WPP pulls out the creative stops with debut film for P&G beauty brand SK-11

We all know by now that WPP is forging ahead as a “commerce company,” can the marketing giant still hack it creatively?

Here’s its first effort for P&G Japanese skincare brand SK-11, one of seven short films (not that short, one version of the one below is ten minutes) featuring Japanese swimming champion Rikako Ikee who was diagnosed with leukemia aged just 18. Directed by Hirokazu Kore-eda and devised by a hand-picked team from WPP’s Grey, with more executive this-and-thats than you can shake a stick at. Media agency Mediacom is also credited.

SK-II Studio is the brand’s newly-formed content division, timed for the forthcoming Olympics 2020 (actually 2021 of course but suppose they didn’t want to reprint the T-shirts.) Let’s hope they go ahead.

Here’s a five-minute version.

And 30 seconds if time is short.

SK-11 CEO Sandeep Seth says: “We’re very excited to share this film with the world. As a human brand, we believe in the power of human stories and Rikako Ikee’s journey back to competitive swimming is a beautiful example of this.

“As well as partnering with WPP agencies on this incredible journey, it’s been an honour to work with Kore-eda on telling this powerful story, and we hope that this first film from SK-II Studio demonstrates our commitment to supporting women who want to #ChangeDestiny”. In the current times, we’re delighted to be releasing an inspiring message of hope”

As you’d expect from P&G these days it’s another purpose effort. We rarely seem to see athletes in ads these days without some gritty back story.

But it’s pretty good, with the live action and animation well crafted together and, emotion-wise, not too gooey.

Interesting that Grey is credited, not AKQA Group under which Grey now officially resides.

MAA creative scale: 8.

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About Stephen Foster

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Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.

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