Nike’s first-ever Chinese New Year ad is a comic take on the tradition of “hongbao,” red envelopes often filled with money given to children for good luck. In a 90-second spot from Wieden & Kennedy Shanghai, a tenacious auntie and her equally determined niece battle through the years over the right to refuse a kind but unnecessary gift.
It begins when the niece is a young girl, still sporting a bowl cut. In some traditions, an unmarried aunt wouldn’t be obligated to give money for the Lunar New Year, but this one is generous to a fault.
Well-trained in manners, her niece refuses the gift so as not to appear greedy. Auntie insists and easily outsmarts her little relative. With each passing year, the fashions change and the struggle becomes more intense. What began as a frustrating exercise in politeness becomes a contest of wills. Unable to win in a straight fight, the niece takes advantage of her youth and leads auntie on a chase.
Across fields and rooftops, down stairs and through crowds, year after year they repeat the pursuit—and every year auntie wins in the end. Eventually, the niece is grown, with children of her own, and it’s finally her turn to give a gift to her unmarried aunt. But auntie is prepared, sporting fresh Nike kicks from a line inspired by Chinese mythology that debuted this month.
The spot, promoting the brand's new New Year's-themed line of shoes, is directed by Steve Ayson via MJZ and features a Chinese-language version of “Quizás, quizás, quizás,” best known to American audiences as “Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps.”