Can evolution be controlled? Yonex invited monopo to conceive and produce an integrated campaign driving hype and sales for its latest badminton racquet release.
The new racquets, ASTROX 88 S & D are specifically designed for doubles badminton. A game that has evolved tremendously in the last decade, becoming faster, more powerful, more aggressive.
Doubles badminton is evolving. It’s fast becoming the most exciting version of the game. In the past, having a buddy on court helped you feel safe but for the new generation, it’s a way to be more dangerous. Take more risks. Play faster. Push the opponent on the back-foot.
Yonex is the market leader in badminton and spotted a need for doubles racquets that match this new style of play. The result: a full overhaul of Yonex’s most popular doubles racquets, the ASTROX 88 S and ASTROX 88 D. The new racquets are designed to match and even accelerate the evolution of doubles badminton. They are more finely weight-balanced, easier to handle and provide more powerful propulsion.
Our challenge: let the whole of badminton know that these hallmark racquets have evolved, the same way the game has evolved. They are now the best weapons imaginable for fast, raw doubles badminton.
In this campaign, we set out to celebrate the evolution within the sport of doubles badminton and establish ASTROX 88 S & D as the most desirable racquets for anybody looking to set the pace of evolution themselves.
The campaign points out that evolution doesn’t have to be something you undergo. It can be something you create. As a player, through your style of play, and as an innovator like Yonex, through the products you create.
The new ASTROX 88 S & D allow you to take evolution in your hands.
If you seek to control evolution, there are two forces to reckon with: the raw, primal energy of nature and the slick intelligence of humanity. Our art direction brought those together.
We made a point of creating as much of the campaign as possible using analogue techniques, outside of the computer. Even most of the film frames are created as frame-by-frame animations, printed physically, manipulated manually and scanned back in. This constant transition between digital and analogue techniques creates a gritty visual style matching the raw energy of nature and the intelligence of technology.
This hand-made approach came partly as a result of the pandemic restricting our ability to film or photograph any of Yonex's athletes. We had to get imaginative with how we were going to overcome this creative obstacle, and so the art direction for this film was born. It allowed us to utilise Yonex's archive library of imagery and video, and repurpose this old material to create something completely new.
Getting crafty outside of the computer gave us an opportunity to bring some real-world texture into the digital space, that would be almost impossible to authentically recreate solely on a computer. These textures lent themselves perfectly to the theme of behind the scenes research and development. Almost every element you see within the film was printed out frame-by-frame, physically treated or manipulated, scanned back in, and then stitched back together on the computer.
We kicked off the campaign with a series of social media teasers. These were posted to the Instagram accounts of badminton’s most popular doubles pair Marcus and Kevin.
Enigmatic animalistic imagery teased the arrival of the racquets. When the day came to finally release the products into the world, Kevin and Marcus changed their Instagram profile pictures to half-human half-animal representations of their evolutionary energies.
In tandem, we created an Augmented Reality Face Filter inviting fans and followers to reveal their own evolutionary power. With famous badminton players leading the way, over 500,000 fans used the filter and spread our message organically.
The lead asset of the campaign was a 30-second hype video that dramatises the increased speed and intensity of evolution. Rather than undergo the pace of evolution, the film invites fans to take evolution in their hands, with the new ASTROX 88 S and D.
Nearly all of the visuals were treated frame-by-frame using analogue methods. Creating small loops on paper and scanning them back in to give each asset real-world texture - an aesthetic that’s nearly impossible to realistically recreate within a digital space.
The film was created in English for global markets and Japanese for Japan. We also developed a 90-second extended cut that educates viewers on the technological innovations in the racquet.
To support in-store communications and digital advertising, we also created a Key Visual that could be adapted to a wide range of formats. This helped create visual consistency between all campaign touchpoints, making sure that fans recognised the campaign even when they were in store and researching new racquets.