Hey, want to watch some famous sports stars butchering “Happy New Year” in Chinese and looking generally awkward amid dragon dances and firecrackers and the like? Of course you do. Let’s get into it…
The NBA has been accused of making a misstep recently in their otherwise fairly flawless China marketing campaign of the past couple of decades. The appointment of pop idol Cai Xukun as the NBA’s first “Chinese New Year Celebration Brand Ambassador” provoked some furious reaction among a certain section of the league’s China fanbase. “Fans” on sports forum Hupu railed against the move due to Cai’s perceived lack of basketball prowess and his “feminine” appearance.
Anyway, here’s the Chinese version of the video:
And the English language spot:
Hmm. We don’t really care about the Cai Xukun thing — having a member of boyband NINE PERCENT associated with your brand is probably a smart move to pick up new followers in the tweenie bopper segment — but this whole thing feels a little flat compared to previous years. For contrast, here’s the NBA’s 2017 effort, which oddly ends with Jeremy Lin and Steph Curry bursting out of paper versions of themselves but is generally pretty awesome:
And whatever you make of the Cai controversy, the special Chinese NBA jerseys that have become something of a tradition in recent years continue to be awesome:
The NFL seems to have taken a few notes from the NBA, using players to deliver awkward Mandarin messages amid dragon dancers this year, while also plugging Super Bowl LIII which handily falls in the CNY holiday.
See the full thing here or get a little taste below with the Pittsburgh Steeler’s JuJu Smith-Schuster:
Eyyyyyyy! The NFL will be ready for Chinese New Year thanks to @TeamJuJu pic.twitter.com/YeyJpW3sF4— Eric Stark (@EricStark89) January 24, 2019
Eyyyyyyy! The NFL will be ready for Chinese New Year thanks to @TeamJuJu pic.twitter.com/YeyJpW3sF4
— Eric Stark (@EricStark89) January 24, 2019
For a while, it seemed English Premier League champions Manchester City were just going go the route of having a bunch of big name players attempt New Year’s greetings.
But then a couple of days later the Man City Weibo released a video featuring a team from Linzi (a city in Shandong Province which FIFA has designated the “cradle of the earliest forms of football”, much to the chagrin of most Brits). And so we get to see Bernardo Silva decked out in the dress of the Warring States Period and completing a set of challenges given him by the cuju (the supposed ancient form of Chinese football) masters, and answering some Lunar New Year trivia with goalkeeper Ederson Moraes.
The red half of Manchester doesn’t seem to have bothered with a specific New Year’s greeting push just yet. Instead, they’ve been more preoccupied with unveiling “die-hard” Man U fan Lu Han as their new “Red Devil Messenger”:
Fierce Man Utd rivals and current table toppers Liverpool went for a more grassroots approach to mark the Lunar New Year, sending Daniel Sturridge and Adam Lallana along to a local school to learn more about Spring Festival customs:
All of which is very nice, but when it comes to Premier League Chinese New Year videos, this is one is our favorite and so far the most cringeworthy we’ve seen:
How about celebrating #SpringFestival with @Arsenal? Eat dumplings and praise "haochi"(delicious) with Iwobi, play mahjong with Monreal, and don't forget to ask for red envelopes from Emery … pic.twitter.com/NSbFyhJ9xl— China News 中国新闻网 (@Echinanews) January 30, 2019
How about celebrating #SpringFestival with @Arsenal? Eat dumplings and praise "haochi"(delicious) with Iwobi, play mahjong with Monreal, and don't forget to ask for red envelopes from Emery … pic.twitter.com/NSbFyhJ9xl
— China News 中国新闻网 (@Echinanews) January 30, 2019
Weird that it’s not made its way onto the official Gunners YouTube channel just yet….
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