Virtual influencers are shaking up China’s online retail

Virtual KOL Ling from Shanghai AI start-up Xmov ©Xmov

by Crystal Reed

此文章仅限英文版

No Cannes, no problem! PIG brings the party to Shanghai

No Cannes this year…

Every year, right about now, chances are you’re on a plane heading back to Shanghai or wherever, forgoing the celebratory glass of welcome champagne for “just an OJ please” as you gingerly nurse a liver on the brink of cirrhosis back to health-ish after a week of non-stop, audacious profiteering (oops!) I meant networking.

From laid back Google Beach to MassiveMusic’s over the top insanity and everything in between, Lions’ every iteration is a Spartan race to see who’ll top out the week with the most crowds, the most ooo’s and ahh’s, the most hashtags and the most morning-after stories—don’t let “by invitation only” fool you, everybody’s welcome, just say you’re from Netflix.

Google Beach

That’s right, we’re talking Cannes Lions, another bitterly mourned casualty of Covid-19. And while it’s crushed your Grand Prix dreams—yeaaah, let’s keep telling ourselves that’s the only reason why we’re not getting one this year—it shall not deprive us of a good pool-side BBQ.

The PIGman’s got your back; we’ve been thinking long and hard and it’s about time to give those of us stuck in the “Hai” a modest reprieve from all the scalding Trumpian headlines and side-ways glances from dogmatic ayis fearful of your germs.

After Cannes’BBQ Sessions and Berlin’s Bunker Sessions, this August, we’re super excited to be bringing you: Shanghai Sessions! This year’s theme: No Cannes? No problem!

In classic Sessions tradition, Shanghai Sessions will encompass the very same savoir-faire that’s made PIG’s Cannes villa such an indispensable pitstop for many in their Lions pilgrimage.

Cannes BBQ Sessions

Expect to endulge in the PIGman’s quintessential party trifecta:

Coal barbecue manned by prodigious rising talent Chef Ying of Xixi Bistro fame; chicken, brats, tritip and all that jazz, grilled to order. We’ve even cultured it up a notch with juicy lamb skewers flavoured à la Xinjiang and a whole, suckling pig, just heavenly.

What’s a party without a pool? A dumb one, I’ll tell you what. Nah, we kid, we kid. But all jokes aside, it would have been just pitiful to deprive our guests from the possibility of rosé-induced fumbles into a 25-meter rooftop pool bedazzled with unicorns, swans and other assorted floaties.

Cool vibes guaranteed, courtesy of Murphy Kin, a.k.a. DJ Lucy. The well-rounded selector takes us on a trip with his lively sets, rooted in house and disco. This energetic artist launched his own lable, Ting Ting Disco, in 2015.

…. and who knows, maybe a few other surprises await.

You’re probably banging furiously on something that’s hopefully not your phone and for God’s sake what are the event details!? Okay, here goes…

Event Details

Shanghai Sessions: No Cannes? No problem!

Date: August 8th, 2020
Time: 16:00 – 21:00
Place: on a Bund rooftop 🙂
for now, we’re keeping a hush on the exact location for confirmed guests only

How to RSVP

Disclaimer

In our effort to abate even an iota of a possibility of becoming Shanghai’s inaugural resurgent cluster, event capacity is limited to 100. Registration conditions apply (i.e. no recent Beijing or foreign travel, no fever, possessing a green health code, … )

  1. Scan the QR code in the above event poster to access our Official Wechat Account (Wechat ID: Pig_Films)
  2. Follow us
  3. Click “RSVP” on the bottom right
  4. Input your information
  5. Wait to receive your RSVP confirmation
  6. And don’t go unfollowing right afterwards, you’ll need to present that sucker at check-in and submit to a temperature check

*If you encounter issues, watch the below “how-to”.

Live-streaming in China: luxe dives in, some slip a little

If you’re at all in-tune with Chinese beauty retail, then you most certainly would have heard of the infamous Rouge Hermès Incident involving widely-proclaimed lipstick king Li Jiaqi (李佳琦) giving a scathing review of the much-anticipated lipstick line from the emperor of le French touch (read “gratifyingly expensive”). Though a seriously spicy dish, we’re not going to delve into that hot mess of an incident – when you’re done Googling, please come back because there was a point to bringing that up. 

Back? Ok, so the point is, live-streaming is a big deal in China, and the Covid-19 pandemic has nudged some luxury brands into this mystical, influencer-ruled realm where the laws of physics conventional retail marketing don’t track.

YSL Beauté

First we have lipstick; for many they’re a relatively affordable status symbol; they’re small, fun, and desperate wannabes – including yours truly – pop them like M&Ms; I mean can you even be legally certified as a woman if you don’t possess at least 3 (hundred)?

