Brands split over Covid-19

As COVID-19 spreads around the globe, more and more people find themselves living under lockdown. Governments try to make people understand the importance of staying home by using the term “social distancing”, which means standing 6 feet apart from other people in an effort to lower the risk of transmitting infections.

It seems that the brands are doing it too….

McDonald’s, Coca-Cola and Chiquita are also among the many international brands to have quickly moved to redesigned their logos.

While this may seem like marketing genius, not everybody agrees. Douglas Sellers, executive creative director for Siegel+Gale says, “Our current global situation is no joke. It’s a serious matter, and brands designing social distancing logos have the potential to diminish the severity of what we are going through.”

Well actually, Doug, many roads lead to Rome. In the category of “serious and meaningful (and costly)”, LVMH group and Gap definitely score higher. They’ve retooled production lines to make sanitizers and masks. And you even have Ford and Tesla over yonder in the “butt-clenchingly serious” category; they’re making ventilators! At the end of the day, every little bit counts. Comic relief, laugh a little.

Stay safe.

PIG’s latest all 3D film for OPPO Lamborghini



PIG’s recent collaboration with OPPO culminated in our latest film for our client’s Find X2 Pro mobile phone, Lamborghini edition! The special edition model is based on the Lamborghini Aventador SVJ Roadster (limit 800 production units) and features a carbon-fiber textured phone back, gold plated camera edges and comes in sleek black and copper tones, perfectly in parallel to the coveted supercar.

Watch the full film here.

The PIG-produced film is an entirely 3D feat, exquisitely excuted by Unit Motion, part of the Animation Collective WIZZ (more infor here). The 30-second film perfectly highlights the seemless integration of the supercar’s design components into the Find X2 Pro.

客户 Client:OPPO
导演 Director: Unit Motion at WIZZ
制片 Production: P.I.G. CHINA



PIG x Under Armour in back-to-back films

Under Armour

P.I.G. China‘s 2nd and 3rd time working with Under Armour in the past year sees two films showcasing Zhu Ting (volleyball) and Jin Yuan (track and field) in #TheOnlyWayIsThrough global campaign. UA’s message: “Improvement isn’t easy. There are no shortcuts. No cheat codes. No quick fixes. Just hard work. The only way is through.

Watch Jin Yuan’s full film here (running).
Watch Zhu Ting’s full film here (volleyball).

#TheOnlyWayIsThrough brings together global athletes including Dwayne Johnson, Stephen Curry and Michael Phelps to promote the spirit of its slogan. For the China segment, we follow two leading ladies: former national team track and field runner Jin Yuan (金源) and national volleyball player Zhu Ting (朱婷).

These are the 2nd and 3rd collaborations between P.I.G. China and Under Armour, to date! Our team traveled to Tianjin’s National Women’s Volleyball Institute to shoot with Zhu Ting while Jin Yuan’s film was shot in 2 days across 6 venues in Shanghai.

The films will be featured with other in the series in Under Armour’s #TheOnlyWayIsThrough campaign across global media platforms this spring.

The animation WIZZ kids

Hi, have we met?

WIZZ is an animation & mixed media power collective, comprised of talented directors.

WIZZ Animation Collective

You can think of them as a graphics laboratory. Madly in love with 2D, 3D, stop motion, mixed media and the works. Above all, what WIZZ directors love to do is developing whole new artistic worlds and tools.

For commercials, music videos, films, series or something in between, WIZZ is dedicated to true creative storytelling.

Oppo Find X2 Lamborghini Aventador Edition

WIZZ directors, Unit Motion, recently worked with PIG for our clients over at Oppo (read more about it here). The result is an artfully crafted teaser film for the upcoming Oppo Find X2 Lamborghini Aventador Edition.

NIke “Never Ask” (Cannes Gold Lion)

CRCR, another group of WIZZ directors, helped Nike create the “Never Ask” campaign which won the Cannes Lions (Gold) in 2019.

