If there’s one government organization in China that knows how to advertise with humor and good branding—it’s the China Weather Bureau. For its 70th anniversary, the bureau released a video that was an instant hit. Starring singer Jim Hsiao the commercial film got 3M views on Weather Bureau’s official Weibo page alone.
Thousands of fans commented that Jim Hsiao, endearingly nicknamed “God of Rain”, is the perfect match for the video. The nickname stuck after the Taiwanese singer had a series of concerts back in 2012; fans joke that you can predict the weather based on where his concerts are – from Beijing to New York wherever Jim went with a concert, the rain followed.
The four and a half minute commercial film for Weather Bureau tells another weather-predicting story about a boy with an acute sense for the weather, and his dream to become a TV presenter.
“Weather forecast presenter diary” was directed by Hou Zuxing, but is not her first for the Weather Bureau. She also directed last-year’s “A Man in olzlCZvc” commercial film which was selected among the 30 Best Ads of 2018 by the Modern Advertising magazine.
In an interview published on Weibo, the director says that she had doubts about whether “calm and gorgeously handsome” Jim Hsiao could deliver the expressive and funny bits of the video with ease. In the end, however, the team needed half of the estimated time to finish the shoot.
Due to the busy schedule of the singer and the Weather Bureau, the preparation time, on the other hand, was a bit of a drag. The team first started discussing the project with the singer in December 2018, and the shoot finally started in August 2019.
Through these videos, “A distant and formal government organization becomes more relevant to common people”, Hou Zuxing says. She hopes that the decision to go in the same entertaining direction with the second video builds up the long-term anticipation for the audience. Who knows, what the Weather Bureau will do next year?
With a familiar character that migrated from the previous video, inside jokes and a wittily matched star, the new commercial film also has an interesting touch— it features full credits at the end, something Hou Zuxing admits you don’t often see in the ad industry.
Connecting the audience to the brand through storytelling is a noticeable trend in China recently. If commercials become more like mini-films, maybe, crediting the whole team’s effort just like in the end of a feature-length film will soon become a new normal.