Chinese airline's new ad focuses on the bad decisions travelers make, instantly becomes a hit

China Airlines is taking a very different approach to advertising.

In its latest campaign, titled #WhatTravelBringsYou, the unorthodox ad focuses on the curious items passengers bring back from far-off locales – and the sometimes regrettable decisions they make in those locales – that follow them long after they’ve returned home.

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For example, one traveler is bemoaning the weight she gained while visiting Bangkok. Another looks forlornly at a brand-new marriage certificate he obtained at a chapel in Las Vegas. And still another is horrified to discover that a statue he purchased in Edinburgh is clearly, and horrifyingly, haunted with some kind of curse.

“You never know what travel will bring to your life,” reads a message written across the screen at the end of the English-language version of the ad. “Let’s go find out.”

The original Chinese-language ad, which clocks in at 1:49, has so far garnered nearly 6 million YouTube views in just one month — an impressive feat, as noted by AdWeek. For comparison, the carrier's last YouTube video with over a million views was posted more than two years ago.

Many of the comments on the Chinese-language version, too, indicated that viewers loved the airline’s ad, the outlet reported.

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Upon debuting the ad, however, China Airlines clearly downplayed the message's dark side, according to its June 14 press release.

China Airlines' current campaign focuses on the things travelers bring back home — such as the huge debts they might incur during a shopping spree in New York.

China Airlines' current campaign focuses on the things travelers bring back home — such as the huge debts they might incur during a shopping spree in New York. (China Airlines)

"The best way to relax the mind and body is to take a holiday. It will also leave you with great memories,” reads a statement from Senior Vice President Ya-Mei Lo. “The new #WhatTravelBringsYou brand concept from China Airlines hopes to remind people that they should always find the time to relax no matter how busy they are. They may even receive an unexpected surprise and come home with special souvenirs of their own!"

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China Airlines had even invited 60 pregnant women to attend the premiere event, on the condition that they became pregnant “on their overseas holidays.” The press release also referred to their fetuses as “souvenirs” they obtained while abroad, and held a contest to award one of the women with airfare (for three) back to the place of conception.

In fairness, China Airlines’ ad doesn’t focus solely on the negative aspects of coming home from a vacation. In addition to pitfalls such as spending too much money in NYC or breaking your leg while snowboarding, the commercial shows viewers a traveler who seemingly won big at a casino in Macao, a couple that got engaged in Rome, and a woman who seems perfectly happy with the plastic surgery she obtained in South Korea. (The ad also shows a woman who seemingly discovers she got pregnant in Australia, though it’s unclear whether she’s thrilled about this news.)

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“Every time you travel, you always bring back something for your life, but you never notice,” the airline added in its YouTube description. “China Airlines invites you to discover what travel brings you.”