China is a huge lucrative market, full of established international and local Chinese brands providing a lot of work and big budgets for advertising market. Creatives like to use foreign talents’ to add value and visual interpretations for their campaigns. Local production companies usually do projects-based collaborations hiring from abroad a big number of foreign based directors. But a very select few of foreign production companies has actually set their shop and survived in China until now. Companies like Stink, Radical Media and SweetShop are those who have managed to keep their presence while many more like Partizan, Premiere Heure and Wanda, just to mention a few, rapidly failed.
中国是个诱惑力巨大的市场，到处都是著名的国际品牌和中国本土品牌，对广告市场有巨大的内容需求和资金预算。创意人喜欢使用外国人才，增加价值和提高对campaign的视觉演绎水平。当地制作公司通常是项目制合作关系，从海外招募大量外国导演。非常小的一部分外国制作公司已经在中国设立了分公司，并且至今仍在中国砥砺前行。一些公司如 Stink、Radical Media和SweetShop在中国市场上稳住了阵脚，而另一些公司则在短期内黯然离场，例如 Partizan、Premiere Heure和Wanda。
So when a company like Hamlet, that proudly marches in the industry with their motto “Raw emotions, beautifully crafted”, gets serious about their future in China and establishes a presence here, it’s an attention-grabbing event.
SHP+ got a chance to set foot in a newly-opened Hamlet office before the official launch party. Located in a sophisticatedly minimalistic surroundings, with a typical Shanghai lane view in the background, we sat down with managing partner Yimeng Zhang to get the details of Hamlet’s new China chapter.
The decision to open a Hamlet branch in Shanghai came from increasing business in China in the past 2-3 years, when Hamlet worked with agencies like Wieden+ Kennedy, BBH producing commercial film projects for major clients such as Nike, OPPO. Aiming to build further on their relations in China, founders Ruben Goots and Jason Felstead put their trust in executive producer Yimeng Zhang, who conveys confidence that she can win the market. Born in China, and raised in Germany, with national Chinese and global campaigns in her portfolio, Yimeng brings a deep understanding of both Chinese and Western cultures.
作出在上海开一家Hamlet分部的决定，是由于过去两至三年里在中国不断增加的业务，那个时候Hamlet与Wieden+ Kennedy和BBH合作，为像耐克、惠普和OPPO这样的大客户开展商业广告项目。旨在立足于中国市场并实现公司所设立的长远目标，HAMLET的创始人Ruben Goots和Jason Felstead一致选择了执行制片人张一萌作为新市场的合作伙伴，并相信她将把握住未来的发展方向和机遇。在中国出生，德国长大的一萌，对中西方文化都有很深入的了解，在这样的优势下，主导了诸多中国本土品牌和国际品牌的广告制作。
Jason Felstead & Ruben Goots
With respect to the work and market share of nearly countless local production houses already on the scene, Hamlet is very conscious about their competitive edge. An interesting layer to understanding of this production house comes from their name: aside from Shakespeare’s famous play describing the plight of the doomed prince, “hamlet” has a lesser-used meaning of “small village”. The company that believes in storytelling and is not afraid of taking risks, has started with a goal to create a close-knit community, a small house for talents like directors, actors, content creators to feel openly welcome to join and leave their mark.
“I think no matter, how fast technology will advance, or how the way of communication will evolve, what haven’t changed through centuries is our urge to tell good stories and create interesting content”.
Nike – Dare to Become
Director – Ian Pons Jewell
Among the 29 international talents on Hamlet’s roaster, 18 represent a younger generation who can offer a refreshing perspective. Such is, for instance, French director duo AB/CD/CD — versatile filmmakers, who cover everything from creative content to fiction, mixing visual tricks and narrative. Ian Pons Jewell, who transformed into an established A-list director in the past three years, is known for his high standards, as well as a record of applying his unconventional thinking to works shot in China. Another newly joined duo Julien & Quentin, who direct creative films melting youth culture and a unique visual identity, also have the potential to be relevant in China.
在与Hamlet合作的29位国际人才中，有18位是代表着具有崭新视角的新生代。比如，法国导演搭档AB/CD/CD就是这样的——涉及从创意内容到虚幻故事，混合了视觉技巧和叙事的多栖电影制作人。Ian Pons Jewell则是在过去三年中成功蜕变为一名著名的一线广告导演，在业内以高标准著称，并将自己的非传统理念运用在中国摄制的作品中。另外新加入的导演组合Julien&Quentin以其融合青年文化和独特视觉识别度的风格具有在中国取得一席之地的潜力。
HP Omen — Achieve Gamefulness
Director – The Sacred Egg
“I get that a lot from my industry friends in Europe: they are amazed how bold the campaign ideas can be in China. In Europe, a lot of brands are more conservative and safe, the markets are smaller. But here, people are bored if you keep doing the same thing, you have to always reinvent yourself to stay relevant on the market ”.
Yimeng is hoping not only to produce classic TVC with established directors from Hamlet’s roster. In her previous line of work, Yimeng tended to always be on the lookout for emerging talents, fresh minds and help them put the name on the map. She shares that one of the factors driving her decision to join Hamlet is Jason and Ruben’s supported belief that she has the eyes to discover and foster local young talents and provide them with a platform to become influential while creating inspirational content.
It takes a village to create inspiring work, that can conquer the market. We would like to believe that sometimes, all it takes is a Hamlet, populated by daring creatives but let’s see if in the near future they would be able to proudly say : veni vidi vici !
OPPO – Wind Kids
Director – Madja Amin