YSL Beauté carpe diem’ed the ass out of their day with a staged livestream showcase on insanely popular marketplace Taobao Live. A baker’s dozen of influencers, models and presenters spent the hour talking up various box-sets of poppy shades of rouge. In terms of effort, there’s a solid A in there! That set, the cameras, lighting and all those influencers don’t come cheap. Just shy of 2 million viewers tuned in, many followers of the mini-celebrities. Each time an item is sold, a bright orange message pops up onscreen, “XXX0483 is making a purchase!” We saw many-a-message that evening. With prices hovering above 300 RMB per, there’s definitely room for lucrative happiness however we can’t help but ponder the long-term effectiveness and viability of mega influencers-led showcases.

YSL Beauté’s event poster, lipstick box-set, screenshots from Taobao Live

Moving on to fashion shows, Giorgio Armani famously walked onto his runway to greet an invisible crowd in his latest show. Due to the mounting Covid-19 crisis in Italy, no audience could attend the Milan show. Armani is not alone.

Giorgio Armani in Milan on February 23rd

Gucci

With Dolce & Gabbana’s whirlwind tumble from grace involving a model, a pizza and a pair of chopsticks and Versace’s uninspired fumble with t-shirts printed with store locations (seriously, was that actually meant for paying customers?), Gucci is left ire della collina (king of the hill), so to speak. The brand’s arguably more Darwinian marketing aptitude was put to good use in a recent venture into live-streaming. On February 19th at 10:00pm Beijing time, Gucci broadcasted its runway show live on Weibo, #GucciTheRitual, showcasing the 2020 Fall/Winter collection. At a mere 10 minutes 13 seconds, the micro livestream managed to reach 22.9 million Chinese users (including replay viewers). Not bad François, HEC 4ever. Let’s move on.

Gucci F/W 2020 runway livestream on Weibo

Lanvin

The Chinese-owned (Fosun) Lanvin also dabbled with runway live-streaming. Although Fosun is quite a ways larger than a PE fund, in typical PE-backed fashion, no pun intended, Lanvin went all out, blank check in-hand, broadcasting their show in jaw-dropping live 360° VR format via streaming platform iQiyi.com – China’s answer to Netflix. The VR headsets, provided by iQiyi to subscribers of its VR content service, put viewers next to Chinese online A-listers, with the option to hear their voice-over commentary.

Bottom line, we’re not quite sure what to make of it all, indeed there’s so much that’s new and inspiring about this approach, however partnering with a content-driven platform like iQiyi instead of a commercial one like Taobao and delivering through VR goggles may be limiting potential marketing reach, or not, what does McKinsey say?

Lanvin’s livestreamed VR runway via iQiyi

Shanghai Fashion Week

Lastly, while not a brand, worthy of an honorable mention is Shanghai Fashion Week. Official partner Xintiandi teamed up with Tmall (Taobao’s sister marketplace) and basically all of China’s leading content platforms – Bilibili, RED (小红书), TikTok, Kuaishou(快手) – to host a cloud marketplace. Influencers took viewers on walkabout tours through and interviews about home-grown designers. Purchases could be made instantly via Tmall.

Shanghai Fashion Week’s livestream event with many partners

Nothing goes perfectly in uncharted waters. While YSL and Gucci are relishing in the success of their first dips into the livestream, pun intended, other brands seemed to have gone too fast and slipped-up a little.

Louis Vuitton

This year’s Gold Lion for Social Disengagement & Disintegration for Live Experience (FYI, that’s B01 at Cannes, wink) goes to… Louis Vuitton. Sorry, Bernard.

In what can only be described as the execution of a half-formed thought from somebody driven to desperation by quarantine, Louis Vuitton’s ill-fated livestream on RED (小红书), left viewers frozen in disbelief. Instead of a staged approach, the mega-brand opted to broadcast a live-selling session in the classic “直播间” (livestream showroom) format, thus-far a proven business model for middle-aged merchants of surplus apparel stockpiles in the outskirts of Suzhou.

The choice of pieces was a chaotic, vertigo-inducing explosion of everything monogramed from canvas bags, to shorts to sneakers and scarves; when we looked at the backs of our hand we could still see Jesus the LV sign. As if that wasn’t enough kitsch for one lifetime, the styling of the poor girls drew up repressed memories of Honey Boo Boo. Cap it off with a no-frills set that somehow made its way over from 1960’s Deauville, and finally the writing on the wall became clear, “catastrophic consumer backlash up ahead”. Screenshots below, we’ll let you be the judge.