Learn more about WIZZ.

Climbkhana 2: PIG teams up with Ken Block & Hoonigan Media

Racer Ken Block‘s latest drift blockbuster “Climbkhana 2: Heaven’s Gate Road” was released globally on November 18th. The film was produced by Hoonigan Media Machine with the collaboration of PIG. Great work everyone!

Watch the full film here.

Some feared 2018’s Gymkhana TEN marked the end of automotive’s largest viral video franchise, but Ken Block is back with the second installment of the acclaimed series’ spin-off Climbkhana, presented by Toyo TiresForza Motorsport and Omaze. This time, Block and the Hoonigan Media Machine, supported by PIG, traveled to one of the world’s most dangerous roads, located deep in the heart of China, with his 914 horsepower Ford F-150 Hoonitruck to film Climbkhana TWO: Heaven’s Gate Road

About five years ago, I found a photo on the internet of this crazy road made of multiple switch backs that actually crossed over itself,” says Ken Block. “Before I even discovered where in the world it was, I knew we had to go film there. As we did more research, I realized we may have found the greatest road ever. It’s like a European tarmac rally stage-but turned out to 11-and, it’s set in a wild scene that looks stolen right out of the movie Avatar. ” 

Located in Zhangjiajie, Hunan Province, China, in a region that actually did inspire James Cameron’s 2009 epic Sci-Fi film, the Heaven’s Gate Mountain Highway (天门山公路)climbs 11 Kilometers across a ribbon of concrete that bends over 99 times through lush foliage and precariously located cliff drops. It’s considered so dangerous that the public is forbidden to drive on it. And while similar in basic design to the location for the first film: Pikes Peak, this road is almost half as wide in most places, and the consequences way more frightening. 

Over the past couple years, a few other projects have been filmed in the region, but we really wanted to bring our unique style of filmmaking and Ken Block’s wild driving to this road to show it in a way it hasn’t been seen before” says Climbkhana TWO’s Director Brian Scotto. “This road is amazing, but also very unforgiving, which ironically is its best attribute.

Of all of Ken Block’s vehicles, the Hoonitruck seemed the least suited for this incredibly narrow road, which at some points is skinnier than the highly modified, AWD truck is long. But its massive proportions, only make the feat ever more impressive.

The juxtaposition of this massive American pickup truck and that tiny road was just too perfect, even if it made it way harder and sketchier to for me to drive,” says Block.  

5 Red Cameras, 2 drones, and over 20 GoPros ran simultaneously to capture Ken Block’s breathtaking driving prowess…

PIG takes home ROI award for The Waste Race

Adidas The Waste Race

 

Running. It’s not just putting your sneakers on and jogging around the park – it can be a part of something much bigger. That’s what Adidas is exploring in the new global campaign “Recode Running” showcasing what the brand calls transformational stories of running.

Watch the full film here.

 

 

In one of two, new long form films, Shanghai’s “Trash Runners” combine social running with street cleaning to improve the city, people’s lives, and to build a movement.

 

 

The “Recode Running” campaign, which is airing globally on YouTube and other platforms, is the brainchild of Amsterdam strategic consultancy Brand Articulation and its sister creative studio Lore, and the films were directed by Daniel Kaufman of Anonymous Content / Somesuch. Production was realized in Shanghai, China by P.I.G. CHINA.

PIGMAN: Ren Hang

Ren

Chinese artist Ren Hang committed suicide on Feb 24th, at the age of 29

#changedestiny SK-II Celebrates Women’s Day with latest film

Skincare darling SK-II continues to support China’s single women through its #changedestiny campaign with a new film exploring traditional family expectations on marriage.

Watch full film here.

The short documentary “Meet Me Halfway” follows three bright and single Chinese ladies as they finally reach out and open up to their parents after years of avoidance due to marriage pressure fears. 

