JWT Shanghai’s Samsonite ‘Heaven and Hell’ becomes The Gunn Report’s most awarded print advertisment of all time

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samsonite_heavenandhell-1.jpgJWT’s highly acclaimed ‘Heaven and Hell’ ad for Samonsite has become most awarded print ad of all time according to The Gunn Report.

‘Heaven and Hell’, which took home 10 Grand Prizes, 38 Gold awards and 3 Yellow Pencils over the last 12 months, displaced Volkswagen’s 1999 “Wedding”, which reigned as the most awarded print ad for the last 13 years, according to Emma Wilkie, Managing Director of the Gunn Report.

“We were extremely fortunate the stars were aligned on the Samsonite Cosmolite project; we had a great team, a great product and a great client that had vision and courage,” said Yang Yeo, Chief Creative Officer for JWT Shanghai.

Heaven and Hell kicked off its winning streak at Cannes 2011, where it brought home four Gold awards and China’s first-ever Grand Prix.  The campaign also brought home China’s first ever Grand LIA from the London International awards, and went on to dominate every major award show worldwide over the next 12 months.

“The fact that the most awarded print ad in history came out of China really illustrates that China’s star is rising, not only economically, but creatively.  Its exciting to be in this industry, in this country – and working with this team – at this time,” said Lo Sheung Yan, JWT’s China Chairman and Northeast Asia Executive Creative Director.

This seminal piece of print advertising is the result of a long creative journey by the team at JWT Shanghai.  Samsonite wanted an ad that illustrated the durability of their upmarket Cosmolite luggage.  The JWT Shanghai creative team, led by Yeo and executive creative director Elvis Chau, zeroed in on the idea of how heavenly it was for passengers up in first class compared to the hell their luggage went through, below.  JWT Shanghai’s Art Director LV Xiao Xi produced a sketch that told the parallel stories of one traveler and one suitcase through the heaven, and hell, of a first class flight.

The team thought a Renaissance-style oil painting replete with angels and devils would capture the mood, and hired a Chinese oil painter to bring Xiao Xi’s sketch to life on canvass.The first attempt didn’t quite capture the mood, and the team decided to scrap the idea and try another route.  They wanted the look and feel of a classic oil painting, but realized it could an painter many many trails and many months to get it just right.  So the team turned to Illusion Studio in Bangkok for their expertise in CGI.  

The studio first did motion-capture work with live male models, to get the look and feel of the body and muscles just right.  Days were spent tweaking those pose of the models and the lighting to produce a sculpture-like effect. The attention to detail paid off, producing an ad that set a new benchmark for the entire creative industry.

“This is a historic moment, both for JWT and for China, and I’m extremely proud of our entire team at Shanghai,” said Michael Maedel, President, JWT Asia Pacific. “They have firmly established JWT as the creative leader of China’s advertising industry.”