This Monkey Kings ad for Pepsi has been a viral sensation in the lead up to the Chinese New Year- see the video here.


Created by independent agency Civilization Shanghai (part of thenetworkone), the video is part of Pepsi’s “Bring Happiness Home” campaign.

The six-minute mini-epic is all about legends—the kind that stretch back for centuries and, more significantly, those produced and shared over several generations by modern media. The video ties in with the Chinese Year of the Monkey, which officially begins Feb. 8.

Civilization’s Andrew Lok, who directed the film, explained the concept: “2016 is the Year of the Monkey. So there will no doubt be a bevy of marketing campaigns showcasing the Monkey King or ‘Journey to the West.’ How can PepsiCo’s ‘Bring Happiness Home’ celebrate the Monkey King, this mythological simian symbol of irreverence and fun (personality traits rarely found in the heroes of traditional Chinese literature), in a very PepsiCo manner? Believe it or not, it was easy. Because the core values of Pepsi-Cola, youth and irreverence, are the very qualities the Monkey King naturally embodies.”

Consider why it has been so successful: Millions of Chinese across a broad age spectrum fondly recall Zhang’s performance. The Monkey King series with Zhang became an important part of people’s personal history, a powerful symbol of their youth and cultural identity.

The brand film taps into such potent nostalgia with a story that also touches on timeless themes like family loyalty and duty to one’s profession—ideas that really resonate in China.

See the blog from Civilisation here and the original article from AdWeek here.