SK-II hopes to encourage open dialogue about marriage expectations and be a source of empowerment for women everywhere to feel more confident about their life choices.

The brainchild of agency Forsman & Bodenfors, directed by Floyd Russ and produced by Tool of North America, “Meet Me Halfway” was entirely shot on location in different parts of China by P.I.G CHINA.

The Chinese Animation Gold Rush

With a huge potential box office rewards and no established domestic studio brands dominating the playing field, the enormous opportunity for creators of animated movies has seen a collective mobilization across the media ecosystem towards the genre.

For some, the catalyst was the enormous success of 2015’s “Monkey King: Hero Returns”, which earned 956 million yuan ($139m) at the box office and shattered the previous record for a full CG animation.

40150de413911abMonkey King: Hero Returns, produced by October Annimation Studio

Others, like DreamWorks, saw the market potential years ago.  In 2012 the company struck a $350m (2.4bn yuan) joint venture deal with three Chinese investment companies to form a studio on the ground in China, Oriental DreamWorks, which could circumvent the foreign film quota.

The government has played its part, offering grants and incentives for companies to make animation, eager to promote China’s creative evolution and production of soft power products that it can ultimately wield on the world stage.  That initiative has included facilitating international coproduction treaties, enabling substantial moviemaking partnerships, like those between China and companies in New Zealand and the UK.

Oriental DreamWorksOriental DreamWorks

Meanwhile, as China transitions from outsourcing destination to original creator, former service companies are turning to original content creation, like China’s leading visual effects provider, Base FX, and veteran CG studio Original Force, both of whom have major animated features in the works.

Established live action studios are getting in on the act too.  In October 2015, Beijing Enlight Media formed ‘Color Room’, an animation and live action division, to invest, incubate IP, and manage productions, while Huayi Brothers has also established an animation arm, Wink, to develop four animation features every year.

1Kung Fu Panda 3, co-produced by Oriental DreamWorks and DreamWorks

Companies with interests across multiple industries are adding animation to their portfolios.  Internet behemoth Tencent created film production arm, Tencent Pictures, which is developing and producing a diverse slate of 21 film and TV projects, while in 2015, Alpha, a giant Guangdong toy and clothing conglomerate, announced a 900 million yuan ($141 million) acquisition of original internet comic platform U17.com, with a view to converting the IP into movies.

Tough Terrain

The ground in China may be fertile, but the climate is uncertain. Fewer tickets are being subsidised than they were in 2015, sales are growing more slowly than expected and the Chinese box office won’t, as many had predicted, become the world’s largest in 2017.  Moreover, competition is fierce. The growing number of new Chinese films will compete with each other and a relentless onslaught of offerings from the established global big guns that make it in to China as part of the import quota.

1-20Japanese Animation: Your Name

There is no established Chinese animated entertainment brand, no household name animation directors or studios and very few known properties. In most cases, Chinese studios must develop IP from scratch, guessing what will work, or buy the rights to book, game or toy properties with an existing following and try to convert them in to compelling motion pictures. However, good animation writers are hard to come by, with the best talent historically drawn to the relatively better prospects in live action.

Moreover, the tastes of the rapidly morphing audience are as unpredictable as ever. The lazy assumption about unsophisticated masses that eat up Chinese mythology and spectacular visual effects is outdated. Audiences and reviewers are fiercely critical of sub par stories, recently prompting Party mouthpiece People’s Daily to publish an editorial piece slamming ‘vicious and irresponsible’ critics.

p2217523557One Hundred Thousand Bad Jokes, produced by YouYaoQi

The hope is that creators will be emboldened by the successes of ‘alternative’ films like the auteur driven “Big Fish & Begonia”, adult fare like “100,000 Bad Jokes” and Japanese indie efforts like “Your Name”, all of which demonstrate that there is a significant market for edgier content.

The unpredictability may partly explain why Chinese animation studios aren’t placing all their bets on the domestic audience. Whether for their first film release or a later offering, almost all studios say the eventual target is the global market.