Louis Vuitton’s RED livestream (left), China’s typical live-selling bargain darlings (right)

Burberry

And then there was one. Sometimes equipment just fails us. Janet had the wardrobe malfunction, Enrique had a disastrous relationship with a live mic and Burberry had, well nothing really, no, literally nothing. The April 9th Taobao Live showcase was supposed to air at 9:00pm sharp with influencers billing in the six-figures expected to join, including Yvonne Ching. One hour and a couple dozen messages to customer service later, we gave up and went to bed (writing articles requires a lot of sleep). Apparently due to “technical issues”, the live broadcast would be delayed to a later date. 11 days on and we’re still waiting.

Burberry Live poster and the technical fumble

There’s far too many more case studies than one god-fearing (Thor) writer should dare to tackle in a single piece. Honorable mentions also go out to Ahava x Tmall live from the Dead Sea, MCM’s in-store broadcasts on RED (小红书), Calvin Klein’s 360° VR pop-up cloud store and Prada x TikTok’s #“P”oems.

Ahava, CK and Prada (top left to bottom right)

While there are many platforms who have facilitated brands’ explorative endeavors into the world of live-streaming, Alibaba-backed Taobao/Tmall clearly emerged as the de-facto platform of choice. Astonishingly, the Tencent-backed JD.com was nowhere to be found. 

We can guesstimate 3 reasons: 

1. Taobal/Tmall often acted as co-hosts or sponsors to these live-streaming events.

2. Taobao/Tmall is a huge, merchant-driven marketplace, especially popular among small, independent retailers/manufacturers of apparel, accessories & beauty, thereby drawing in huge impuse buyers. Contrast that with JD.com, who is recognized as a more structured marketplace for branded products and established (read “licensed“) merchants, an Amazon of sorts, with a tendency to skew towards consumer electronics and groceries.

3. While some of the other broadcasting platforms, notably RED (小红书), do offer a marketplace feature whereby viewers can directly proceed to purchase, Taobal/Tmall’s payment escrow system, buyer protection and merchant vetting features are a big draw.

Post-Covid 19 and with increasing 5G coverage, will we see brands continue to gravitate towards live-streaming as a sustainable new marketing avenue? Only time will tell.

PIG的混乱总监Nick告诉LBB,“振作起来,一切很快就会好转的”

本月,PIG的首席混乱总监(和MD)Nick Dodet与LBB的Natasha Patel谈到了新型冠状病毒对影视行业的影响。他认为,西方可以从中国的反应中学到不少 举措 ,并分享该团队在所有新限制条件下的创新工作方式。

随着新冠病毒席卷西方世界,注意力转向了欧美,中国正在开始重新启动,并已经解除了大部分生活与商业限制。影视拍摄行业也正慢慢在一个新的市场“常态”中寻找自己的角色。Nick与LBB分享了他对形势的第一手看法。

以下是访谈的节选段。

中国的影片制作现状如何?

现在逐步恢复正常。在3月初,有一小部分团队回复拍摄;从月中开始环境慢慢的热闹起来。在过去的一周里,拍摄越来越多了。相对来说当时的确有很多的拍摄限制。虽然3月的时候我们仍然可以申请到公共场所拍摄许可,但如果有任何当地居民感觉到一毫的不安全,他们可以报警,使许可证立即作废,并彻底的终止所有的拍摄工作。和3月份相比,现在情况好多了,我们几乎可以在任何地方拍摄了。

有没有遇到什么有趣的方法来应付这些限制?

我们开发了远程拍摄业务。对于在中国的客户和广告代理而言,拍摄团队可以在世界任何地方进行拍片工作,比如南非;所有镜头将被直播到他们的面前。

现在,情况转变了180°。目前,即使持有中国签证的外国人,也不允许进入中国。我们已经与国外无法拍摄的广告公司、制片公司和品牌客户确认了在中国远程拍摄的方案。最近我们收到了很多这样的请求。

其他国家的公司能从中国应对新型冠状病毒的经验中学到什么,能想出其他的办法摆脱困境吗?

