W：最初的brief比较开放，主要针对2015年度New Balance 574的计划内品牌推广和曝光，但W则是没有直接切入产品，而是从品牌整体战略整合的方式进行解题，最后针对年轻目标群体输出＃这是我们的原色＃的策略诉求。最终故事的设想，是W根据策略方向再细化为具体创意脚本后，和罗导沟通并合力完成。
One of the scenes in the Boy’s spot was shot in a classroom of National Taipei University. “男生篇”的其中一个取景地是国立台北大家的教室。
客户: New Balance
The young Shanghai advertising agency W has created a buzz around every one of their campaigns so far. Their latest campaign for New Balance, #This is Our True Colour#, is no exception. The creative idea and production quality of the two films won admirers within both the media and the ad industry the moment it hit the web. The director of the spots is GingZim Lo, one of the best-known and prolific directors in Taiwan. For him, the films are not just another reminiscence of past dreams or an ode to lost youth. In this story, the camera documents the almost ‘brutal’ reality the young people are facing.
To create empathy with the film’s lead characters, Lo applies a unique camera language in each film: in the boy’s chapter, the hero’s movement is captured in one long shot; while for the girl, a sequence of intense, rapid-fire shots are employed. The blue and greenish color tone of the film suggests this is not the picture of a colorful, young life that you might imagine, but rather stories of hard truth.
SHP+ interviewed W founder, Water Lee, about the creative thinking behind the campaign, and cooperating with Lo.
What was the brief from New Balance? Who came up with the two stories?
W: The original brief was quite open, mainly based on the brand promotion strategy for NewBalance574 in 2015. However, W didn’t focus directly on the product. Instead we studied the brand’s overall strategy in an integrated way, and finally came up with the campaign idea: ‘This Is Our True Colour’. Based on this creative idea, W refined the script and completed the storyboard with Director GingZim Lo.
What are the inspirations of the story? Why did you decide to have the characters refer to themselves in the third person?
W: The main consideration was to avoid repeating the conventional means of conceiving a story, which is usually adapting an extraordinary event for an ordinary person, or trying to communicate with young people in an overly sensational way. We wanted to express the creative idea through a realistic, ordinary person, whilst also giving it a slightly abstract expression, similar to a sort of fable of youth. Setting the narration from a third party perspective was used to reinforce this theme.
Why did you select Lo as the director? Which aspect of the storyboard most appealed to Lo when you first approached him?
W: We would like to thank Shanghai Millennium Media, a local production company, for introducing Lo to us.
In fact, it was not the storyboard that excited the director the most, it was in fact the campaign’s target audience. Most of the creative ideas these days target either the ‘elites’ or the ‘wannabes’. In this campaign, our target audience has no label. These people are the special ones amongst the ordinary, and the core group amongst the ‘elite’. These people are thought of by most advertisers as a kind of superficial, hollow middle class. But we felt they deserve better.
We wanted to tell stories that recreate their youthful experiences. Luo and W found this is an intriguing idea to explore – very few people have tried this, and even fewer have done it well. We both agreed that no commercials had successfully told a story with this theme. Only very few Chinese movies have been successful with this approach – Taiwanese director Yang Deng Chang’s “11”, Ang Lee’s “Eat Drink Man Woman” and Yasujiro Ozu’s “Autumn Afternoon”.
Once we began exchanging ideas, we hit it off with Lo.
Is this the first time you have worked with Lo? What was it about working with him that impressed you the most?
W: It was the first time. I am very impressed and inspired by him. There is a rumour that more than half of the internationally-awarded and critically-acclaimed spots in Taiwan are done by Lo. Before meeting him, I assumed that such a powerful director would be unapproachable and domineering whereas, in fact, the opposite is the truth. I saw a mature and polite international director with strong logical thoughts and intuition. He applied a magic touch to all of our creative ideas, whilst at the same taking care of the customer’s needs, like a big brother.
Talk us through the creative decisions regarding the look – camera angles, editing and colors. Are you happy with the film overall?
W：In general I am happy with the tone, except that the Taiwanese style is a bit too obvious.
Tell us a little bit about the shoot.
W: The shoot took place in two locations in Taiwan. One was in the classroom of National Taipei University. The other was a tunnel in the abandoned gold mine sites in Jioufen area. The two films took two days to shoot with a team of 20 people.
What were the biggest challenges throughout the process, from brief to execution?
W：To fully and clearly express the campaign idea within a limited timeframe. The creation and the revision of the ad’s script also required a lot of effort.
W have produced some successful and influential campaigns on HTML5. Alongside that, the agency has delivered some highly acclaimed advertising films. How do you allocate your resources across two such different fields?
W：Refine the team resources. Smartly allocate works.
How are W positioning themselves – interactive digital or branded film-making?
W: There are some misconceptions about W in the industry. W is not an interactive technology company in the traditional sense, nor a so-called creative hot shop. It is a new type of marketing agency with branding capacity and the advantages of new interactive technology.
How have W become so successful in such a short period of time?
W：The answers are above. A lot of people make assumptions about W, but we are actually another type of W altogether.