You'll Never Guess What This 'Sports' Ad Is Really Promoting

Spot for Chinese Shopping Site Urges Consumers to Engage in Retail Therapy -- Online

By Angela Doland. Published on May 19, 2017

Editor's Pick

This energetic ad from China has all the hallmarks of a big sports spot: a catchy, percussive track backs fun scenes of folks from all walks of life working out: an elderly man does Tai Chi, dancers warm up on a rooftop, boxers spar in a gym, young folks play b-ball on the asphalt and a little girl sways as she listens to a tune on her headphones. Spliced in are other scenes of fast-paced modern city life -- a drummer having a sweaty practice session, a taxi driver battling traffic, a cook frying up some street food.

Turns out, the ad is actually suggesting that people need a break from all that action. How so? With a little retail therapy. The ad is for major Chinese e-commerce platform, and it plugs the site's annual June shopping festival by suggesting that everyone take a break, relax and buy some stuff online.

The spot is by local agency 180China and its lifestyle approach actually may have a point. is the No. 2 online shopping player in China, the world's largest e-commerce market, after Alibaba Group. This spot seems aimed at making look trendier and more appealing to a wider variety of people as it competes with Alibaba's Tmall platform. users tend to skew a bit older and more male. has an annual shopping event around the company's June 18 anniversary that's called 618, after the 6/18 anniversary date of its founding. It's one of quite a few different sales dates that were made up by China's e-commerce giants to get people excited to shop. The biggest is Nov. 11, or Singles Day, which started out as a kind of anti-Valentine's Day. It's not just for singles anymore, and it has morphed into the biggest e-commerce shopping day anywhere in the world.

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May 19, 2017

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