DDB and director Julien Ayrault’s tongue-in-cheek new spot for electrical appliance manufacturer Midea sees a mother and son face off for supremacy over the a/c remote in a surreal fusion of kung fu and parkour.
Both client and agency were looking for an creative approach with an international perspective, hiring French director Julien Ayrault, a long time collaborator with production company WAH.
导演Julien Ayrault与总制片顾家文｜Julien Ayrault and main producer Gu Jiawen
Ayrault was supported by DoP Michal Tywoniuk, who had worked with Ayrault previously and boasted extensive commercial and feature film experience in China. The Frenchman explains why Tywoniuk was his first choice, “Even though we were shooting in a studio, I still wanted to give it a bit of flavor and avoid making it super bright or flat. I knew Michal would be sensitive to my ideas and would know how to use the toys I planned to shoot with.”
Ayrault的好友，摄影师Michal Tywoniuk出任本片的摄影。Tywoniuk与Ayrault之前在中国的电影与广告拍摄中多有合作。 Ayrualt解释了为什么会选择波兰人Tywoniuk作为本片的摄影师：“尽管我们是在室内完成的拍摄，我仍希望能在片中体现出一些特色，避免整部片子太单调。我知道Michal会理解我的想法，他也明白怎么去实现这些想法。”
Ayrault worked closely with client and agency in preproduction to corral the ideas into a coherant and natural storyline. He explains that humor was a key focus, “The mother and the son are not really fighting so it couldn’t look like a real fight. We wanted a bit of a twinkle in the eye and a comedy touch.”
DDB wanted to feature parkour to add extra spice to the action and, having shot films back in France, Ayrault felt comfortable working with the sport. With a limited delivery timeline, it would be important to capture everything live in-camera, meaning rather than work with wires or blue screen, all the acrobatics would need to be real. Ayrault tapped his network for a suitable performer, eventually sourcing Chinese national champion Shen Weichao.
The director was confident that Shen’s athleticism would mean he could handle the required kung fu sequences. Nonetheless, the director spent a day working with a martial arts expert to choreograph believable and achievable moves, followed on the next three days by intensive five-hour rehearsal sessions with the lead actors.
TV actress Xu Yulan, best known for Life Revelation, was cast as the female lead.
摄影师Michal Tywoniuk与DDB创意总监Adams Fan｜Michal Tywoniuk and ECD of DDB Adams Fan
Whilst online Kung Fu clips provided reference, Ayrault drew on an instinctive vision informed by the Jackie Chan movies he watched growing up. His ideas would be supported by Tywoniuk’s experience shooting the Chinese Kung Fu movie, ‘The Butcher, the Chef and the Swordsman’.
Ayrault describes the humorous interplay between kung fu and parkour as the mother and son fight for the remote control as, “a bit of a Tom & jerry idea”. He credits DDB creative, and an open-minded client, with the extra ‘delirium’ elements like lighting dollar bills, mad haircuts and fighting kangaroos on the TV. “The client was very open to playing with things. They wanted to have fun”, he explains.
With visions aligned and freedom to express himself, Ayrault describes a vibrant on-set atmosphere for the one-day shoot. Xu particularly brought a positive energy, dancing between takes to the music Ayrault likes to blast on set. To capture the motion he felt would be critical to the film’s success, Ayrault set up 360 tracks around the actors, using a telescopic technocrane to achieve camera moves that wouldn’t be possible with a jib arm or dolly.
The spot marks another collaboration between Ayrault and his ‘brothers’ at WAH. The production company first hired him for a Guang Ming milk commercial six years ago that received ‘massive exposure’ and proved to be a major launch pad in China for the director. They have since worked together on numerous jobs.
Ayrault credits his old friends for ensuring a happy, highly efficient and smoothly executed shoot, “JJ [WAH EP and owner] and I have known each other a long time. He knows what I like and what I want, and gives me freedom to work, and with the people I want to work with. They are very supportive and do everything they can to help you work comfortably. They have great attention to detail. They appear very relaxed, but they really have everything under control.”
- Agency: DDB
- ECD: Adams Fan
- Copywriter: Jana Chen
- Art Director: Lei Lu
- Senior Producer: Cherry Wang
- Production Company: WAH 嗡啊泓
- Executive Producer: Wu Youyin 吴有音, Wu Chunjie 吴春杰
- Main Producer: Gu Jiawen 顾家文
- Producer: Chris, Li Qian 李谦
- Director: Julien Ayrault
- Cinematographer: Michal Tywoniuk
- Art Director: Dong Xinggui 董兴贵
- Actor & Actress: Shen Weichao 沈伟超, Xu Yulan 徐玉兰
- Post Production: Patch Studio
- Music: Mix Studio