Olympian Simone Biles Combats Online Trolls In SK-II Film From WPP, Passion Pictures


Robert Goldrich
Sunday, May. 2, 2021


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This film featuring Olympian gymnast Simone Biles is part of a campaign for skincare brand SK-II from a group across WPP agencies consisting of hand-picked global talent from Grey and MediaCom.

The “VS” series of six combination animation-live action films based on the real-life experiences of six Olympic athletes, including Biles, explores what it means to shape your own destiny, overcoming societal pressures over how to look, act and what to feel.

The piece featuring Biles, titled “VS Trolls,” was produced by Oscar-winning studio Passion Pictures.  Societal pressures take the form of online trolls whose messages range from naysaying to being downright abusive. 

Different pressures are brought to life in the SK-II Studio films, taking the form of a “strange beast” or “Kaiju” in Japanese. Each “kaiju” sheds light on the inner demon each athlete must defeat in order to successfully pursue their destiny.

Singer-songwriter John Legend created original music for the Biles film.

The “VS” series of films was released worldwide on May 1 with a global premiere in Hainan, China.

Katie Mulligan, creative strategist and copywriter, WPP’s Grey London, said, “What has been clear from working on this campaign is that the societal pressures on women do not discriminate. You can be the incredibly successful – the world’s most decorated gymnast – and still be criticized for how you look. So it’s been an incredible experience to create powerful, female-led narratives that not only highlight these pressures, but seek to eradicate them entirely.”


Client SK-II Agency WPP Agencies (Grey and Mediacom, lead creative unit; HUGE, VaynerMedia, Mano, Hogarth Worldwide, partners) Leo Savage, San Takashima, Graham Drew, executive creative directors; Danni Mohammed, executive creative strategy director; Nihar Das, WPP team lead; Katie Mulligan, creative strategist & copywriter; Nathan Wilson, integration lead; Stuart Harkness, Shane Lester, creative consultants; Ashley Chen, Ken Mitani, Sudhir Pasumarty, creative directors; Hiroko Matsuo, strategy director; Yukika Anan, sr. copywriter; Yoichai Inamura, sr. art director; Amanda Ang, designer; Miwako Yasukouchi, Shoko Akutagawa, sr. producers; Hayato Chaki, producer; Jerry Li, art director. Music John Legend, singer/songwriter. Music Studio Eclectic Sounds, Simon Elms. Production Passion Pictures Jon Saunders, director & character design, concept art, matte/background painting; Debbie Crossup, Mike Turoff, Luiza Cruz-Flade, EPs; Rick Bland, producer; Jason Nicholas, head of CG; Dave Walker, VFX supervisor; Christian Mills, CG supervisor; Aldo Gagliardi, CG animation supervisor; Jisoo Kim, Saskia Milledge, character design; Patricia Beteo, background design; Samuel Klughertz, Ronnie Mitchel, Daniel Lambert, concept art; Filipe Alcada, 2D animation; Francois Pons, lookdev; Javi Recio, Katie Smith, Barry Reynolds, boardomatic/animatic; Eoin Coughlan, previz; Daniel Budin, Kinsgley Bailey, editing; David Burtle, Idris Honnor, layout; Mattias Bjurstrom, Christian Johnson, Leo Viti, modeling; Ian Brown, Mark Ardisson, Sophie Blayrat, Shaun Rogers, character modeling; James Nardelli, Jakub Gryglicki, surface texturing; Kimon Matara, David Jurine, Sarah Forest, rigging; Jordi Girones, Conor Ryan, George Rigby, Karin Mattsson, Lucas Pratdesaba, Camillie Jalabert, Oscar Malet, Stuart Doig, animation; Colin Perrett, Darlene Buttner, Nacho Doctor, David Berrocoso, Tyler Daniels, Kwai Ip, Jamie Moller, SFX & SIM; Ian Beresford, Quentin Camus, Maryka Laudet, Adrian Russell, Stu Hall, Christian Mills, lighting & rendering; Nick Herbert, Antoine Foulot, Matheus Lacava, Eric Venti, Johnny Still, Andre Bittencourt, compositing; Daniel Lambert, Jakub Gryglicki, matte/background painting; Tim King, Olivia Bohac, Christina Conradi, assistant editors. (Toolbox: Maya, Nuke, Houdini, Photoshop, After Effects, Flame, Adobe Premiere) Live-Action Production Anh Vu, live-action director; Greg Babiuk, live-action exec producer; James Youngs, live-action producer. Editorial, Live-Action Trim Editing, London Ed Hanbury, editor.  Postproduction Unit, London Denny Cooper, colorist; Isabella Wakley, grade producer. Casting Gambit Postproduction Hogarth Singapore, Daryl Bryan Lim, post producer

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