Ad Nut
Jul 15, 2022

Chevrolet China paints it black in dark, sci-fi resonant brand film

Chevy's inaugural brand film for its upscale 'Black Bowtie' series in China by McCann Shanghai equates the colour black with raw power and energy.

While Ad Nut's snack of choice is, well naturally, nuts, it's time to pass the popcorn. 

Chevrolet China and McCann Shanghai have created what amounts to a science-fiction movie trailer in their inaugural brand video for Chevy's 'Black Bowtie' emblem. By explanation, the automaker's logo is usually emblazoned in gold on the front of its cars, but in more recent years (and since 2005 in China) the logo has been made available in black as well. 

It seems a certain type of customer is attracted to the darker logo—one who likes a more bold, edgy and powerful look, and boy does the film ever double-down on the notion of raw power. 

In the film, black is equated with raw energy and strength from coal, iron and oil as well as the blackness of space. It fits well with Chevrolet's 'born powerful' brand value which "echoes the spirit of today’s Chinese youth who dare to break through and pursue their strong selves," as explained by McCann. 

"We looked at all the things that the colour black stands for, all the history and mythology. From coal fires to black iron forged into tools by early settlers, to the oil that is the lifeblood of the industrial age, and to today’s era of science and technology, black is considered by many to be the most advanced and the purest aesthetic of human beings," said Yaho Yeh, executive creative director of McCann Shanghai’s Chevrolet team. "Through different imagery, the goal was to convey that black itself is a symbol of innate power."

The stunning imagery in the film courtesy of director Fu Binbin appears to combine Eastern and Western influences, black calligraphy in traditional ink wash, to scenes resonant of both Chinese and Hollywood sci-fi films, including powerful heroes standing strong against omnipresent eyes and floating cubes that conjure images of A Space Odyssey monoliths. Like all great blockbuster trailers, it sometimes veers over the top with gratuitous action scenes. (We're not sure why the warrior-esque woman has to jump through glass, but it makes for nice visuals). 

"Through this campaign, we hope that the ‘born powerful’ message will strike a chord with young Chinese people’s pursuit of individuality, as well as to strengthen their recognition of Chevrolet, and for the brand essence of the Black Bowtie to resonate and carve a place in their lives", SAIC-GM Chevrolet brand director, Vincent Fang, said. 

To complement the film, Chevrolet also built a series of Black Bowtie pop-up stores with McCann's help and used a black carbon nanotechnology paint that absorbs more than 99.8% of the light that hits its surface. (See another auto brand that also made an ultra-black statement in its activation). This super-black finish coated larged geometric objects; a triangle, a cube, and a sphere— placed in the cities of Chengdu, Xi'an, and Changsha. 

Making the film was difficult due to the Shanghai lockdown, McCann Shanghai's Chevrolet team said, but even some shooting and post-production was able to be carried out online and helped the campaign launch on schedule.  


起初In the beginning
黑是一把炭Let black be coal
给文明最初的火种 Blazing a trail of civilization

黑是一锭铁Let black be iron
千锤百炼 无坚不摧Forging a mind of unstoppability

黑是一捧油Let black be oil
势不可挡 能量无穷Fueling attitude of invincibility

黑是一种动力Black is the passion
驱动科技向前Driving technology forward
是一种美学Black is the aesthetics
打破传统的桎梏Pushing boundaries beyond

黑是强者Black is the one
包容所有颜色Absorbing all other colors
黑是一切的终点Black is the destination for everything
也是全宇宙的起点As well the origin of the cosmos
黑不神秘 就是纯粹实力Black, no longer a mystery but absolute power
雪佛兰黑标Chevrolet Black Bowtie
天生强悍Born Powerful

Ad Nut is a surprisingly literate woodland creature that for unknown reasons has an unhealthy obsession with advertising. Ad Nut gathers ads from all over Asia and the world for your viewing pleasure, because Ad Nut loves you. You can also check out Ad Nut's Advertising Hall of Fame, or read about Ad Nut's strange obsession with 'murderous beasts'.


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