As we gear up for Chinese New Year, it’s not just about the festive goodies and lantern-lit streets; it’s also about those heartwarming ads that light up our screens.
Over the past ten years, Malaysians have seen a wave of Chinese New Year commercials, each vying to capture the essence of the festival and win our hearts.
These ads aren’t just about selling stuff; they’re about capturing the true spirit of the festival, the values we hold dear, and the bonds that bring us together.
So, let’s buckle up and take a trip down memory lane from 2014 to 2024 as we revisit the best ads for each year that made us laugh, cry, and feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
2014: Petronas – ‘Young Hearts‘
Let’s kick things off with Petronas’ ‘Young Hearts’—a feel-good story that hits right in the feels. Through this film, Petronas wants to remind us to look at life with the same excitement and hope we had when we were kids.
So, picture this: a young boy and girl getting hyped for Chinese New Year. They’re out there, scoring fresh CNY threads and decking out their place with decorations. And you know they gotta get those haircuts too—a fresh start for the new year, right?
But here’s the kicker: one of the sweetest moments goes down in the barber shop. The kid’s all pumped for his cut, while his buddy’s cracking up over a “Lao Fu Zhi” comic.
If you want to know how it feels to be transported back to simpler times, ‘Young Hearts’ nails it.
2015: Maxis – ‘#ThisIsMyName‘
Living in a vibrant, multiracial society, Malaysians are fortunate to be surrounded by a melting pot of cultures and languages, a unique aspect which Maxis wanted to celebrate with this ad.
Simply titled ‘#ThisIsMyName’, this ad embarks on a journey of rediscovery, diving deep into the true meaning behind one’s given name. Because let’s face it, there’s more to a name than just a label—it carries a story, heritage, and a sense of identity.
If you ever wondered about the story behind your name, Maxis gave us the perfect opportunity to dive into our own personal narratives and rediscover the roots of who we are.
2016: Petronas – ‘Rubber Boy‘
Petronas is well known for producing tearjerking ads, and 2016’s ‘Rubber Boy’ was no exception.
Meet Ah Hock, a kid who resents being born into a family that earns a living by rubber tapping and constantly blames his mother for the tough life he lives. But when he sees how hard his mom works to keep the house and family together, his entire perspective changes.
Through this teary ad, we are reminded that the best things in life aren’t fancy gadgets or designer clothes, but the people and relationships that have always been right in front of us the whole time.
2017: Coca-Cola – Dealing with Sibuk Relatives
What’s CNY without the nosy relatives asking when you’re going to get a partner or have a baby? In this 2017 ad, Coca-Cola came up with a hilarious ad to give pro-tips on how to deal with such relatives.
Because let’s be real, we all need a little help navigating those sticky situations and still getting the angpao without offending them. ;)
2018: TNB – “The Coming Together”
In this 2018 ad by TNB, ‘The Coming Together’ aims to celebrate Malaysia’s awesome mix of cultures during Chinese New Year.
The story revolves around three siblings who reminisce about the good old days and share stories of their childhood antics with the neighbours.
The ad also reminds us that no matter how cool technology gets, it can’t beat the real-life connections we have with people. So while smartphones and gadgets are fun, nothing beats hanging out with your neighbours in real life.
2019: RHB Group – ‘Belief’
In 2019, RHB Bank shook things up with its ad called ‘Belief’, where the main character is a professional gamer named Mushi.
If you’re a Defense of the Ancients (DOTA) fan, you would’ve known who Mushi (Chai Yee Fung) is. But as this ad goes, his journey wasn’t all rainbows and roses as he had to undergo tough training and overcome personal doubt. However, he was able to do it with the support of his parents.
If you want to know what it takes to be a pro gamer, this ad is for you.
2020: TNB – ‘#RealityNotVirtual‘
In 2020, we were treated to a hilarious web-film that tells about the real meaning of festivals including CNY—family.
‘#RealityNotVirtual‘ is a gem directed by Quek Shio Chuan of Reservoir World, where it follows the story of Bryan, a working adult torn between going home for CNY or staying put.
Bryan’s mum, sensing his dilemma, sends him a special care package—a VR headset. There, Bryan dives into a virtual journey back home filled with emotional and humorous moments.
From virtually greeting family members to causing chaos in his office, Bryan experiences it all. But in the end, he realises that nothing beats being with family for the festivities.
2021: Digi – ‘From the Heart‘
Despite the toned-down festivities due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Digi took a positive spin on the holiday season
Inspired by a true story, ‘From The Heart’ shares the heartwarming tale of Mr. Tan’s small acts of kindness. Every year, he delivers fish as a CNY gift to his friends, but this time, something unexpected happens. On his way home, he receives a surprise phone call.
To his amazement, the small family invites him to join their simple reunion dinner. It’s a touching moment that reveals the impact of his kindness, coming full circle when he needs it most.
2022: Celcom – ‘Hope‘
In 2022, Celcom kicked off the Year of The Tiger with an ad titled ‘Hope’. It centres around the Mandarin phrase “有希望，有展‘旺'”, which translates to “Where there is hope, there is prosperity”.
The storyline revolves around the challenges faced by three Malaysians – Ah Wah, Alex, and Li Yen. Ah Wah runs a struggling workshop on the brink of closure, Alex faces uncertainty about his college future due to financial struggles, and Li Yen grapples with the aftermath of being retrenched from her job.
While the film captures the hardships these individuals endure, it also highlights their resilience and determination to overcome adversity. Each character experiences a turning point, ultimately thriving despite their initial setbacks
2023: Sime Darby – ‘Make Some Noise Together‘
Sime Darby Property got us grooving in 2023 with ‘Make Some Noise Together’. From the bustling vibes of the wet market to the comforting sounds of meal preparation, this festive video paints a vivid picture of our communities coming together to celebrate and we were definitely here for it!
2024: MR D.I.Y – Wo Ai Ni
The most romantic line of all time but yet the hardest phrase to say is “I love you”.
This was definitely the case for Long Wei Feng, a gruff retired headmaster who tries to show affection for his family but struggles in expressing it without breaking his tough character.
But as they always say, “Love conquers all”, and it proved to be the one thing Long needed to show his family how much he truly cared for them.
And there you have it! A decade of Chinese New Year ads that made us laugh, cry, and feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Gong Xi Fa Cai, everyone!