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Dictionary Film's Peter Grasse Trumps America from Japan

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Recreating Diesel's all-American campaign for a Japanese audience proved to be an improvement on the original

Dictionary Film's Peter Grasse Trumps America from Japan
You’ve won an existing campaign to adapt for a local audience. You have two choices in front of you. Treat it as if it’s the lowliest job on the creative totem pole. Or try your darnedest to outdo the original.

At Spikes this week, Dictionary Films’ executive producers, Peter Grasse and Timo Otsuski, intend to show that global concepts adapted for local markets are not only a producer’s paradise but also an agency & clients’ best asset.

They know this because they outdid the original. 

When Dictionary Films won the chance to recreate Diesel’s very American 'Make Love Not Walls' for a Japanese audience, Grasse knew that he really only had one choice before him. After all, to join Dictionary Films Tokyo as executive producer, Grasse had left behind a decade of producing Australasian work and adding awards like D&AD Pencils to his mantelpiece. Since moving to Japan, Grasse has produced award-winning work for Nike, H&M, Toyota, Apple in addition to Diesel. 

Making Diesel would take spirited creativity and dogged determination but the creative team, paired with inspired post & production partners, had that in bucket-loads.

And so the local Japanese Diesel commercial, 'The Walls,' trumped its global predecessor not only in views, likes, and shares but also in overall critical acclaim. 

Moreover, it motivated culture. Diesel’s position as a champion of tolerance and acceptance was provocative. The Walls asked people to tear down the barriers that prevent people from being free to love. That included love between LGBT people, which is a fresh idea for Japan. Coupling that with a stimulating visual aesthetic made for a standout, brave and much-loved campaign. 

Grasse will also relate the lessons he's learned producing work in Japan with the hope that our industry can gain new perspective on producing work differently and with drive.

That willingness to learn and enthusiasm for producing exceptional work is, in fact, the secret behind Grasse’s reputation as a force in Asia-Pacific advertising for more than ten years, his presence on top awards juries – at Ciclope, Spikes, AWARD and this year’s Cannes Lions, and his ability to inspire his audience in speaker sessions including 'Production Value Redefined' at the 2016 Entertainment Lions and 'My Mutant Musical Mind: Craft and Collective Composition' at the 2017 Cannes Lions.

Grasse commented: “What I'm hearing is that the system’s broken and advertising's dead. But we know as creatives that's trumped-up bullshit and simply not true. It was simply inspiring to go to Japan and produce creative work by different means. So inspirational that I'm motivated to share in the hope that we can do more of the same together.” 

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