The late Eighties and Nineties were the Golden Age of Hong Kong advertising- an era that saw creative types such as Peter Thompson and Mike Chu give brands like Lane Crawford and Puma a definite style and beautifully captured on film by directors and photographers such as Louis Ng and Kevin Orpin.

Was it style over substance? Well, it was fashion advertising and where style was what mattered.

Of course, there were those two l’enfant terribles of Hong Kong advertising- John Doig and Ross Sutherland- who created some breakthrough work for products like Maja soaps and Lindt Chocolates that didn’t have the big production budgets of the fashion brands.

Having said this, these two loveable rogues had the powers of persuasion to convince their bigger clients that certain campaigns just had to be filmed on location- these locations happening to be where Doig and Sutherland felt like visiting.

Hey, if you can have someone else pay for an all-expenses paid vacation, why not?

They were good days where creativity was alive and well, when the ad industry had real characters and competition led to a pride in one’s work- and the ownership of it. And then the Mainland China market opened up and the bottom fell out of Hong Kong’s advertising world.

Average talent was promoted to roles they were not ready for, incompetence was promoted and tired advertising raised its head.

It was a long way from the cleverness of Doig and Sutherland’s work and the stunning photography of some epic commercials for Marlboro which Ridley Scott would have been proud to call his.

And so today, amongst the glut of celebrity endorsement commercials for skin whiteners, wretched advertising for abalone restaurants, the usual spate of Monty Pythonesque PSAs- Public Service Announcements- and absolutely dopey music videos that are stuck in the Eighties, it’s always inspiring and invigorating to see a piece of communications that echoes the spirit of those days when many went to war to have their work seen and heard.

This leads me to the work below from the g.o.d people who have been pushing the boundaries of creativity in Hong Kong at a time of great lethargy and a long period of menopause.




Here, g.o.d combine kung fu and philosophy with brilliant photography and editing to pull off a concept that highlights its new line of clothing inspired by the masters of this form of martial arts that is so intrinsically part of Hong Kong culture and its history.

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