Civilization Shanghai creates a short film 'a moment in time' for Lay's Cheddar

Lays Cheddar.jpgCivilization Shanghai takes us on a journey as we follow an undecided actress to Cheddar in a 'moment of time' film for Lay's Cheddar.

"When Lay's wanted to launch a cracker made with Cheddar, my first thought was, why don't we launch a film made in Cheddar?" Andrew Lok, writer and director, quipped. "The marketing team loved the idea from the get-go, and it was just a matter of finessing the script and getting the logistics right."

Web films are all the rage in China, with an ecosystem of fiercely competing video platforms, who, in the absence of YouTube from this market, are all eager to broadcast good content and carve out market share.

VIEW THE WEB FILM
Lok says, "Generally, the launch of a new brand has three options in China to gain rapid awareness: (1) sponsor a popular entertainment content, like a reality show for example, (2) buy advertising around it, (3) create content that is as good or better than it." Lok adds, "I prefer the last option, because it is the smarter way to spend marketing dollars given how expensive sponsorship and paid media are. One just has to use better creative work as leverage."

Andrew Lok is founder of CIVILIZATION Shanghai, a brand strategy and content production agency that is less than four years old, but already boasts a team of 75 staffers handling a portfolio of brands from blue chip companies like PepsiCo, AB-InBev, Asahi-TingYi, among others. The last film CIVILIZATION produced, Pepsi's "Monkey King Family", garnered more than 830 million views over the period of Chinese New Year.

"Monkey King Family was a phenomenon that is quite impossible to duplicate", Lok notes. "So for this film, we wanted to impart to the viewer a superlative quality of production and narrative that befits a luxury snack and that also has a distinctively feminine touch given our core target consumer. We may not touch our Monkey King film in quantity of views, but we wanted to get a quality of views. When one watches this film, she can't help but desire this snack."

Lay's recruited one of China's top actresses, Amber Guo, and the film brought her to Somerset, England, where filming took place in the villages of Cheddar and Axbridge, as well as in sensational locations like Gough's Cave in Cheddar Gorge and the West Somerset Railway.

"Shooting the train and the platform was a particular kick for me given I'm a huge Beatles fan", Lok smiles. "This heritage steam railway line and the stations along it are where they shot Hard Day's Night."

Produced by Gravity Films, with post-production completed in Volt Shanghai and Green United Music, this film has a lavish cinematic quality reminiscent of the Merchant Ivory productions set in early 20th century England.

"In Chinese, there is an idiom 天时地利人和, which means, when heaven, earth and man come together", Lok adds, "the weather, the train schedules, the crew, the cast, it was serendipity after serendipity. I couldn't have asked for anything more."

Credits - Creative Directors: Andrew Lok, Alex Xie, Stephen Zou, Juno Zhang. Art Directors: Stephen Zou, Jason Dai. Writers: Andrew Lok, Amanda Dai, Juno Zhang. Agency Producers: Fish Yu , Alex Xie. Production Company: Gravity Films Shanghai. Director: Andrew Lok. Executive Producer: Merrilyn Lim. Producer: Pearl Tan. Cinematographer: Alan Yap. Editor: Marshall Raj. Colourist: Quan Dong. Post Production Company: Volt. Effects Director: Damien Yang. Post Producers: Robin Yang, Roy Tay. Effects Artist: Jia-Wei Chen. Music Production Company: Green United Music. Music Arrangement: Jam Li. Music Composer: Andrew Lok,Jam Li. Sound Engineers: Fabien Langard, Aho Tsoi, Ronald Siu. Client Executives: Sabrina Qu, Shanian Chen, Jessie Jiang, Kelly Cai, Stella Yu, Carrie Chen.

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