源自于60年代的户外品牌The North Face（TNF），现在被W公司渲染出了一股现代色彩，现以全新大胆的方向展现在中国面前，激起了强烈的蒙太奇电影般的生活运动。
W公司创始人及创意总监李三水（李3水）解释道，开始时就是一条普通的方案简述，“The North Face非常直接地告诉我们，他们想为具有变革性又独树一帜的冲锋衣FUSEFORM产品打造一场宣传活动。”
TNF于60年代中期诞生于加利福尼亚，这一地区在当时经常充斥着嬉皮士运动。当年，Doug Tompkins和一群长头发又自由奔放的年轻人在他们所钟爱的优胜美地国家公园（Yosemite National Park）露营爬山，公司由此诞生。1966年，Tompkins和Kenneth “Hap” Klopp在旧金山开了第一家店，玻璃上贴着鲍勃·迪伦（Bob Dylan）的海报，后来1968年品牌被命名为The North Face。
宣传最开始只是一个15秒的悬念预热视频，出现在网络和国内主要城市地体站大屏幕上。各大城市地铁站内的大屏幕如同被黑客侵入，经常“窜线”到安全监控录像：一伙身份不明的黑衣人分头组装三个巨型箱体，随后监控镜头立刻被喷漆，信号被切断。最后，出现的是The North Face的logo和Fuseform字标。
W has put a modern spin on The North Face’s 1960s roots to set the outdoor brand in a bold new direction in China, sparking the campaign to life with a high-octane montage film.
W founder and creative director Li Sanshui explains that it started out as a run-of-the-mill brief, “TNF was pretty straight-forward with us. They asked to create a campaign for their revolutionary and one-of-a-kind FUSEFORM products.”
Never one to stick to the rulebook, however, the agency looked at how they could do more than simply sell a few more units. “We didn’t exactly follow the client’s brief” says Li, “Instead, based on trust and a ton of communication, W proposed an idea – to use this opportunity to re-create TNF’s brand identity in order to increase sales.”
TNF was born in the mid 1960s in California, a time and place often characterized by the hippy movement. The company started out with Doug Tompkins and a group of long-haired, free-spirited youths camping and climbing in their beloved Yosemite National Park. Tompkins and Kenneth “Hap” Klopp opened up their first store in San Francisco in 1966, the window adorned with a poster of Bob Dylan, renaming it The North Face in 1968.
It goes without saying that the Chinese cultural climate in 1968 was utterly at odds with the hippy wave enveloping much of the west. W wanted to recapture the spirit of TNF’s beginnings, all the while making it relevant to a Chinese society for whom the original movement had no meaning. The rebrand sought to connect with a modern day generation of outdoor enthusiasts, defined by the agency as “Chinese hippies”.
To make the concept work, Li explains, “the Chinese hippies had to be alive”. Stripped away were the tired clichés – anti-war demonstrations, free love, mind-bending substances, psychedelic music – leaving the core values of the original movement, namely peaceful protest, freedom and reconnecting with nature. “Strategy-wise” Li says, “we identified these Chinese hippies to be those who are outdoorsy, courageous, open-minded, and know how to have fun.” The description for this group naturally informed the campaign tagline, translated loosely as “#fun-loving thrill seekers#”.
The campaign first emerged as a 15-second teaser that appeared online and on screens in metro stations in major cites across China. It appeared that hackers had channeled surveillance camera footage of a group of unidentified men in black separately assembling three giant boxes, before painting over the camera lens and cutting the signal, leaving us with the North Face logo and Fuseform wordmark.
If the mysterious teaser raised questions, the subsequent long form film emphatically provided the answers. Directed by Li Jingbo, the spot is one minute and 15 seconds of extreme, adrenaline-pumping action, with dynamic camera work and rapid-fire editing.
“The inspiration came from the limitations”, explains Li. “Due to our tight schedule and limited budget, we couldn’t film overseas and achieve the global outdoor vibe we planned. Instead, we edited and retouched TNF’s existing original footage. The goal was to quickly draw our target market’s attention, so fast editing, comprehensive information, and a unique pace were the three things we were aiming for. The result was a broad mixture of streams of consciousness and sensationalism.”
The aesthetic, combined with the grinding soundtrack, jars like a horror movie. “I did it on purpose in order to match the “if you want to explore, what is there to be scared of?” tone of the campaign” laughs Li.
The creation process was “a collaboration between the director and editor” adding that “the whole creative process wasn’t easy.” The extensive postproduction work in particular he describes as “intense”.
The agency’s previous campaign for New Balance was especially notable for the in-house composed original song. The TNF spot audio, created by a music producer with whom the agency frequently collaborates, is again striking. “The power of music and the importance of having a perfect soundtrack has always been something for which W is known”, explains Li, “that’s why we have an in-house music department, which is pretty rare in our industry.”
The film has been so well received that it is being re-edited with English subtitles for the Asia Pacific region. The results have spoken for themselves in the form of sales. “We not only created a new brand identity for TNF but also actually sold the product. A lot of people have expressed their willingness to purchase after seeing the commercial.” W’s smart rebrand has set the stage for some intriguing work to emerge.