Chris Kyme: Postcard from Hong Kong

Chris Kyme_April2016.jpgChris Kyme continues his "Postcards from..." series and this time he revisits a topic he previously wrote about. How to be jolly, part 2.

In August 2016 I wrote in this very column about an interesting campaign I had seen on the streets of Hong Kong for Jolly Shandy, and I was speculating as to why it had been fly-posted instead of embarking on a traditional paid media campaign, especially as it was in the outdoor space. An exercise which, as I had alluded to at the time, seemed to have 'awards entry' written all over it. Just like those campaigns for clients like underground record labels for which the 'strategy' was to tattoo obscure images on drainpipes and crumbling walls. Okay, we get it.

Except in the case of Jolly Shandy, I didn't quite get it, but was interested all the same. And then, 14 months later good grief I nearly choked on my Marmite sandwich when the person behind the campaign popped up and introduced himself.

Naturally being an influential columnist (yeah right) I was immediately curious to ask said fella what it was all about. And said fella duly obliged. So. He is a nice young man called Tedman Lee, and we have recently had a nice chat about it all. Partly so I can answer my own questions, and also because I'm always keen to meet interesting young Hong Kong creative folks, especially those with an unusual story to tell.
Tedman was co-founder of an agency here called Hehehe (I think they just set it up for a laugh), an independent creative shop which is no longer in operation. He is also a sometime DJ and band vocalist (hey, we have much in common. I DJ too, and my singing has been known to clear out a karaoke lounge quicker than you can say Mack the Knife).

As one who is known to speak his mind, Tedman gave me the lowdown on the Jolly work.

"We were quite active from 2012-2017 doing various bits of work (with our own style). The people looking after the Jolly brand were familiar with our work, and approached us about doing a creative campaign for them. The budget (as with the budget for a lot of brands in HK now) was obviously quite small. And we identified their core target market as teenagers who wanted to 'rebel and be the 'cool crowd' amongst their peers. So the end product was more of a loud poster campaign in the street with documentary style videos on social media. Basically the concept was more of a spontaneous approach to catch the attention of kids in this internet age, since we know they usually ignore the billboards in the streets or lightboxes on the metro, so it was more of an obscure approach to catch their eye with posters on the streets.
I do indie shows and parties here (as a DJ) and there so the poster-on-street approach was always something that we would use for promoting -  and this sort of promotion actually drew the attention of kids way more efficiently (that is if the design is right)".

tedman.jpgJolly Shandy.jpgSo, that explains it to me. More than that, Tedman shed light on the copy which I had also commented on at the time.

"You mentioned in the article about the copy of the Jolly Shandy campaign. The background for that was "being different" and "being yourself" (as with what many other youth-oriented brands are communicating now so it's so oversaturated that it doesn't really mean anything anymore) so with every person that we shot in the campaign, they were each separate influencers in their own category for being different and niche. For example, for the "Hurt But Jolly" part, it was actually featuring a very well known guy here in HK who was diagnosed with a rare case of skin cancer so since birth and was not supposed to live past a certain age, but he is still alive now in his thirties living with pain on his skin every moment and doing a lot of work related to death and suicide for teenage kids. So for each one we sort of twist it with each person's story. There's a mini documentary interview for each character about their values and how it relates to being themselves and being 'jolly' with their lives."

So there you have it. Better late than never. And from the horses' mouth no less. Thankyou Tedman, and nice to know my montly 'postcard' from Hong Kong is getting read. Even if it is 14 months later!

You can watch the videos which were part of the campaign here (Cantonese only but you'll get the drift):
https://vimeo.com/177196605
https://vimeo.com/177196602

Chris Kyme is chief executive officer at Kymechow, Hong Kong

VIEW CHRIS KYME'S FEBRUARY 2018 POSTCARD
VIEW CHRIS KYME'S JANUARY 2018 POSTCARD
VIEW CHRIS KYME'S DECEMBER 2017 POSTCARD

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