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Ad of the day: SK-II Studio’s first film tells recovery story of swimming prodigy

After opening a film studio earlier this month, the luxury beauty brand SK-II has premiered the first of eight films under its ’change destiny’ brand mantra.

The docu-drama ’The Centre Lane’ features the Japanese swimming prodigy Rikako Ikee. A gold medal candidate for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, at the 2018 Asian Games, Ikee was named the ’Most Valued Player’.

However, when Ikee was just 18 years old, she was dealt with the devastating news that she had been diagnosed with leukaemia.

The film sees Ikee return to swimming, after overcoming the dreadful illness, capturing the trials and tribulations of recovery, as she trains for her comeback. Using an eloquent mix of live-action and animation, the film illustrates her inner thoughts, documenting her struggles and her hopes for the future.

’Destiny is not a matter of chance, it's a choice,’ reads the film poster that accompanies the film, underscoring the ’change destiny’ mantra SK-II is pushing.

Earlier this month, SK-II opened an in-house film studio as a way to better connect with its target audience through film. Aspiring to act as a content hub, its senior brand director, SK-II Global YoeGin Chang told The Drum that the studio is a genesis of a long-term commitment from the brand to be embedded in the challenges its customers feel.

“We were talking to our consumers and we also realized that it’s not just skin that matters to her, there’s actually much more in their lives and what matters most to her actually is all the things all the choice all the decisions she’s making. Some of our consumers across the world were sometimes not so happy with the decisions that she just made. And we realise there are different social pressures that we call ’box’”, she explains.

While this new venture into film is an exciting prospect, SK-II has already made a name for itself as an advertiser. In 2016, it introduced ’Marriage Market’ to critical acclaim. The film showed women standing up against the pressure of being labelled ’Sheng Nu’ or ’leftover woman’.

Beyond Marriage Market, other films include ‘Expiry Date’, which explored the pressures that women in China, Japan and Korea feel around the ageing process, and ‘Meet Me Halfway’ that followed real-life stories of three women as they bravely took on the daunting steps of reaching out to their parents after years of marriage pressure, to reach a place of mutual understanding.

More recently, it introduced ‘Timeline’, a series with Katie Couric. Similarly, it explored the pressures put on young women by society, to spark a conversation on marriage pressure.