Are your gaming friends really your friends? That’s what W+K Shanghai is trying to answer with their latest campaign for HP OMEN, one of China’s leading brands of gaming computers.
Frenemies, brought to life by production house The Pandemic Story, sheds light onto the real-life adventures of gamers. It shows how they use their network of fellow players to keep improving or, at the very least, to stop them from sucking at their game. However, this support usually takes the strange form of a fierce-rival friendship between frustrations and victories—a ‘frenemy’ pact.
影片叫《亦敌亦友记》，由The Pandemic Story制作的。它以玩家们在现实生活中的日常为灵感，讲述了他们相互激励，一起进步，从菜鸟变高手的故事。但是，玩家之间的这种“友爱”，也夹杂着比赛的输赢和激烈竞争，亦敌，又亦友。
“To gamers, riling each other up is a funny form of teamwork and the best way to stoke their competitive spirits and win games. So their strongest teammates are not friends, but frenemies.” explains creative director Tree Chan.
W+K portrays this unique relation through a series of sitcom-style spots about a group of youngish friends who share an apartment and a common obsession for gaming. They spend their days on the edge of their seats, clung to their monitors, bearing hilarious grimacing expressions. The failures in their virtual competitions are met with shared rage and their victories with elated euphoria.
“When we figured out how important rivalries are in a gamer’s friendships, we immediately thought of sitcoms,” says senior copywriter Nick Partyka. “We realized we had the perfect format to not only deliver our message but to create a culture to be shared and enjoyed within the gaming community.” The campaign also takes inspiration for things closer to home, like wacky Japanese commercials and WeChat gifs, which add to a unique result, similar to the visually chaotic world in which gamers thrive.
资深文案Nick Partyka说道：“当我们发现朋友之间玩游戏会暗暗竞争的时候，我们就很自然地想到了情景喜剧。这种形式不仅能很好地传递我们的讯息，更能让品牌走进文化，打造游戏玩家真正想看、想分享的内容。” 这次的广告还从我们的生活中汲取了想法，比如古怪的日本广告、微信动图，这些都给我们的影片带来了一种独特的效果，让我们的影片更贴近游戏玩家们喜欢的视觉风格。
The internal research and brainstorming processes at W+K were made easier with the fact that they had gamers in every department involved in the project, from creative and design to strategy and brand management. Even director Louis Shen is a gaming enthusiast, which was one reason he was chosen, together with his capacity to lean into the realm of television with mastery.
Shen approached the shoot in the same way he would when directing for television. For instance, there were intensive preparations and rehearsals for actors to perform entire scenes instead of short takes. What’s more, the production crew had to replicate everything like in a TV show. They had to craft the set differently and pay more attention to continuity than they would in a regular advertising shoot. But these were fun challenges, and they were all pretty pleased in understanding from an insider’s perspective the magic behind their favorite TV shows.
The campaign is yet another deep dive from W+K Shanghai into the gaming world. It comes after Gamefulness, their 2019 campaign for HP OMEN, and Nike’s first-ever esports film in 2020. The first, although visually different, follows the same ethos of understanding a gamer’s mind from the inside. It compares their obsession with gaming with a pursuit of mindfulness as if it were a true religion and a path to enlightenment. In turn, Nike’s campaign pokes fun at the fact that gamers are now considered athletes and takes these mostly sedentary competitors on a trip of intense physical training.
All three campaigns are similar with irreverent storytelling, stunning scenarios, and catchy visual effects. Their witty humor and powerful insights into a gamer’s mind are courageous in a time when the gaming industry itself faces scrutiny for its potentially harmful effects on people. Gamers certainly identify with the message. “I like it! I already smashed my laptop once. I wish I could have friends like this,” says a gamer, commenting on a Frenemies video online.
Client 客户：HP China
Agency 代理商：W+K Shanghai
ECD：Ian Toombs, Vivian Yong
Senior Art Director 资深美术指导: Follen See
Senior Creative 资深创意: Nick Partyka
Senior Producer 代理商资深制片：Fang Yuan
Production House制作公司：The Pandemic Story
EP 监制：Ay Wei Wong
Producer 制片：Areta Mak
Line Producer：Ser Ping Lee
Director 导演：Louis Shen
DoP 摄影指导：Liu Pai
1Asistant director 副导演：Feng Youjie
Art Director 美术指导：Sun Zhengchu
Color 调色：Nick Barton
Post House 后期制作：Fin Design + Effects Shanghai
Music House音乐：Ker Sound Studios