Big Fish & Begonia, produced by Biantian Media

Joe Aguilar, CEO at Wink, says that for an animation studio in China to succeed, there are two key considerations.  The first is China’s ‘content wealth.’  “Chinese culture is more popular in the global market, and can produce infinite original stories with Chinese elements,” he says.  That may be true, but no Chinese film, animated or otherwise, has yet cracked the major US or European markets. One explanation may be a fundamental difference in storytelling sensibility between the East and the West.  Many senior studio executives have pointed to a looser Chinese story structure that is inaccessible to the West.

Western tastes might evolve with greater exposure to Chinese content, but that process will take years. In the meantime, Aguilar’s second point – that movies need to “emphasize international ways of expression, which make the movies globally more acceptable”- is the reason almost all studios with serious designs on the global market have established development studios in L.A. and/or installed Hollywood experience in executive positions.

The First Batch

This year will see the first serious runners among the multiple newcomers to the Chinese animated features race.

“Duck Duck Goose”, the first release from Original Force, is the pick of the bunch.  Led by a triumvirate boasting decades of experience in both Hollywood and China, the studio has seemingly all the right elements to create something of real quality for its debut feature.

MV5BOTU4ODYxMjItNWNhZS00ZDIzLWFjMWUtMzQ3MjU1ODY1MDEzXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMjExMzEyNTM@._V1_Duck Duck Goose, produced by Original Force

Then there is Light Chaser Animation, the Beijing studio founded by Tudou founder and billionaire, Gary Wang.  Wang raised eyebrows by assuming writing and directing duties for the studio’s debut feature in 2015, despite having never previously written or directed an animated film.  He reprises the role for this year’s follow up, “Tea Pets”.

Tea Pets, produced by Light Chaser Animation

Guangzhou’s Yi Animation will release its first original movie, “Kung Food”, the feature film adaptation of the studio’s TV series, “Super Bao”, a stereoscopic 3D movie about living pieces of food uniting to prevent bland flavours from conquering the world. Coproduced by 21st Century Fox, the “Kung Food” is the only IP among this year’s contenders to have any existing fan base in China.

Kung Food, produced by Yi Animation

Finally, “Watch The Skies” is the first feature from DeZerlin Media, a creative content boutique that generates IP for animated and live-action features and series, games and print. It adopts a Western-style studio model, creating the IP and managing the property, but outsourcing the animation locally.

It is safe to assume the new crop of Chinese animation films will bring better character performance and production values.  Local audience will no longer accept substandard quality. The most compelling questions circulate around story. The risks might suggest studios will err on the side of caution for their debuts.  Will we thus see Hollywood films with Chinese elements – like the Kung Fu Panda franchise – or can a distinctly Chinese tone begin to shine through?  Will a director be afforded the time and trust to realize a vision, as Tian did for “Monkey King” or Liang Xuan and Zhang Chun did for “Big Fish & Begonias”?  This year, we’ll start to have some of those questions answered.

Moving hearts with Operation Smile

P.I.G. CHINA, French production company QUAD and Cheil Beijing created a heart-warming film for Operation Smile, an NGO providing surgical aid to children with cleft lip.  Viewers journey through a polluted Shanghai with a masked albeit joyful little girl.  The final scene reveals she was happy to dawn a pollution mask because this is the one time during which no one can see her cleft lip.  The little heroine’s wide, endearing eyes help to soften the stigmatization children with cleft lip in China endure but the reality of this prescient health issue still remains at the close of the film.

Watch the full film here.

Directed by Henry Mason with support from cinematographer Rain Li, the film was entirely shot in and around Shanghai over two days. Grading and visual effects were created by FIN Design and Effects.  Green United Music (GUM) composed the gentle piano tune in the background.  Beautifully shot, this touching film is helping Operation Smile raise awareness around the stigma of children suffering with cleft lip.