Directed by Alibaba Picture’s Zhang Dapeng, “What is Peppa” is deeply emotional for a promo on a movie made for pre-school-aged children, addressing how generational gaps, urbanization, and technology impact families. It has nothing directly to do with the actual film plot, but is a delightful, moving tribute to grandfatherly love.

And it demonstrates an innovative and effective way a foreign brand can introduce itself to a Chinese audience (in stark contrast to Dolce & Gabbana’s disastrous episode last year). Twitter user Connie Chan highlighted this point in a thread:

The promo was a huge hit with Chinese audiences: In addition to millions of views across streaming platforms, the hashtag #WhatisPeppa stacked up over 1.45 billion views on the microblogging site Sina Weibo as of Tuesday, the Financial Times reports (paywall). The trailer has proved so affecting that in the week since it was released, merchandise inspired by it has surfaced:

“What is Peppa” is also a much-needed makeover for Peppa Pig, who was banned last year by Chinese state media from Douyin, one of China’s biggest streaming platforms, after becoming an unlikely symbol of rebellion. Images of the pig, tattooed and wearing heavy gold chains, spread on social media, associating the cartoon’s likeness with a shehuiren, a Chinese slang term for “gangster”

Peppa, first created by three underemployed animators in 2000, has grown to a franchise that brings in more than $1 billion a year, its Canadian owners said in 2016, and was on track to being a global brand worth $2 billion. In December, Alibaba’s Tmall named Peppa a “super brand,” on the e-commerce platform.

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