Advertising and design firm 72andSunny is helping G4 TV introduce the Japanese phenomenon Ninja Warrior to U.S. viewers with a promo campaign inspired by the painfully entertaining physical stunts contestants perform on the show. The spots, which include three :30s and a series of :10 cut-downs, were directed by Tim Godsall of Biscuit Filmworks. “Thumbs,” “Hand Slap,” and “Finger Football” broke April 30th, while “Rock Paper Scissors” broke April 10th. Ninja Warrior airs on G4 weeknights at 6:30PM and 10:30PM ET.
To generate excitement for the show (called Sasuke in Japan), 72andSunny created a tune-in promo effort that speaks to the program’s 18-34 male demographic. 72andSunny had previously created a stop-motion animation campaign for G4 series Star Trek 2.0 which remains among the most viewed and most “favorited” videos of all time on YouTube.
“Ninja Warrior is unlike anything else on TV – we needed an equally distinctive promotional campaign to reach our intended young male target,” said Neal Tiles, President, G4. “72andSunny gave Ninja Warrior the star treatment the series deserves and delivered creative spots that give our viewers a great feel for the series’ completely unique action.”
The Ninja Warrior campaign riffs on innocent childhood pastimes while giving them a dangerous twist, and features scenarios in which ninjas battle to the death-or at least until someone loses a limb-in thumb wrestling, rock paper scissors, finger football and hand-slap matches. All spots open with an un-subtitled title card in kanji to set the mood. As each of the battles reaches a crescendo, one of the ninjas reaches into his weaponry arsenal, pulling out a sword or a throwing star to finally end the match. A kanji title card appears again, this time with an English translation: “It’s a battle of ninjas. Sort of.” along with the closing G4 logo and tune-in information.
“Ninjas hold a special place in culture. And strangely, this campaign captures ninjas and the same fusion of fun, absurdity and badassness you find in the Ninja Warrior show,” said Glenn Cole, Partner and Creative Director, 72andSunny. “Yet again, G4 has proven itself to be a dream client-it’s collaborative and willing to try different things, the projects are always fun and entertaining, and the network is trusting, which we really appreciate. We do our best to respect that trust.”
The promos were shot in a cinematic style, and Tejon Ranch near Los Angeles provided a believable stand-in for Japan and classic martial arts movie settings. The decision to cast real-life Shaolin Monks in the ninja roles further contributes to the authentic feel of the campaign.
“Real Shaolin monks, finger football, walking on water, poison-dipped katana bladesSthese are good reasons to come to work in the morning. Plus, the world needs more ninjas,” adds Jason Norcross, Writer, 72andSunny.
Ninja Warrior is an irreverent Japanese game show consisting of thrilling physical challenges and insanely designed obstacle courses. In each episode, 100 competitors comprising the breadth of the Japanese populace, from fashion models and Olympic Gold medalists to auto mechanics and fishermen, battle it out on four enormous stages for the grand prize of 2 million yen. To date, only two people have successfully completed all four stages to win the award.
Title: G4 Ninja Warrior
Client: G4 TV
Airdate: “Rock Paper Scissors” – April 10, “Thumbs” – April 30, ” Hand
Slap” – April 30, “Finger Football” – April 30
Advertising Agency: 72andSunny / Los Angeles, CA
Art Director: Bryan Rowles
Writer: Jason Norcross
Producer: Angelo Ferrugia
Brand Manager: Brad Bigelow
Creative Director: Glenn Cole
Production Company: Biscuit Filmworks / Los Angeles, CA
Director: Tim Godsall
Executive Producer: Colleen O’Donnell
DP: Bryan Newman
Producer: Lauren Bayer
Where Shot: Tejon Ranch / Los Angeles, CA
Editorial Company: Mad River Post / Santa Monica, CA
Editor: Lucas Eskin
Postproduction Company: Company 3 / Santa Monica, CA
Colorist: Stefan Sonnenfeld
Visual Effects Company: Method / Santa Monica, CA
Artist: Cedric Nicolas
Audio Post Company & Sound Design Company: Lime / Santa Monica, CA
Mixer/Engineer/Sound Designer: Rowan