Jollibee, the Filipino fried chicken chain, revisits the fears and horrors of the pandemic in a harrowing global TV ad. But ultimately, it offers a message of hope.
The three-minute film, created by BBH Singapore and directed by New York-based director Law Chen via Stink Shanghai, takes the form of a "message from the future" of an older man reminiscing about the pandemic and his experience in a Filipino migrant family in the U.S. during the COVID-19 crisis.
It depicts the ordeal his family goes through, from the painful and scary early days when his wife becomes ill with the coronavirus, to surviving the lockdown with games, home haircuts and ultimately valuing time spent together.
The early scenes, in particular, are some of the more bleak we've seen in a pandemic-era ad. To illustrate the changing mood over time, the footage changes from black and white to color. Later, we see the man eating a family meal with his grandchildren as he describes how the pandemic brought them together as a family.
“Jollibee as a brand has been all about the joy of family, and while in our current times it may be difficult to focus solely on that aspect, we realize just the same that there’s a silver lining in all this,” said Francis Flores, JFC’s Philippines Country Marketing head and Jollibee PH Marketing head in a statement. “Coming from a powerful truth that we are spending time with our families more than ever, it has never happened before and may never happen again—we wanted this campaign to acknowledge the grim reality of the current pandemic but still give a positive message of hope. It’s all about appreciating these moments with them and finding the ultimate joy with family. Our families have been a comforting factor for most of us in these tough times and we wanted everyone to be grateful for that.”
The spot comes as Jollibee is expanding globally, including in the U.K., where it's opening a new flagship store in London's Leicester Square this week, together with new stores in six other cities by the end of the year. The new store designs will also be rolled out across Europe, including with its first Spanish outlet in Madrid. Jollibee Group now has 5800 stores globally and operates in 33 countries.
As part of its 30 million pound U.K. investment, Jollibee worked with branding agency Ico Design Partners, architecture firm Applied Studio and market research company Jigsaw Research to reimagine Jollibee for its U.K. and European audience. The store design includes elements inspired by Jollibee's South East Asian heritage and features aimed at being "Instagrammable."