Design Army's 'wonderfully weird' campaign for Hong Kong Ballet's 45th anniversary

The inventive, culturally rich campaign reimagines classical ballet with a playful twist. It features punk rockers, a spaceship, and tutu-wearing green aliens. And it's all inspired by a crazy mashup of Degas' ballerina portraits, the Renaissance era, punk, and hip hop.

All credit: Design Army & Dean Alexander (director)

All credit: Design Army & Dean Alexander (director)

To mark the 45th anniversary of Hong Kong Ballet and the launch of its first-ever ballet academy, Design Army has unveiled a fun new campaign titled Tutu Academy, one that it admits is "wonderfully weird" and "wildly witty".

Celebrating the universal language of dance alongside authentic Hong Kong culture, the campaign takes inspiration from Degas' classic ballerina portraits and the Renaissance age to hip hop, punk, and the sci-fi genre—extraterrestrials, to be exact. As we've come to expect from Design Army, it's defiantly unconventional and wholly unexpected—full of colour, surprise twists, and delight.

The campaign film, directed by Dean Alexander, stars the 50-plus renowned dance troupe showing off their incredible skills and abilities, all against the backdrop of Hong Kong Ballet's renowned university halls, Tai Kwun's stunning plaza, and the majestic High Island Reservoir. Donned in eye-popping coloured costumes with koi fish-inspired hairdos, some punk rockers on pointe, and a jelly-like, gold-toothed alien – the dancers take us on a joyful journey with their gravity-defying moves and a whimsical storyline that is fun and unexpected.

The story is set in a ballet academy where tutus are the uniform, and students express themselves through dance and quirky hairstyles. It then takes an unexpected turn when a UFO lands and an alien joins the class. Eager to connect, the teacher and students engage the alien in what can only be described as a "dance conversation".

Initially struggling, the alien gains confidence after being gifted a magical green tutu, and he joins the dancing crew with newfound joy. And that's when things get a little crazier. The music shifts. The tempo speeds up. It goes from Johann Strauss' classic, The Blue Danube Waltz, to hip-hop-infused ballet scenes throughout. It all feels a little naughty and rebellious. Quite marvellous, really.

The story concludes with a bittersweet farewell as the alien returns to his homeland, proudly donning a green tutu. The alien's return home sparks a celebration on his planet, where his commanders dance in tutus, celebrating their new connection with Earth.

Design Army designed every quirky detail within the campaign, which is accompanied by stunning photography to be featured in wider OOO campaigns and across its website, social media, and other platforms. "We played with graphic scale, from bird's-eye shots to silhouettes against architecture, as well as circular repetition mimicking tutus at every turn, texture, sound, music, and more. Every element brings the delightfully unexpected," it explains.


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