如果没有业务,那就没有收入,但任然要熬过这次的疫情,所以必须尽量减少公司的成本结构。振作起来,一切都会好转的。 在最严重的期间,全国各地的居民都闭门不出,一个又一个鬼城。但我们之所以能在如此短暂的时间内迅速地攻克这次疫情,靠的是每个人的努力,大家在公共场合都戴着口罩,政府也关闭了所有公共交通。

在这期间,我们都有机会体验新技术,找新的角度。我听说很多外国客户正在尝作自制电影,为此,请求他们的经纪公司提供自拍的创艺方案。从长远来看,这可能不太可行。我们现在提供给国外客户的是他们在国外远程导演、我们在中国经行拍摄的服务。在西方,他们也会想出新的日常运行方式;我认为这次疫情过后,会留下很多长久的远程拍摄格式。

阅读完整的访谈(英语,外部链接)。

当新冠疫情来临时,影片在线拍摄应运而生

PIGremote

随着全球范围的禁拍令,中国正为影视业提供远程拍摄的解决方案。

“美丽新世界”

的确,现在是动荡的时代。新冠疫情的影响已经横扫了整个娱乐业。制片行业呈跳崖式跌落。虽然因疫情而产生的长期影响仍然是一个有争议的话题 —— 杰克赶紧去倒杯威士忌!—— 短期的影响显而易见:世界各地已经停止电影拍摄

说这个行业动荡不安,也只是轻描淡写。不用望太远处看就能发现越来越多的原因。纽约和加州的制片可以就这个话题进行生动的展示,我们就不多说了。迪斯尼、派拉蒙、环球、HBO甚至财务部的Susan都把他们的电影发行时间推到了秋冬季节。戛纳电影节、温布尔登、艾美奖、还有,天呐,欧洲电视台的Eurovision都已经被取消了。

Edwin Hooper (Unsplash)

还没有到走投无路的时候。

当世界各国都正为突然出现的一群又一群长跑爱好者而发愁的时候,中国却成功地击败了新冠疫情。中国政府在四月份已经解除了对几乎所有的生活和商业管制;当然,这不包括湖北地区、开学——家长们加油!——和禁止外籍人士入内等政策,但怎么说这也远远胜出了所有G7成员国。

Tedward Quinn (Unsplash)

“当老天爷关上这扇窗,会为你打开另一扇门”

2月下旬,北京、上海和深圳恢复了非常有限的影视拍摄。从3月以来,戴着手套和N95面具的团队已开始在全国范围内进行拍摄。你羡慕吗?

这都是中国的福气,我为什么要关心,” 你这样问?如果你没有问,显然你没有正确阅读这篇文章(或者已经跳到了结尾)。就像Q拯救邦德紧绷绷的小屁屁一样,进场:技术小玩意儿来帮助导演们戒酒,还有为制片们放松自己。

我们说的是远程拍摄,可别小看它。

唤起你的意识,想象一下。如June等人在上海的片场工作时,导演和其他多达59人却在北美(或其他任何地方),被困在家中,只穿着睡衣,通过笔记本参与这场远程拍摄。

Live in Shanghai and Los Angeles
Photo courtesy PIG China

远程团队以高达2K的分辨率观看每个4K镜头,距离直播只差10帧。通过流畅的5G网络传输到家中——我们说的是真正意义上的5G,而不是那种 “光指在威尔希尔大道南北角有信号的 ” 特朗普风格5G。

当他在Grubhub上找不到半个像样的澳白时,导演非常恼火,但只能对着笔记本尖叫;我们避免了一次“特别情况”,也省了一大笔加班费。这就是Zoom/Facetime/Skype欢乐时光的升级版。

是的,这就是远程拍摄。对,它不是新闻。但确实是一个热门话题。来自各地的电影公司、广告代理、品牌和制片方正争先恐后地通过中国团队进行远程拍摄。提醒了我们,随时都需要抓住时机,命运掌握在自己的手里。

Photo courtesy PIG China

对一些人来说,是一条前进的道路;对另一些人来说,是一条生命线。随便你怎么说,在中国的远程制作已经起飞了,可不能错过这趟“火车”!

虽然远程拍摄不是一个金箍棒,但它确实能解决很多问题。再外加一系列与好莱坞都不分上下的专业人员、设备和场景,你今晚终于可以睡个安稳觉了。

一个(有点必要的)免责声明
PIG正在为受新冠疫情危机影响的拍摄公司、代理公司、品牌和其他客户提供一系列远程拍摄服务和解决方案。我们继续以同样敏锐的眼光来运营我们的片场,以确保质量和专业性,同时我们也会关注片场人员的健康和安全。

品牌的 “抗疫” 转变

​随着全球COVID-19传染的增长,越来越多的人已经生活在隔离的环境里。各国政府试图通过使用“social distancing — 社会距离”一词来强调留在家中的重要性。“社会距离”意味着与其他人保持6英尺的距离,以降低传播感染的风险。

看来知名品牌同样也在遵循这个政策…

麦当劳、可口可乐和Chiquita等众多国际品牌迅速采取行动,即刻重新设计自己品牌的标识。

虽然这种策略看上去像是营销天才手段,但并非所有人都同意。在Siegel+Gale执行创意总监Douglas Sellers的眼里,“当前的全球形势可不是开玩笑的,这是一个严重的问题。品牌设计的社会距离标识有可能减轻我们正在经历的情况的严重性”。

