Wearing a five-pointed red star on his hat and t-shirt, and a guitar on his back, Wang Xu walks the wintry streets of Beijing to open the latest Red Star Erguotou commercial There is A Red Star in Everybody. Red Star liquor, popular amongst the working class for its low cost and strong flavor, is now targeting a younger generation of consumers. The crew from the film Golden Era, including award-winning cinematographer Wang Yu, worked with critically-acclaimed director Li Jinpeng to create this new film.
The script was written by Guangzhou-based agency GIMC, and Xu Yulei as the executive producer. “They wanted to make a completely different commercial to their previous ones,” said Ju You Producer Xu Yulei. “In order to create such an epic piece GIMC and the client provided the team as much support and space for creative freedom as possible.” Li Jinpeng and Wang Yu together brought the commercial a feature-film-like quality. Numbers of people told Xu upon the release of the commercial that “It never occurs to them that a alcohol commercial could be presented in such way.”
This commercial certainly exceeded GIMC’s expectations – and lots of netizens have responded and complimented the piece. Apart from the excellent production crew and supportive and trusting clients, Xu thinks that the positive energy shown in the commercial was a key factor to the success of the commercial, and the reason why it attracted so many millennials. “Everybody craves light and positivity; it is especially crucial in a society that breeds so much anxiety. As a matter of fact, a lot of our other work also aims to spread this sense of positivity,” she says.
Starting off as a migrant worker, Wang Xu also used to be a street musician in Beijing. Along with his friend Liu Gang, Wang formed a band named Xu Ri Yang Gang, and they went on to perform at CCTV’s legendary Chinese New Year Gala the following year for an international audience of over a billion.“The first time I tried Red Star Erguotou was in 2000 when I first came to Beijing. I became obsessed with its strong flavors,” says Wang.
Director Li Jinpeng and Art Director Shu Xingjia were very impressed when they saw a band performing on a mobile stage while travelling overseas. “We finally got the opportunity to re-create it for this commercial,” says Xu, when asked how this idea came about. However, they of course faced obstacles during the filming process. They originally wanted to shoot on a double-decker bus, but double-decker buses no longer exist in Beijing. Instead they chose to use a semi-truck. It took a lot of effort and hard work for the team to successfully create such a sensational scene.
The commercial was entirely filmed in Beijing to capture the authenticity of Red Star Erguotou. The filming locations included various Hutongs, the Huamao Bridge, and Shou Gang Capital Steel’s factory. Although the entire pre-production process took about a month, the actual filming was done in only 2 days. Winter in Beijing is cold and brutal, and the film crew didn’t wrap until after midnight. In order to stay warm, the production team made ginger soup for everybody—they bought all the ginger available in the farmers market on the first day!
“We make a great and simple team, and all we want to promote is happy advertising,” says Xu.