Laziness God 懒神之战
After ad campaigns pushing slogans like “Self-discipline gives me freedom”, and “If you fear it, you’re on the right track”, the sport app Keep did something completely unexpected. Their campaign features a lazy God, a male fairy wearing a pink tutu, who messes with people’s exercise goals. As you can imagine, the overall tone and feel is such a departure from all the usual seriousness of other sport ads. But the film, which runs over three minutes, can easily leave the viewer wondering what is going on? So we asked Kama Zhang, founder and creative leader of agency KARMA, and director Kevin Lee for some behind-the-scenes decoding.
当人们听惯了运动广告的经典鸡血广告语比如“自律给我自由”，或者“怕就对了”之类，运动APP Keep最新的广告有点出乎人们意料。在这部广告大片中，懒神和他身穿粉色蓬蓬裙的“糙汉小天使”，不断地在干扰人们的健身计划。大家可以想象一下这个画面，这种风格的确与一般经典的，严肃的，积极向上的运动广告相去甚远。并且这部只有三分钟多的短片情节还很丰富，甚至让人有点目不暇接，观众很容易搞不清到底是怎么回事？于是，我们邀请了KARMA的创始人兼首席创意总监Kama Zhang和导演凯文·李Kevin Lee为我们解读一下该作幕后的故事。
From the get-go, “Laziness God” was an experiment. KARMA, the long-lasting agency partner of Keep, wasn’t tasked to motivate the sport app’s audience to move or exercise more. Nor were they on a hefty mission to show a more relatable side of the brand, or to promote sport from a different angle. The brief was more open. So KARMA came up with the concept while analyzing Keep’s “100 days challenge”, seeing that many people gave up midway. To be precise, only 70 thousand participants out of 700,000 finished the challenge.
其实从一开始，广告片《懒神之战》就是一部实验性的作品。作为Keep的长期代理合作伙伴，KARMA本次的任务并不是去鼓励Keep的用户多运动或多锻炼。他们的重大使命是展现品牌更贴近大众的一面，或是从一个不同的角度去推广体育运动。这次的项目要求更加开放。KARMA在盘点 Keep “立旗100天” 活动的时候发现，不少用户半途而废了，这给了他们灵感。经过统计，他们发现70万人中只有7万人完成了这项挑战。
Seizing from this insight, Kama knew they wanted to take a different approach and be bold. But the idea was so bold, they presented the “Lazy God” concept along with other ideas, so to not scare the client. Understandably so: the concept is a big departure from the “superior expert” image that Keep built with their previous campaigns. But KARMA wanted to create a fresh, funny and unexpected commercial film with a memorable character to show who is to blame for all these users quitting their exercise goals. They believed that creating a character to represent their laziness would help Keep’s users be motivated to overcome him. According to Kama, the client got the idea, liked the idea, and trusted the agency’s judgment to pull off the adventurous project, which resulted in the hilarious film.
Kama Zhang(KARMA’s founder & CCO/创始人兼首席创意总监) & Kevin Lee(Director/导演)
Kama says, that Kevin’s name instantly popped into his mind as a perfect director for the project. They knew each other since the time both worked at Ogilvy, before Kevin chose directing over an established advertising creative career. “Most importantly, Kevin has made a name for himself because of his unique creative taste and incredible imagination. For this spot, both were equally important, as one wrong move could easily turn this ad from “hilarious” to “farce”, shares Kama.
For Kevin, “Lazy God” is a debut in the three-minutes commercial format. The director brought a lot to the table creatively: from “Austin Powers” spy comedy as a reference to rewriting the song. Though the script did not undergo many rounds of rewrites, KARMA spent quite a lot of time tweaking and rewriting the lyrics of the song. Originally presented as rap, with Kevin’s input, lyrics were significantly cut, and rhythm slowed down to match the Lazy God character’s personality. The director also livened up the script with eye-catching details, like that male fairy next to the main character, intentionally exaggerated.
The pre-production took a long time. From casting the right “Lazy God” actor, to the production design and selecting the retro wardrobe, not to mention the building and rebuilding of the props. The production house Shooting Gallery Asia spent 5 days shooting, instead of the two days originally planned. A number of tricky scenes were shot in camera instead of using cgi, which prolonged the process, but undeniably helps create the humorous tone of the film. Another reason for the extended shooting days was the team “weren’t happy with some of the props”, so they had to rebuild and reshoot them.
该片的前期制作花了很长时间。从选择合适的“懒神”演员，到制作设计和选择复古服装，道具的制作和重建花的功夫是更不用说。制作公司Shooting Gallery Asia因此花费了5天的时间拍摄，而不是原计划的2天。不少棘手的场景都是用相机拍摄的，而非使用CGI，这样虽然拍摄过程更长，但的确有助于为影片奠定幽默的基调。另一方面由于团队认为“部分道具没达到标准”，不得不重新准备道具，重新拍摄，这也造成了拍摄时间的延长。
To show the level of Kevin’s attention to details, Kama elaborates: “The Flag console and monitors envisioned by the director had to reflect ’70s American retro aesthetic, and seamlessly fit into the temple of Lazy God, bringing a touch of ceremonial style. Not to mention, to be meticulously realistic— with buttons, indicators, and all the details”.
Love it or hate it, the spot generated 4.8 million views on Keep’s official Weibo alone and won’t leave you indifferent. In Kama’s view, it’s always good if there’s discussion. “Some users didn’t get the humor, while others found it offensive, saying the Lazy God is repulsive. Some industry colleagues are even saying it’s “too advanced”. But I think if you set out to be as creative as possible, sometimes it’s important to push the envelope so I’m very satisfied with the end result. Any extremes naturally provoke a polarized response, and this kind of reaction is completely in line with what I expected”.