Super Cool Party: Interview with Designer Francis Lam (aka db-db)

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Last week saw the launch of “Super Cool Party”, a new iOS app from Francis Lam (aka db-db), which has quickly taken over the Instagram and WeChat moments feeds of Shanghai creatives. It’s a “super pixelicious fashion simulation game” with db-db’s trademark style seen in Tofu Go and Nudemen – a combination of funky 8bit graphics, catchy tunes, and cheeky gameplay (which here involves “undressing” characters to unlock their clothing for fun mix-and-match). In the future, it may feature packs of branded fashion content and beyond. Francis’ expansive practice also encompasses his long-time work as Creative Technologist at Wieden+Kennedy Shanghai, and founder of hand-crafted wooden furniture brand OWW. To kick off POV’s new interview series with diverse creatives, Francis graciously agreed to answer our questions.

POV INTERVIEW: FRANCIS LAM, AKA DB-DB

Q: In a nutshell, how would you describe “Super Cool Party”? What’s its connection to shopping and fashion?

A: It’s a fashion-themed 8-bit casual game + social camera app. But what I also want to experiment is to create a new platform for advertising and mobile gaming. In-game advertising has always been a big turn-off for gamers, I really want to build something that can make both marketers and gamers happy.

Q: What inspired the game, especially its visual style, music, and beach setting/”party” concept?

A: Happy, fun and 8bit are always the main themes and styles of my work. It also vaguely linked to my Nudemen Series by the way.


User images from Instagram – add your own with the #supercoolparty and #supercoolstyle tags!

Q: This is your first app since Tofu Go – what have you learned since then, and what different techniques of design, programming, marketing, and distribution were you looking to try in Super Cool Party?

A: I think all my other mobile apps and games are experiments or extensions of my other work. Most of them were finished in a weekend or so. Super Cool Party is a more well-thought and produced project which leverages different digital and social channels. It’s also the first product launched by my new entity db+DB.

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Instagram from @bbfish

Q: Since you left Wieden+Kennedy to work on independent projects, you mentioned that you’re pursuing an interesting workflow of experimenting with various new projects on quick-iteration time-schedule. Can you describe this new project structure you’re exploring?

A: Sure. db+DB is a small team aiming for making tiny digitally-driven products in fast iterations. We have three criteria for our products: 1. It has to be launched in less than 2-3 months. 2. It has to be commercially viable. 3. It has to have a big idea which potentially change the world and make our lives better – maybe for just a little bit.

Q: What do you think is the future of mobile advertising, and how do you think games are important in this space? Many people have talked about the death of Weibo and the rise of Weixin as a space for brands – how are you hoping that an app/game like Super Cool Party can pioneer new directions on those platforms?

A: I think games are one of the biggest digital communities yet to have a working advertising ecosystem. Super Cool Party is an experimental project to try answer the issue.

Q: What inspires you the most right now?

A: Currently, definitely my newborn daughter.

Download Super Cool Party here and check it out!

So Fresh and So Clean: Beautiful Vintage Soap Packaging from China

Feast your eyes on this collection of vintage soap packaging from China – assembled by the retro aficionado U-Book on Douban. U-Book also has some amazing galleries of mid-century Chinese clothing catalogues and a particularly lovely vintage Seagull camera.

As some have remarked on Weibo, they look good enough to eat!
(“很小的时候,总会觉得香皂是蛋糕那样能吃的东西,,看这个设计和颜色,,太有爱了”)

View the full set here.
(Via one of our favorite artists Yan Cong)

“The Queen’s Feast” – Shanghai Hotel In the Buff

Recently, Shanghai’s Crystal Orange Hotel released a new promotional video entitled “The Queen’s Feast”, which dares to show their hotel “in the buff”.

A troupe of muscular men arrives at the hotel, checking into their sleek, modernist rooms, only to quickly strip down and position themselves at the windows. Suddenly the curtains are pulled back – and the result is a treat for all the hard-working Shanghai ladies who may have been walking home from the office that night. That’s right, it’s a beefcake feast, for all the “Queens” of our city (female and otherwise).

Take a “peek” at this fun campaign – in an advertising landscape that is oversaturated with scantily-clad women (and girls), it’s a nice change of pace to have some buff dudes on display. Enjoy the eye candy, ladies!

Watch on Youku.

More information and credits here.

The Golden Age of HK Ads

On December 13 & 16th, the Hong Kong Art Center will be screening what looks to be a truly delightful program of the golden age of Hong Kong TV advertising – from the 1970s to the present. The program will explore how these historic ads “embody local culture, reflect social reality and serve as important historical time capsules.”

A Retrospective of Local Advertising from the 70s to Present + HK4As Kam Fan Awards 2012, Dec 13 & 16 at Hong Kong Art Center, Agnes B. Cinema
More information here.

If you’re not in Hong Kong to attend, here are a few of our favorite classic HK TVC’s – what are yours? Let us know in the comments!

Philips TV ad featuring Chow Yun Fat… as a clown

Stephen Chow with seriously rad sunglasses

The secret life of anthropomorphic Yakult bottles (in cartoon form)

Do the Puma hustle!

Some deliciously analogue 80’s technology in this Fuji ad – floppy discs, VHS cassettes and Walkmen, oh my!