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How to make a TVC, when shooting is banned|如何在禁止拍摄的时候制作电视广告片


There’s a fine line between exploiting the hype of the coronavirus outbreak for click bate content, and integrating the topic naturally into an engaging video. The new commercial film for Watson’s China illustrates how, at a little over 4 minutes, to package an inspiring message on women’s day and a nod to the virus situation into a video that resonates deeply with the audience.


Structurally, the video is different from a traditional TVC: it opens with nostalgic photographs, referencing the similar virus outbreak 17 years ago. With every new line of copy, and every new scene, it proceeds into a visual profile of millennial girls, who were just kids last time a virus struck China, but today are assuming responsibility. Interestingly, every line of copy about the millennial women in China is proven by research data that appears on screen.


Early on, W established a reputation as an agency that is not afraid to experiment with new genres of filmmaking which they have been exploring and using since day one. W also has the tendency to establish an extremely trusting relationship and highly efficient working style with their clients. This approach has allowed them to push bold ideas through and get work done efficiently, like in the commercial for Taobao which was completed in unprecedented 13 days. So it’s not really surprising that W pulled off some unconventional twists in this Watson’s ad.


The video, which gathered 1.2 M views on the brand’s official Weibo alone, includes another  uncommon element— the director’s message at the end. Xu Zihao shares his feelings about the shortcomings of the commercial video, explaining that not all the millennial girls fighting on the frontline of Covid-19 are as seen through the lens of this ad. There’s always a more complex reality behind every catchy news title, and «not all the girls in the world are the way we expect them to be».



Xu Zihao also explains how, given the ban to shoot in China, and subsequent travel regulations for Thailand and Japan, the team assembled the video 7000+ km away from each other, shooting in Vancouver. Between the agency in Shanghai, post-production house in Taipei and client in Guangzhou, W found solutions to produce the video which was on the books since collaboration with Watson’s started in November. Li Sanshui shared recently in an interview with SHP+ that shooting during the outbreak forced W to work with the client in a way they’d never envisioned before, with long distance calls and remote multi-party cooperation.




Client 客户: Watsons China 屈臣氏中国

Production 制作公司: W

W Team W的创造者们:

Li Sanshui 李3水, Yao Xing 妖星, A Zhuo 阿卓, Fu Xue 傅雪, Tuo Tuo 坨坨, Ge Huaren 隔花人, Ju Qi 橘七, Xi Yi 希一

Director 导演: Xu Zihao 徐子豪

Vancouver producer/ assistant director 现场副导/制片: Hammer

Pre-production assistant director 前制副导: Jia Sheng 家圣

Art 美术: Amily

Editor剪辑: Guo Ping 国平

Online: 二姐 Jill

Audio mixing 混音: Jeff


Take a look at W’s insights on coronavirus’s impact on the industry:

Part III: Coronavirus and its impact on ad biz in China

Read more about W in our earlier articles:Tmall Care Drama Club天猫无忧话剧团 | Tmall Care Drama ClubTaobao #Go Bold#W广告公司13天的速度与激情W’s fantasy fable for NetEaseW的现代古风寓言 | W’s Fantasy Fables For NetEaseThe True Color of the Youth


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