Chris Kyme: Postcard from Hong Kong

Chris Kyme_April2016.jpgIn our latest "postcard from..." series, Chris Kyme investigates the origins of an online film for Nescafe.

In this day and age, it's almost unheard of to come across an eye-catching piece of work in the midst of the daily media jungle as you go about your day. So used are we to only observing and admiring award-aspiring contenders when showcased within the relatively closed doors of our favourite creative magazines and websites.

So it was with a measure of pleasant surprise that someone recently shared a very entertaining and I think rather good online film with me that has currently been getting some attention in Hong Kong.

Even more surprising was, it was a client who was showing me and raving about it (I mean c'mon, whatever next?).
Nescafe Hong Kong.jpgFirst off, it was obvious that this was not a piece of scam. Mainly because it was not for any..

-       Glue
-       Batteries
-       Headphones
-       Pencils
-       Audio-books

...or any other fringe-sector products that have seemingly, miraculously been endowed with a major production budget that requires the highest quality resources committed to their campaigns, but which are somehow not complemented by an equally as exorbitant media spend (which roughly translated means you only get to see them in award shows).

No, this was a for basic, common, everyday FMCB product we all know so well - instant coffee. Nescafe to be precise.

To further confirm its legitimacy, if needed, was the fact that it featured a bone fide celebrity (you don't often find them popping up in scam ads) in the form of Hong Kong superstar Leon Lai. And what made that all the more delightful, was that it was funny, self-effacing, entertaining and highly original.

Not to mention, very uniquely Hong Kong.

Nescafe Hong Kong 2.jpgEnough was enough, I had to get to the bottom of this. Which agency had the audacity to break from the usual painfully dull norm and create this outrageous piece of work?

So I did some asking around, and the name "100 Most" came up. Er, who?

Eventually with some persistent detective work, I managed to get in touch with them, and uncovered that they are in fact, not a typical creative agency as such and describe themselves as follows, 'Our company covers the scope of offline publications (Blackpaper, 100Most and  books), online media (TVMost), video production, creative concept development, consultants, artist management, event organizer and publisher (Whitepapers).'

Blimey, how do you sum all of that up?

Not only that, these people have principles (big agency people - you'll find the word in the dictionary, or contact me and I can explain). Stating quite firmly that they like to work only with those parties who share similar beliefs to them 100 Most is interested in projects of all kinds that do not violate their core values.

So how then, did this lead them to working with a brand like Nescafe? In a category usually associated with TV ads featuring people smelling irresistible aromas and feeling super-perked up after only one sip. In their own words:

"Nescafe approached us to come up with the creative concept and video production for a online promotion. With our strong entertainment network and connections, we lined up Nescafe and Leon Lai to make this happen. At the very beginning, all parties agreed to make a music video instead of normal TVC, and one which should be entertaining enough to do well in the online space. Then, the content gradually formed after several meetings between our team and Leon's team."

Okay, so let me elaborate. In the spot, Leon is not playing Leon, but the subordinate of a 'big boss' whom he is trying to soak up to with a raise in mind by serving him the finest Nescafe coffee. What starts as a seemingly normal piece of drama, then evolves into a cheeky musical with a very tongue-in- cheek song performance delivered with wit and charm, before settling down to a very dry, unexpected and equally funny ending.

I loved it on first view. I loved the fact that it showed me a completely different, humorous side to a celebrity I'd always considered somewhat dull. The fact that he was prepared to make fun of himself. I loved it because it was as refreshing as a good morning coffee. And that there was a client confident and innovative enough to put trust in such an idea. Mostly I loved it because I could never have come up with it in a million years.

Congratulations to 100 Most. And to the Nescafe client whoever you are. I want to come to your office and lick your shoes and serve you coffee dressed as a waiter. Creativity needs people like you.

VIEW THE SPOT

Chris Kyme is chief executive officer at Kymechow, Hong Kong.

2 Comments

Bravo said:

I don't understand perfect cantonese.
But I got the gist of the video.
'You sing pretty well.' was a hoot.
And I laughed at the audacity of it.
This is really good.
If ad agencies went back to creating stuff like this, there would be no need for scams.
Thanks Chris for spotlighting this gem.

HA! said:

Great find Chris.
This is very funny.
Never heard of 100 Most.

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