In “Kites,” the
director uses a popular Asian pastime to create an emotional connection to the
international telecom giant.

Los Angeles—Eric Will has directed a new
international campaign for telecom giant Axiata that uses kites as a symbol for
the company’s work in connecting people across Southeast Asia. Will, who is
represented in the U.S. by Accomplice
Media
, spent more than two months and traveled to more than a half dozen
countries in directing the project. Titled Advancing
Asia
, the campaign was conceived by M&C Saatchi and produced by Carrot
Films.

Kites shows people
representing various Southeast Asian countries and cultures building, buying
and flying kites. It includes scenes of Sri Lankan artists painting kites,
Bangladeshi school children examining kites in a street market and Indonesian
men flying kites while riding horseback inside the caldera of a volcano. The
story builds to a street scene in central Kuala Lumpur where people gather to
launch a giant kite. In the final scene, thousands of kites come together to
form the Axiata logo.
The commercial is meant to show how Axiata, which operates
under a variety of subsidiary names across Asia, unites people. “Kite flying is
an important phenomenon across Asia,” Will explains. “Everyone grows up with
kites and each country has its own design…so kites make a natural metaphor for
connection.”

Will shot in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Indonesia,
Cambodia, Singapore and other countries and shooting conditions were often
challenging. In Bangladesh, he shot workers at a tea plantation during monsoon
season. In Indonesia, he worked with local horsemen who had to negotiate a
narrow strip of land above a huge volcanic crater. “We had only 15 minutes to
shoot that scene before the sun disappeared behind the volcano,” Will recalls.
“I spent a lot of time earlier in the day training the riders and that saved
the shot. We got magic!”
Will found subtle ways to integrate Axiata’s branding into virtually
every scene. In the Sri Lanka sequence, workers are seen applying a billboard
to a wall. In another scene an ad appears on the back of a Tuk Tuk cab. “Our
aim was to make the brand visible throughout the film but to integrate it in a
natural way,” he says. “Otherwise you run the risk of undermining the message.”
That message, adds Will, is to show how Axiata is bringing
people from different cultures closer together. “It’s nice when you can connect
a brand to the human touch,” he observes.
Kites follows a highly
successful campaign with a similar theme that Will directed for Swisscom. In Bubbles, people across Switzerland are
enchanted by the sight of giant soap bubbles that float past them in factories,
offices and hair salons. Again, the point is to link an impersonal brand with a
human emotion.
For more information about Accomplice Media, visit http://www.accomplice-media.com/
Credits
Client:  Axiata
Title:  Kites
Agency:  M&C Saatchi. Marzuki Maani, Group Creative Director; Kin Fong, Creative; Nailul Aini, Account Manager. 
Production: Carrot Films. Jefferi Tik, Executive Producer; Eric Yeong, DP. 
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