Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Followup to Bruce Lee playing table tennis with nunchuku

Back on November 24, 2008 I posted a Nokia ad which went viral. It was a video featuring what looked like Bruce Lee playing table tennis with a pair of nunchukus. Check out the link if you've not seen the awesome vid before.

There was buzz all over the Net wondering if that was real as the ad was almost a Flawless Execution (forgive my geekiness - some of you should know that reference LOL). I didn't believe it was real from seeing the way the ball bounced. It was not natural in some shots.  Anyway, I found a site with further info - select copy and paste from Agency Asia:

Agency.Asia: Your work for Nokia is simply brilliant. The idea of Bruce Lee playing ping-pong with nunchaku ["nunchukkas"] is so fantastically comprehensible, yet so incredibly obscure.

Every other creative in the world is kicking himself or herself that they didn’t think of it first. That’s the sign of a good idea. How in heaven’s name did you sell an idea that features absolutely no footage of a telephone to a huge multinational client? That is a masterstroke.

Polly Chu: Effective viral relies on an idea that is ‘very’ - very amazing, very funny, very disgusting, or very rude etc. Only when people find it interesting enough, they will spend time with it and share it to others.  That makes it ‘viral’.
Bruce Lee had ‘very’ amazing skills and we knew we had to be true to the legend. Thankfully, we also have a ‘very’ open-minded client who champions and knows the value of great creative.

Photo credit:  Agency Asia

Photo credit:  Agency Asia

Agency.Asia: Is it possible to place a value on a campaign like this?  Nokia must be rather pleased, to say the least. Hopefully we can expect to see more of this edgy style of advertising from them and less skydiving clowns in the future.  What was the inspiration for ‘Bruce Lee’?

Polly Chu: We've done an estimate on how much it would have cost for paid placements on links like YouTube, Youku, etc. The figures came up to millions of dollars.

A little harder to measure, but equally valuable, is the ‘cool factor’ it has given the Nokia brand globally. The inspiration behind the idea comes from the teams’ love for Bruce Lee personally. We are big fans of him.
That’s why we understand what kind of tricks will stir up hot news among his fans. Of course, 2008 was Bruce Lee’s 30th anniversary also inspired us to launch a campaign to pay tributes to him.

Agency.Asia: Seriously, you showed the client a storyboard that doesn’t feature any product until the last frame. What was their initial reaction? By the way, kudos to Nokia for buying it.

Polly Chu: It didn’t start as a TVC idea. When we presented to client at the very beginning, It was a purely internet activation idea. Therefore it doesn’t have a traditional TVC structure. It's important to differentiate viral ‘pull’ communication from traditional TVC ‘push’ communication.

Our task was to get people excited enough to visit the campaign’s micro-site where they could learn more about the Nokia N96 Bruce Lee Limited Edition, not to communicate a complete, stand alone product selling proposition which is the objective behind most TVCs.

That's not to say a great TVC can't be viral too but most overt commercial messages lack the entertainment value and social kudos the consumer who passes it on is looking for from their friends.

Agency.Asia: The video has been viewed tens of millions of times on YouTube alone. Notwithstanding its phenomenal popularity, there is a colossal amount of debate as to whether the footage was real or whether it is trick photography.

When we look at the forums, people are actually hurling abuse at each other. It is rare that advertising stirs up so much passion. The one thing that seems almost unanimous is that people absolutely love your ad.

Polly Chu: Now, that would be telling! We're also thrilled to see that people think the product is as cool as the viral films. This is also one of the most interesting aspects of this campaign that we can actually know how people reacted with our ad; we could keep tracking on the responses and plan our next step. We launched the 10 seconds teaser first and waited for 2 days.

There were already 700,000 views within 24 hours. Then we launched the full version with the product shot and website address where people could order the limited edition phone. It is in fact a well planned e-marketing campaign. We were thrilled to witness those passionate responses.
Agency.Asia: We somehow doubt that you are going set the record straight for us – are you? And frankly it doesn’t really matter. The execution is faultless. Did Nokia specifically request a viral campaign, or did ‘Nokia N96’ start out as a TVC brief and end up going ballistic on You Tube?

Polly Chu: Actually, the original brief was for point-of-sale only but we knew that it wasn't going to cut the mustard. And frankly, we didn’t have media budget at all. Therefore viral video was the only creative solution.

Agency.Asia: What can you tell us about the director, because they absolutely nailed this advertisement? Shot from the darkness, it has a distinctly voyeuristic feel about it.

You really feel like you’re there and you daren’t even breathe in case Bruce should mishit the ping-pong ball - and possibly come and kick your ass! It is an execution altogether different from what one might expect from Nokia, a company renowned for micro technology and refinement.

Polly Chu: Yes, we discussed with the director how to make it look like a never-seen-before secret footage of Bruce Lee. The director took a great effort to study Bruce Lee and found the right talent. We used an up and coming local Chinese director whose passion could be seen in every second of the film.

Agency.Asia: Well, congratulations to you on producing one of the nicest ideas of the year. We’re predicting that you and BBDO Worldwide are going to be fighting it out at Cannes later in the year.  Feel free to give the rest of your team a mention. You all deserve a round of applause.

Polly Chu: Thanks. Fingers crossed for a good performance in Cannes in June. The whole team is excited.

Full Creative Credit:

Chief Creative Officer: Polly Chu
Creative Director: Shankun Sun
Copywriter: Wei Huang
Art Director: Dechun Qiu
Agency Producer: Lin Ma
Account Executive: Daniel Ingall
Director: Jingjing Zhu
Production House: JQK Production
Cinematographer: Jingjing Zhu
Producer: Jade Tang



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