Chris Kyme: Postcard from Hong Kong

Chris Kyme_April2016.jpgChris Kyme continues his "Postcards from..." series and this time his topic is World Cup winners...

Unless you have been living in an underground shelter in Outer Billawackie these past few weeks you will know that the football World Cup has been the absolute focus of trillions lately, and as I write we are halfway through the Quarter Finals, with England about to get eliminated on penalties again as is par for the course.

It's been a brilliant tournament so far for many reasons, Robbie Williams aside, not least being the number of giant country teams which have fallen in early stages to relative minnows. Previous world champions Germany going out in the group stages, being brilliantly beaten by South Korea (although finding out that their star goalie was actually a centre forward along the way), the Aussies of course didn't make it through, after their strategy of rubbing the ball with a cloth failed to yield results (this ain't cricket fellas!), and even Spain, Argentina and European champions Portugal all fell pretty early on. Japan were great, as were countries like Iran and Morocco.
However, the excellent footie aside, what's been entertaining for me is that I've sometimes been catching matches via a mainland China TV channel, which has a been a bit of a revelation to say the least. Not just because I've found the coverage top notch, with intelligent presenting and solid analysis. Very professional. But also because it made me privy to all those special brand World Cup TV commercials which have been popping up every break.

In football terms, this is the equivalent of the US Superbowl (the other football) in terms of media buying, and obviously millions and millions of renminbi have been splashed not just on sponsoring the shows and getting the spots, but on the ads themselves. Now I know where all the budgets that used be spent on Hong Kong ads have gone. Humongous productions with every special effect imaginable, for the likes of cars, drinks, phones, and other essentials.

FIND X.jpgPrincess.jpgAnd that's just media and production, before we even get into the dosh spent on celebrity endorsement. All the tops stars have been signed up for this one - Ronaldo, Messie, Neymar, sometimes for more than one brand. A commercial for mobile brand Find X has Neymar at some event following a mysterious gorgeous woman around, and for this he even had to act (although having seen his antics on the football pitch writhing around in agony when someone so much as breathes on him we now know that this he has a great talent for this).

There has been more than one car commercial with the same theme - show star player dribbling a ball forward with great speed, intercut with star vehicle whizzing forward and in and out of obstacles..oh I see, car as a metaphor for footballer or is it the other way round? Another weird one for a range of milk drinks shows Messi in action, eventually kicking a ball for it to morph into a droplet of liquid falling, which was more magic than he managed to show on the pitch this time around.

But my winner for just outright absurdity concept wise shows a posse of European princesses on horses riding up to a group of hunky European princes at some castle, and for one of them to be thrown a bottle of Ganten water, the product. I have absolutely no idea where that one is coming from, it sure beats me.

Although having said that, like Germany, I'm quite easily beaten.

Chris Kyme is Co-founder and Creative Director at Kymechow, Hong Kong

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