Title: Blue Storm: Birdman.
Ad agency: BBDO.
First impression: a visual feast reminiscent of Tsui Hark's 2001 remake of martial arts fantasy The Legend of Zen. Incidentally, both feature actor-singer Louis Koo Tin-lok - with wings.
Storyboard: a tortured Koo is trapped in a massive, jagged-edged, metal birdcage in the depths of a volcano. Help is at hand in the form of Taiwanese boy band F4 - Vic Zhou Yu-min, Jerry Yan, Ken Chu Hsiao-ten and Vanness Wu Jian-hao - who abseil down, with a couple of dragons in close pursuit. When they reach the bottom, where Koo is imprisoned, they eject cans of Pepsi from their combat gear and insert them into a portal. Blue 'energy' oozes out of the device, releasing a snow storm so powerful it starts to freeze the abyss until it is about to crumble. To escape, the pop stars sprout metallic wings and take flight, with the evil dragons hot on their heels. Meanwhile, Koo regains his power in the snowstorm and breaks free, revealing he, too, has a pair of powerful wings. He ejects a can of Pepsi from his belt and kicks it like a football at one of the dragons. It falls and breaks into pieces, from which emerges Canto-pop bad boy Nicholas Tse Ting-fung, who opens the can and starts drinking. Koo and F4 then fly away, leaving Tse with a nasty dragon for company.
What the client says: this commercial cost millions of dollars, but Pepsi won't release specifics. Although the metallic wings and birdcage are computer generated, the company spent $500,000 producing them, for real, for the commercial's press launch this summer. Post-production of the ad took six months and, when asked whether it had achieved the desired response, a Pepsi spokesman said, 'Absolutely. The TV commercial has been highly successful.'
Does it work? Anyone who appreciates superb computer graphics will love this advert. Brands such as Pepsi have the resources to make impressive commercials, and the company's efforts are becoming increasingly sophisticated. What next? Will Jay Chou Jie-lun and Edison Chen Koon-hei star in the next extravaganza?
But ... Koo is in the volcano when he fires off the can of Pepsi, yet the slain dragon is seen falling onto an island. Where are they exactly? Also, F4 and Tse are a little yesteryear.