Product / ServiceSK-II
CategoryB01. Fast Moving Consumer Goods
Idea Creation WPP BLACK OPS Singapore, SINGAPORE
Media Placement WPP BLACK OPS Singapore, SINGAPORE
Production IMAGINARY FORCES Los Angeles, USA
Post Production IMAGINARY FORCES Los Angeles, USA


Name Company Position
Leo Savage WPP Black Ops Executive Creative Director
Danni Mohammed WPP Executive Creative Strategy Director & MD
Siddika Dehlvi WPP Black Ops Executive Creative Business Director
San Takashima WPP Black Ops Executive Producer
Nihar Das WPP Black Ops WPP Black Ops Lead
Nathan Wilson WPP Black Ops Global Integration Lead
Stuart Harkness WPP Black Ops Creative Consultant
Sudhir Pasumarty WPP Black Ops Creative Director
Ashley Chen WPP Black Ops Creative Director
Katie Mulligan WPP Black Ops Creative Strategist
Hiroko Matsuo WPP Black Ops Strategy Director
Ken Mitani WPP Black Ops Creative Director
Yukika Anan WPP Black Ops Copywriter
Yoichai Inamura WPP Senior Art Director
Amanda Ang WPP Designer
Miwako Yasukouchi WPP Senior Producer
Lorysa Rossnagel WPP Project Director
Sue-Ann De Cruz WPP Black Ops Account Director
Eulisa Tan WPP Account Manager
Iris Gu WPP Black Ops Account Executive
Sho Ikegami WPP Account Executive
Archana Ram WPP Media Strategy Director
Alan Williams Imaginary Forces Director
Christine Hernandez Imaginary Forces Executive Producer
Simon Elms Eclectic Sounds Executive Music & Sound Producer
Daryl Bryan Lim Hogarth Singapore Producer
Matt Holyoak Matt Holyoak Photographer

Write a short summary of what happens in the film

SK-II reacted to a landmark moment in Japanese sporting history – the retirement of their only gold medal-winning badminton duo, Ayaka Takahashi and Misaki Matsutomo – with an early release of “VS MACHINES” as a tribute to the pair; the first of six animated films. VS Machines focuses on the pressure to be a constantly performing machine; a mindset that eventually makes you more robot than human. With a well documented-struggle and slump in form after the 2016 Olympics, the film explores a futuristic dystopia, set in a training facility where competition is the main reason for existence, where humans become machines in their quest for perfection. In this world, cyborg-versions of Takahashi and Matsutomo are programmed with machine-like mindsets and are pitted against each other to achieve cold, joyless perfection. Together, they learn to resist and break free of The Machine by rediscovering the the human connection they share.

Cultural / Context information for the jury

For SK-II's sponsorship of the 2020 Olympic Games, we developed a provocative platform, Beauty Is #NoCompetition, in which SK-II’s partnership with six female Olympic athletes could be leveraged. We told the stories of these athletes through animation, in homage to the anime of SK-II’s native country, Japan. Each episode has a different enemy within beauty that stops our protagonists from feeling beautiful in some way. The ‘enemy’ takes the form of a kaiju, a Japanese monster. Ayaka Takahashi and Misaki Matsutomo’s struggle to find purpose after clinching a gold medal played into a pressure to constantly obtain perfection that felt familiar for women in Japan. When they retired as a duo, against the backdrop of Covid-19 and the postponement of the Games, we reacted to this moment with the early release of VS Machines. The film felt appropriate to reframe and dedicate as a tribute to the gold medalists.


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