To Scroll or Not to Scroll?

Indeed, that was the question.  We’d just put all the finishing touches on the ad campaign and I was overwhelmed.  For me, it was everything I had ever wanted it to be.  As I’d said before, it was like wanting a toy for weeks and then finally getting that new Lazer Tag gun and realizing it wasn’t all that special – only this was the exact opposite.  It exceeded all my expectations and I was ecstatic.  Amongst the finishing touches were scrolls each bearing the name of our brand in Chinese and a description of the shot.  This element would prove to be quite a point of controversy.

While the objective of the ads were to create images that would provide Jump with the proper positioning as a premium brand, there was in fact an underlying agenda.  Long bearing a stigma of cheapness and defectiveness, Chinese products had suffered plenty of negative publicity, some deserved, some not.  Although we produce quality goods and use only the best factories in China, it was always a point of contention whether we ought to associate ourselves with China or not.

So we decided to “BE DARING.”  We set out to incite a sort of cultural movement (not to be confused with a cultural revolution!) that would offer the world a different perspective of the Far East – that it had not only become a forum for the international but that it was beginning to carve its own cultural niche in the global arena.  It was a campaign that would, in essence, tell the epic story of a brand who sprang from selling $20 jogging shoes in Taiwan, then to develop a fashion persona and cross over to China, Japan and Korea.  From Asia it would reach the shores of South America and Europe where its fashion would take an interesting new direction with the help of an innovative Spanish design team.  Now, having arrived in the US the brand has been elevated into the arena of luxury fashion but at a reasonable pricepoint.  It is through our unique business model and relationships overseas that we are able to offer such quality and directionality at an entry level luxury pricepoint.

Through Jump’s logos, is the story of the evolution.

And now we introduce the latest iteration.

So when I presented the completed campaign to the rest of the global team the reactions were mixed.  No one denied the art direction was compelling and the execution was spot on.  The mixed feelings were over the usage of the scrolls.  There were concerns that it would limit us and pigeonhole us as a brand for only Asians.  Others cited that it might hurt us to be connected to China whose reputation as a manufacturing giant could be in some respects a dubious one.

What I offered was that this campaign wasn’t meant to do that at all.  It was meant to appeal to those progressive enough to see it for what it is and not some kind of Chinese propaganda.  It’s purpose is meant to bring the consumer into this other world and include them in it.  After a flurry of discussion on the matter, Harry made the decision that the scrolls would remain.  It was decided that we would be genuine to our roots as a Chinese brand and “BE DARING” enough to pronounce this to the world.  We decided that in all of the 5000 years of Chinese history, being the first high fashion brand to become truly global, was an honor we ought to be proud of and share with everyone.  Moreover, we wanted to dispel the stigma of China and show just the kind of creativity that can come from a brand such as ours.

So without any more teasers and an overly verbose foreword, here is Sung Kang in Sneaker Deluxe.

Share with us your take on the scroll!?


4 responses to “To Scroll or Not to Scroll?

  1. I love the idea of including the scroll, and the traditional calligraphy. There’s nothing to say that modern has to equal Western, and traditional (Eastern) equalling old or boring. If anything, I think that we’re approaching the beginnings of an Asian century, if I may use the overused phrase, and use of something Chinese reflects a cultural, worldly, cosmopolitan, cool and hip identity than it would without that element.

    That said, in the actual ad itself, the scroll seems to pop out as not being in the same world as the rest. I don’t know anything much about graphic design or Photoshop, but something needs to be done to make it look like the scroll is part of that world, like it’s interacting with the background or foreground or something…

    Also, I don’t know Chinese, but I know Japanese, and I’m not quite sure how 将 (commander, general) + 門 (gate) yields anything relevant to your message (Be Daring) or your brand (JUMP). The only results I get for the two characters together in my Japanese dictionary are for references to rather particular and obscure historical topics – namely (a) a family related to the shoguns, (b) Taira no Masakado (“Masa” and “kado” being 将 and 門 respectively), a samurai of the 10th century who organized a revolt against the Imperial government.

    So, I’m not sure what “Sung Kang” might mean in Chinese, but I would be very surprised if it actually means anything relevant to what you’re trying to do.

    Still, excellent logo (the Be Daring; JUMP part), and the rest of the image – the model flying through the air, kicking up dirt, looking very energetic, and very cool and slick.

  2. Um.. on second thought, having now Googled “Sung Kang”, I realize that it’s the name of the actor/model in the photo. So, never mind, I guess.

    Hi Toranosuke-

    Thanks for your comment! It’s good when an ad can spark a sort of interaction with the viewer. The “general gate” was the first translation of our brand name in Taiwan. In Chinese it sounds like Jiang Men which is how a Chinese person would say Jump. Haha. I agree that the next century will be that of an Asian one. It seems like it’s the natural course of a dialectic. I looked at the landscape and saw that Beijing was hosting the Olympics which will open up a media window into China presenting itself at it’s best. I saw how Asians were beginning to become more prevalent in entertainment, films and sports and saw that as an opening as well. I wanted these ads to be a gateway for people to become enlightened with our culture rather than have it alienate them.

    Check back for more of the ads and a series of short films to come!


  3. that’s hot. i love it. this is exactly the color range i think is hot for ’09. awesome brothers and sisters.



  4. I love the energy that radiates from the ad…and the strength that it shows..About the scroll..same with others..I don’t know how to read Chinese characters (same with Japanese and Korean characters)..but they always fascinated me…I LOVE YOUR AD!!!

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