The insight behind Heaven & Hell led the team at JWT Shanghai on a long, creative journey that, in the end, produced one of the world’s most seminal pieces of print advertising.
The brief from Samsonite was simple: create an ad that illustrated the durability of their upmarket Cosmolite luggage. The JWT Shanghai creative team got together and talked about how heavenly it was for passengers up in first class compared to the hell their luggage went through, below. One of the creatives did a quick sketch that captured this. The team thought an oil painting would capture the mood the best: the whole subject of heaven and hell, and angels and demons, brings Michelangelo to mind.
The team hired an artist who does classic-style oil paintings, but the result wasn’t quite what they had in mind. They really wanted the grand, classic look of an oil painting, but realized it could take many trails and many months before they found an artist who could capture the image they had in their heads. They decided to change track, and try CGI. The studio first did some motion-capture work with live male models, to get the look and feel of the body and muscles just right – in effect, creating sculpture-like imagery using CGI. Days were spent tweaking the effect of the lighting. The level of attention paid to smallest details was incredible. The idea was to produce an image full of depth that had the feeling of a piece of Renaissance artwork.
The result was nothing short of stellar. Heaven and Hell has put Asia on the world’s creative map. It won China’s first-ever Grand Prix at Cannes last year, and brought home the country’s first Grand from the London International Awards. In February, the Gunn Report named Heaven & Hell the MOST awarded print add in the WORLD in 2011 – and it has gone on to win more awards since then. Most recently, it won three coveted “Yellow Pencils” at the D&AD Awards in London.
This experience drives home an important message: when you have an inspiration, never compromise. Don’t be afraid to start all over again. Keep working at it, until the idea in your heart and in your head takes shape before you. Trust your instincts – they’re always right.
— Lo Sheung Yan is JWT’s North Asia Regional Executive Creative Director