A Japanese ad featuring a same-sex kiss captured a gold award and a Grand Prix win in the prestigious Epica advertising awards.
Covering a variety of communication disciplines, the Epica Awards originally focused on Europe, the Middle East, and Africa region since its conception in Paris, France in 1987. It became a global affair in 2012 and has since begun accepting entries from all over the world.
This year’s Epica
, which concluded last week, received 4020 entries from 69 countries.
Shiseido Japan’s artistic entry titled “The Party Bus – I can’t tell you that I love you” won the Epica Awards’ gold certificate for its nominated category under Health and Beauty in Film.
The certificate qualified the ad to be an entry into The Film Grand Prix, the event’s highest award, according to Soranews24.
In the 3-minute film, the heroine’s inner emotional battle is brilliantly captured in beautiful animation as well as makeup art. According to the event’s website, the ad’s 3D animation required close to 2000 stop motion shots.
Initially unable to confess her feelings, the female character gathers up enough confidence to abandon the “party bus” and go after her female love interest.
At the end of the film, the pair is shown sharing an intimate kiss.
The Epica Awards’ jury, composed of journalists representing the trade press from different parts of the world, eventually awarded the highly-coveted “Film Grand Prix” to “The Party Bus.” Shiseido’s ad won over ads produced by global brands Heineken and Mars.
“In Japanese culture, there is a strong conservative tendency, and stories of LGBT are not commonly told yet. I think this film was probably the first work by a major Japanese company to address LGBT in an advertisement,” Shiseido’s creative director Masato Kosukegawa said while accepting the award.
In his brief speech, Kosukegawa also thanked the short’s director, Shou Yanagisawa, as well as everyone involved in the project. He noted that the film was intended to reach out to young people, and show them the strength that makeup can lend them “in this confused and divided world.”
The “Party Bus” ad, which has generally received praise on social media, has generated over 7.6 million views on YouTube as of this post.