HSBC, with Wunderman Thompson Hong Kong, has created an odd space odyssey for the launch of its new EveryMile credit card in Hong Kong.
The work includes not only a three-minute film (starring comedian Dayo Wong Tze Wah, Ronald Cheng Chung Kei, and two members of the boyband Mirror, known as Lokman and Tiger) but also a 3D OOH ad on the Times Square building in the city's Causeway Bay district, a replica of the spacecraft from the film stationed under the HSBC HQ in Central, and an AR-enabled game.
The game invites participants to search the city for three missing pieces of the spaceship for a chance to win RewardCash. Clues to the locations of the pieces are given in the spaceship installation, in the 3D ad, and in a lightshow taking place outside HSBC’s main building.
While no stranger to sci-fi tropes, Ad Nut finds the plot of the film a bit difficult to follow. Wong appears to be some sort of god, who sneezes, which causes a glitch that transports people to the wrong planets. To cover his mistake he commands Cheng to fly around in a spaceship returning people to their rightful home worlds.
Mind you, in order to give this synopsis, Ad Nut had to watch the opening part of the film several times and slow down a crucial bit of exposition that goes by in fast-forward mode; apparently even the filmmakers didn't have the patience to explain their own premise. Verily, Ad Nut's dedication knows no bounds.
Anyway, as Cheng is ferrying Lokman and Tiger, the ship crash-lands on Earth and the three vamp about experiencing Earth culture and explaining the features of the EveryMile card. It's a very Hong Kong kind of ad: campy and surely full of clever wordplay and references that are going over Ad Nut's head because Ad Nut's grasp of Cantonese is poor.
While watching though, Ad Nut couldn't help but wonder about the selection of talent. Wong is nearly ubiquitous lately in Hong Kong, chiefly because he's featured in a prominent, months-long campaign for Foodpanda. Likewise, one cannot turn around in Hong Kong these days without seeing one or many of the many, many members of Mirror (the group has a dozen dashing dudes) showing up in ads for, well, everything.
This kind of frenzy for a particular ambassador seems to happen more often in Hong Kong than elsewhere. Ad Nut would love to see an evidence-based analysis of whether there is a saturation point for the use of local celebrities, or whether there's a reason, peculiar to Hong Kong, that using the same celebs as everyone else actually works in a brands' favour.
The media agency on the campaign is PHD.
And here's a making-of video for the spaceship installation at the HSBC HQ:
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