实际上, Doug老哥,条条大路通罗马。在“严肃而有意义–但代价昂贵”的这一项上,LVMH集团和Gap无疑得分最高。他们更改了生产线,为的是生产消毒剂和口罩。甚至在超级重量级的“认真对待”上,Ford和Tesla开始制造呼吸机了。不分事态大小,对于现在,做些对人类有意义的事才是最重要的。

大家注意身体。

PIG为OPPO Lamborghini制作全3D宣传片

PIG最近与OPPO合作拍摄了Find X2 Pro手机兰博基尼版的最新影片!这款特殊版手机基于Aventador SVJ Roadster(限800量),背面采用碳纤维纹理,相机边缘镀金,同时也采用了漂亮的黑色和铜色调,与超跑完全平行。

全片:链接

PIG制作的这部全3D影片是由动画集体WIZZ里的Unit Motion导演们精心完成的(更多关于WIZZ)。在30秒的短片里WIZZ完美的体现了手机和超跑的设计融合。

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

#有我就没完# 连续双片合作

Under Armour

2020年爱德玛全球品牌 #有我就没完 系列,其中金源与朱婷的影片由P.I.G. China在天津与上海全程拍摄。此系影片是响应爱德玛今年最新的品牌宣传语:

成为更好并不容易,没有捷径、没有作弊代码、没有快速修复,只能是努力。只要有我,就没完。”

全片:金源
全片:朱婷

#有我就没完 集结了全球数十位职业运动员,如:斯蒂芬库里、迈克尔菲尔等,来诠释这条口号的战役精神,也是品牌推广的意义所在。这次,中国系列请来了前国家队田径中长跑运动员金源和中国排球国家队队员朱婷,进行录制拍摄。

P.I.G. China 与爱德玛已是第三次合作了!这次我们的团队去了天津中国女排学院,与朱婷进行为期2天的拍摄。紧接著回到上海,在短短两天时间内和金源跑遍了六个不同的场地完成这场拍摄。

这两支短片将于今年春季与其他支 #有我就没完 系列影片在全球媒体平台上问世。

天才动画集体WIZZ

嘿,你好呀!

WIZZ 是一家 动画、混合媒体和设计超级集体。

WIZZ Animation Collective

WIZZ 自诩为一个“设计实验室”,热衷于创作二维和三维动画等多媒体素材。更重要的是, WIZZ 热衷于和他们的导演一起集思广益拓展结合以上模式的艺术产业以及技术工具。


对于商业广告、MV、电影、电视剧或相关的需求,WIZZ致力于成为一个真诚的创作说书伙伴。

Oppo Find X2 Lamborghini Aventador Edition

WIZZ 导演 — Unit Motion,最近与PIG合作为OPPO Find X2 Lamborghini Aventador 版手机创作了一部30秒的广告片。点击观看

NIke “Never Ask” (Cannes Gold Lion)

WIZZ工作室里的动画团队CRCR所创作的Nike《Never Ask》Campaign 荣获2019年法国戛纳广告节的金狮奖,及荣获2018年欧洲最佳银奖。

了解更多

赛车手Ken Block与PIG给你带来漂移大片Climbkhana 2:横走天门山

2019年12月–赛车手Ken Block(砖叔)最新的漂移大片Climbkhana 2: Heaven’s Gate Road 横走天门山 由美国Hoonigan Media MachinePIG 的协助下制作完成,大家辛苦了!

全片:链接

2018年,许多人担心《Gymkhana 10》标志着汽车最大的病毒视频系列的结束。但车手Ken Block又来了并推出了新的系列片Climbkhana。该系列由Toyo TiresForza MortorsportOmaze赞助。这次,Block和Hoonigan Media Machine在 PIG 的支持下,带着一辆914马力的福特F-150 Hoonitruck前往位于中国深处的张家界,登上了世上最危险的道路之一,拍摄了《Climbkhana 2:横走天门山》。 

提起天门山,Ken Block说“大约五年前,我在网上发现了一张照片,照片上的疯狂的道路由无数个急转弯组成的,有时这些急转还会自行交叉“

Climbkhana 2的导演Brian Scotto说“在过去的几年里,该地区也拍摄过一些其他的视屏,但对于我们来说,我们的亮点就是我们独特的电影制作风格和Ken的狂野驾驶。这条路很神奇,但也很无情。

5台RED摄像机,2架无人机以及20多个GoPro同时跑来捕Ken Block惊人的驾驶…