Product / ServiceSK-II
CategoryF03. Single-market Campaign
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.

Please tell us how the work was designed / adapted for a single country / region / market

Japan takes hitting targets and overachievement extremely seriously – for example, the term 'karoshi' specifically refers to 'death by overworking' – so losing human connection with each other is something that happens easily. When the Japanese badminton duo spoke about the pressure of staying at the top having already achieved the sport's greatest accolade, an Olympic gold medal, we realised this was a truth that would resonate across Japanese society. The cyborg versions of Matsutomo & Takahashi were a visual metaphor of the 'robotic' nature many people feel forced to take in a world of KPIs and targets. Due to be released as part of a six episode anthology, we took the decision to release VS Machines earlier as a response to the retirement of Takahashi. With the disappointment of the Olympic postponement in Japan, the film was a timely reminder of the beauty of human connection, over competition.


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