebrity endorsers and sexy models in an attempt to win audience applause and laughter. Here’s the top five most viewed Super Bowl teasers.

AXE PEACE  – Make Love, Not War

Doritos – Finger Cleaner

Butterfinger – Cup Therapy

Bud Light – Arnold Zipper

While the West is capitalising America’s love of celebrities and tongue-in-cheek humour, the East is opting for family bonding to ride deep-seated cultural values about the importance of family. Here’s CNY most viewed ads from YouTube.

Yeo’s 2014 Chinese New Year 30s TVC

余仁生 – 新年 TVC 2014


BERNAS 2014 Chinese New Year Commercial

You can see a lot of scenes featuring family reunion dinner here. It maybe an old trick but they all take family bonds beyond sheer entertainment to the role of emotional anchor, striking a chord with every audience.

In respect to the viewership, I couldn’t help but be saddened by the warm-hearted stories have been trumped by instant humour, but it’s not hard to see why.

Regardless of the lack of depth in instant entertainment like the Super Bowl commercials,  they do, however, leave audience wanting more.

On the other hand, local advertisers should have been struck by the relatively low numbers hinting at the possibility that fitting profoundly revealing stories into a 30 seconds spot, or expanding ad length to cater to the stories, may not be the wisest of choice.

Jennifer Chan
Marketing Magazine Hong Kong
Jennifer Chan covers daily online news and monthly features for Marketing magazine. She began her journalism career in London as a fashion writer and food reporter, where her interest in writing was sparked. Now based in Hong Kong, she most recently discovered the fun of reporting about the creative industry, uncovering marketing trends and hanging out with marketing and agency insiders.

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