Silver Spike

Case Film

Presentation Image

Product / ServiceSK-Ⅱ
CategoryC02. Innovative Use of Influencers
EntrantGREY Tokyo, JAPAN
Idea Creation GREY Tokyo, JAPAN
Media Placement MEDIACOM Singapore, SINGAPORE
Production BLUE ONE INC. Tokyo, JAPAN
Production 2 ENNET INC. Tokyo, JAPAN
Post Production BLUE ONE INC. Tokyo, JAPAN


Name Company Position
Leo Savage GREY London Executive Creative Director
Graham Drew GREY Malaysia Executive Creative Director
Siddika Dehlvi GREY Singapore Executive Creative Business Director
Danni Mohammed GREY London Executive Creative Strategy Director
San Takashima GREY Tokyo Executive Creative Producer
Nihar Das MEDIACOM WPP Team Lead
Sudhir Pasumarty GREY Singapore Creative Director
Ashley Chen GREY Singapore Creative Director
Ken Mitani GREY Tokyo Creative Director
Katie Mulligan GREY London Creative Strategist & Copywriter
Nathan Wilson WPP Global Integration Lead
Stuart Harkness WPP Creative Consultant
Yukika Anan GREY Tokyo Copywriter
Yuta Kudo GREY Tokyo Copywriter
Shoko Akutagawa GREY Tokyo Senior Agency Producer
Angelique Malabanan GREY Singapore Senior Project Director
Shane Lester GREY Tokyo Creative Director
Sue-Ann De Cruz GREY Singapore Client Director
Iris Gu GREY Tokyo Senior Account Executive
Hiroko Matsuo GREY Tokyo Strategy Director
William Godwin GREY London Business Director:
ChewLing Loke GREY Singapore Project Director
Prajat Khar MEDIACOM Media Director
Daryl Bryan Lim Producer Hogarth Singapor
Hirokazu Koreeda Yet Director
Wataru Togashi ENNET, inc. Associate Director
Naoki Morita ENNET, inc. Producer
Eiji Kitahara ENNET, inc. Producer
Susumu Kawasumi BLUE ONE inc. Producer
Yuta Nakajima BLUE ONE inc. Producer
Ryuto Kondo BLUE ONE inc. Director Of Photography
Masanobu Hiraoka BLUE ONE inc. Animation
Akira Kosemura BLUE ONE inc. Music
Matt Holyoak Matt Holyoak Photographer/Director
Yuko Matsuda N/A Print Producer
Choei Suzuki Gambit Casting

Why is this work relevant for Social & Influencer?

In 2021, the person at the heart of this work helped re-define the purpose of a billion dollar brand. It was only in telling the true-life story of the influential star of our campaign, Rikako Ikee, that millions of Japanese fans truly understood what it means to 'Change Destiny'. The story of an Olympic hopeful who’s dreams were dashed – her refusal to give in the embodiment of the power we all have inside us. By giving voice to her journey and telling it in a unique story-form, her message was amplified by her own social channels to millions.


As a Tier One sponsor of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, SK-II had signed a host of inspirational International female athletes for their Olympics campaign – set to help define the brand’s core purpose of ‘#changedestiny’ for a whole new generation. Then for the first time in history outside of wartime, the Olympics was cancelled, an event felt all the more by the people of Japan. So SK-II turned to another of their athletes, one who was fighting a far bigger battle. Rikako Ikee was a Japanese swimming sensation and Olympic favourite – until in 2019 when she was diagnosed with Leukaemia. Passionate about wanting to share her story to the public, SKII gave voice to her recovery. We set out to give voice to an extraordinary story of hope, determination that would eventually come define the brand’s purpose of '#changedestiny' unlike any other.

Describe the creative idea (30% of vote)

In competitive swimming the ‘Centre Lane’ is the physical position given to the swimmer with the best qualifying time – it’s the equivalent of Pole Position in F1. It is this position that Ikee had made her own in her record-breaking career, one that made a fitting metaphor for her battle to return to what she loves no matter what. The events of Ikee’s real life journey surpasses any dramatic script, more importantly it was crucial that we retained the authenticity of her voice. So we approached director Hirokazu Koreeda – winner of the Cannes Palm D’or and someone who is able to lend a uniquely vivid and thoughtful articulation of modern Japanese life. Combining his vision, with the core purpose of Change Destiny and a unique use of animation to give voice to Ikee’s inner thoughts and feelings.

Describe the strategy (20% of vote)

On Twitter, WeChat and Line, historically engagement with skincare brands like SK-II is low. We wanted to bring this story to Japan, not as a traditional advertising campaign, but as shareable, authentic content. In Japan there’s the cultural tradition of Honne (public face) and Tatemae (private face) that keeps people from sharing their true feelings. In fact, 70% of female users have at least one Twitter account under a pseudonym that they use to share honest opinions. This is also true of Instagram. Throughout the production of the film, Ikee shared behind the scenes posts – her openness about her journey was the antithesis to this. Authenticity would cut-through the artificiality that pervades social media and ‘fake’ influencer content. With shareable trailers and early announcement of Kore-eda's involvement, a legitimacy was given to The Centre Lane, making it a highly shareable piece of content.

Describe the execution (20% of vote)

Timing was crucial. Ikee’s recovery outstripped even her own expectations, and when we launched the film on March 29th, it was just days later, on April 2nd, that Ikee competed in the Japan qualifiers. Incredibly, she qualified for the 2021 Olympics. We deployed smart placements on twitter. One-day block appearing as the first tweet on the user’s feed, giving it an unmissable positioning and a push via Rikako Ikee herself. It started trending on key platforms (Yahoo, Line, Twitter). Opinion leaders came out in the support of the video, starting conversations on how Ikee has been a true synonym for #ChangeDestiny. This was further amplified via Youtube and social platforms (Facebook, IG, LINE). We then used the power of reach media to drive scale, and had people conversing and engaging.

List the results (30% of vote)

The country was a buzz with Ikee's story, with the Centre Lane becoming the most watched #changedestiny campaign in Japan's history as well as best in class organic video across all categories on WeChat with 845m views. Ikee became the first female athlete to be featured on the front pages (6 of them) of newspapers in 28 years All major media channels such as TV Asahi, TBS, Fuji TV, Sankei Sports, Huffpost Japan, Business Insider, Yahoo dominated top stories of "Ikee Rikako". It became the most watched #ChangeDestiny film in Japan’s history. We also shared it on Weibo & WeChat with no push media. Within days, it broke the WeChat record of most-watched film organically across all categories. Organic viewership and coverage was outstanding: 22.6+MM video views. eCommerce sales growth was significant, eventually becoming 10x what it was pre-pandemic levels.


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