Art house films have a definite style – mystery (what the f*** is going on), striking imagery (what the f*** is going on), questions asked (what the f*** is going on). So does this commercial by Mother Shanghai for mobile gaming company, Supercell. But its 60-seconds of mystery, striking imagery and questions are gripping.
Mother’s first work for Supercell (it is, in fact, a series of commercials) promotes the brand’s Brawl Stars game as a family team battle for all ages to play when returning home this Lunar New Year. The campaign tells the story of a boy on a mission to uncover a mysterious player’s identity, the most formidable Brawler with an eclectic playing style. With a suspect list piling up, the protagonist is no closer to finding the elusive player, as he realises anybody could be the brawler he’s searching for. From the principal, to a hairdresser, to his grandpa, to a road sweeper, to a group of ballerinas, to the triplets, to the neighbourhood butcher…
To create the intrigue, Mother partnered with acclaimed Chinese director and screenwriter, Diao Yinan, who is well-known for his storytelling and ability to create suspense. Yinan worked on the campaign with his original crew from Black Coal, Thin Ice (Winner of the Golden Bear for Best Film at the 64th Berlin International Film Festival) and The Wild Goose Lake (2019 Palme d’Or selection at Cannes Film Festival).
The result is a thriller (complete with suspense and dread) to tease the action. It combines anticipation and multiple character features, a trademark of Yinan’s style, keeping viewers wondering who the mysterious player’s identity might be. Completing the art film mimicry, there is no clear-cut answer, and that’s precisely the point. Supercell’s Brawl Stars is a team battle mobile game that anyone at any level can participate in, and, most importantly, enjoy.
Winson & Wanshi, partners at Mother Shanghai, commented, “Now’s the time of year we’re bombarded with traditional Lunar New Year commercials filled with red, lucky symbols, plot lines involving family reunions. We knew we wanted to write a story that had nothing to do with any of that.”
The campaign will run from mid-February and over Chinese Spring Festival on cinema and social media.
Agency: Mother Shanghai
Screenwriter: Mother Shanghai
Director: Diao Yinan
Assistant Director: Zhong Beier
Director of Photography: Dong Jinsong
Set Designer: Liu Qiang
Music Composer: B6
SFX: Li Danfeng
Production Company: Keypoint Production
Visual Effects: Pixomondo