The pandemic may have influenced Chinese advertising industry in unexpected way. Short format advertising films featuring alternative worlds, men falling in love with virtual women or humans with wings building modern worlds are the dystopian themes of several recent commercials in China.
As the world faces a continued global crisis, it’s actually becoming common for the public around the world to look at dystopian narratives. And while this might seem like a pessimistic point of view, this tendency of projection in the future is in the contrary a positive sign of people searching for hope while having considerate thoughts about the possible scenarios of their future. Dystopian stories become cautionary tales of what could be to come if we don’t learn and change from the current crisis. So, here are just a few of those mentioned examples from China advertising scene.
Production 制作方：舞刀弄影 Wondering Media
Executive Producer 监制：梁锟
Director 导演: 林宇昂Kino
Art Director 艺术指导：常丹妮
Post production 后期制片: 上海一支广告
How can a healthcare brand address the issue that 60-80% of mothers in China experience some degree of anxiety about breast feeding? Whatever your likely approach might be to this brief, Centrum most likely went with a different approach than you could have imagined. With a recent 7-minutes spot, envisioned and brought to life by Wondering Media, the brand starts the film by showing an alternative world, where a statue of mother holding a baby with words “Breast milk above all” crowning her head stands tall above a modern city. In this world, women are required to breast-feed for at least one year, otherwise they become transparent and even disappear transforming into milk bottles. Because of this, special facilities, who look like high-level prisons, have been built to fight this phenomenon and “retrain” women.
The narrative is later interrupted with inputs from real mothers talking about their anxieties related to breast-feeding, and then goes back again to the imaginary city, where the women miraculously recover from transparency, after they understand, that breast milk is not the only way to boost their children’s immune system.
As perplexed as this commercial may leave a viewer, this dystopian approach is not an isolated example in recent Chinese commercials. There’s been quite a few examples lately, illustrating, that perhaps, inventing dystopian fantasies is Chinese creatives’ way of dealing with hard times and pandemic-afflicted uncertainty. One of the recent releases in time for Qixi is from Taobao Life platform— a 13-minutes mini-film telling an unconventional love story between a real and a virtual human.
In this fantasy world, created by GOODZILLA and produced by STARTFilms, people are forced into “love rehabs”. The love story between a virtual singer Dora and program operator Henry, was rewritten 13 times by the ad agency, with final tweaks from director 齐导. Shot in three days, the commercial film finishes with a dramatic scene, where Henry undergoes a procedure to become virtual, and Dora does the opposite procedure to become human. Leaving their future uncertain, the film ends with a “to be continued” to their love story.
在这个由GOODZILLA 创作，STARTFilms制片的科幻世界里，人类会被强行送进 “戒爱所”。这个虚拟歌手Dora与程序员Henry之间的爱情故事，代理商最初的脚本改了13版，并由齐导最终润色完成。该片拍摄了三天，结尾非常有戏剧性：Henry选择变成虚拟人，而Dora却阴差阳错地选择了变成人类，开放式的结局让他们的未来充满可能性，最后影片以 “未完待续” 结束。
The commercial film is actually a second release, following the first online video in mid-August. Also brought to life by the collaboration of STARTFilms and Goodzilla, the spot first introduces the imaginary world, where the improbable love will happen later. The dramatic story centers around wingmen, who once helped build the modern world, but are now pursued by authorities, and have to go in hiding. We won’t spoil the plot of this story which is rich with dramatic atmosphere, but a little lacking on CG craft. Regardless of your take on this style of storytelling, it’s fascinating to watch how a trend of longer-form advertising is rising in China, where the futuristic visions of Chinese creatives lead the industry.
这部广告片其实是同系列的第二部，紧随八月中旬线上放送的第一部影片。而第一部影片也是由STARTFilms 与 GOODZILLA 合作推出，介绍了一个想象中的世界，而这个世界就是之后人与虚拟人跨界恋发生的地方。该片剧情围绕 “翼人” 展开，翼人曾经帮助人类创建世界，但如今却被官方通缉，不得不东躲西藏。具体细节就不给大家剧透了。虽然在CG工艺方面还有进步的空间，但这部影片的剧情十分有深度且充满戏剧性。不论你对这种叙事风格的看法是什么，但看着长篇广告在科幻主题和未来主义的带领下，逐渐在中国逐渐崛起，真是让人意外又惊喜。