For its 80 year anniversary promotion in China, Phillips released a very localized video, already dubbed as one that “speaks to every man in China”.
Zhang Dapeng, the director behind last year’s viral commercial “What is Peppa?”, released another new hit. This latest one for Phillips is a 13-minute mini-film that puts four ordinary men in the spotlight. The story of a single dad, an investor, a small business owner, and a young dreamer playing the “Truth or Dare” card game has already generated nearly 5 million views on the brand’s official Weibo page alone.
Set in a train’s sleeper car, there’s not much action going on in the video, where the story is held together by the conversation of the four protagonists. The game, that starts as an attempt to stave off boredom, turns into a meaningful conversation. Career and family, dreams and reality— with each new card, four strangers open up more.
We find out that the youngster is on his way home to carry on the family business, leaving a dream job, a settled life and a girlfriend behind in Beijing and that the single dad wants to ask his girlfriend to be his kid’s mom. The small business owner serves as the most emotional and dramatic portion of the commercial, responding to the youngster’s responsibility to go back and help his father. He tells how every day is a fight to keep his business afloat. Through the hardships, through health problems, there’s only one word in his life—work. Work hard and to the fullest.The investor, who’s abruptly pulled out of sleep, finally joins the game as well confessing that though he’s spent a lot of energy and effort on business, the thing his family is deprived of now is his attention.
The game finishes with every participant finding their answer: the youngster asks his father to give him another year, and returns to Beijing. The investor decides to go back home to his family immediately. The father will talk to his loved one about taking the relationship further, and the business owner rushes forward, rethinking the meaning of success.
The video made waves in Weibo, with netizen comments ranging from funny ones like “I’ve been riding a train for so many years. How come I’ve never been in such an interesting situation”, to the more serious: “ A very touching ad, Phillips created a spokesperson for men”. A lot of users comment that they didn’t know it was an ad until very end, praising the creativity and storytelling of the video. “Recent ads are so cool, they can compete with Thailand commercials now. This one is not pretentious and pulls on the heartstrings”.
“What is Peppa” brought a viral success to Zhang Dapeng, but in advertisement circles he’ s established a reputation for himself as a maker of “view-catching” videos long before that. He’s shot exceptional ads in recognizable style for Nike, Huawei Mate 20, and more. Although he originally studied special effects, he gradually made a career shift as a director. In an interview with Brand Factory (品牌制片厂）he once admitted that he doesn’t identify as a movie director or commercial director, seeing his job as shooting video works. With this attitude it’s not hard to see, why his hit commercials bring a certain “movie grandeur” which resonates more with audiences.