Pineapples, pigs, penguins!
These recurring themes during the three-day Spikes judging process for Film, Print and Print Craft saw us suffer from jury fatigue, especially when the ideas were stale and clichéd.
Yes, we were tough. However, when we spotted an idea that was fresh, never-been-done-before and challenged conventions, we got very excited.
This year, the Grand Prix for Print and Print Craft were front-runners throughout the show, with great “aha” moments, unusual insights and immaculate attention to details. What was controversial was the Film Grand Prix.
Why? In China, while online gaming is very popular with a huge user base and extremely profitable, communications that promote online gaming remain much to be desired—just online banners or rich media ads showing clips of the games. The executions are still rather straightforward. They are for gamers, and no one cares about them. In the eyes of society, online gamers are seen to be anti-social, addicted and unproductive.
Online game developer Changyou chose to let the gamers play to their hearts’ content. When I viewed the entry during the preliminary session, I was not impressed, revolted even. The proposition was an excuse for gamers to continue to be anti-social, addicted and unproductive.
But the more we watched it, the more its dark humour grew on us. First of all, it was brand communication with a business objective—to encourage more gaming activities. From the marketing point of view, there was nothing wrong with pushing consumers to consume more of your product. Also, it simply presented a general phenomenon from a different perspective.
The film 'Mother' in the Changyou campaign was by far the best of the three films. The mother blaming herself, instead of the games, for her son’s anti-social behavior is hilariously dark. Its angle disrupted everyone’s expectations of the mother's role: being emotionally-charged and doing "correct" activities of a "regular” mother (picking up her son, commenting on his social-media postings, breastfeeding until he was eight, etc.).
But she began to question herself for having driven her son away from having a girlfriend. It stood out. Challenging such societal conventions was admirable. It was a pure breakthrough compared with all the other “flawless” gold Spikes contenders. By not bowing to the tear-jerking, socially responsible trend, it won the hearts and votes of all the jury members.
Kitty Lun is chairman and chief executive officer of Lowe China