SK-II launches original film studio division SK-II STUDIO, unveils eight films with "The Center Lane" to inspire women to #CHANGEDESTINY

#CHANGEDESTINY has long been a core value at the heart of prestige skincare brand SK-II. At its best, it offers the notion that destiny itself is not a matter of chance, it's a matter of choice. Through this message, SK-II has inspired and empowered women of all ages all around the globe to defy expectations, overcome challenges and take control over their own destinies to pursue the dreams and goals they wish to achieve.

Offering more than just a catchy slogan, #CHANGEDESTINY emphasises the real-life pressures that women face and the box that many feel they are put in under society's gaze. SK-II has explored these pressures in a series of campaigns, making good use of the power of storytelling to stand up for women.

"At SK-II, we are a human brand. We believe in the power of human stories and storytelling to influence culture, overcome social biases and stereotypes and create positive change," said global SK-II chief executive officer Sandeep Seth.

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To further spread the #CHANGEDESTINY philosophy, SK-II has announced the launch of SK-II STUDIO, the brand's first in-house film studio and content hub. Bringing together filmmakers, animators, musicians and more, SK-II STUDIO will serve as the creative nucleus for purpose-driven content aimed to speak directly to the consumer and inspire positive social change. Through film and storytelling, the studio's collective will help drive conversations about the social issues and pressures currently affecting women, and use the power of the SK-II brand voice as a force for good in the world.

"The Center Lane" — the story of pursuing the change of destiny

The studio plans to release eight original #CHANGEDESTINY films in 2021, and has already launched its first, directed by award-winning film director Hirokazu Koreeda. "The Center Lane" explores the story of Olympian Rikako Ikee's return to competitive swimming.

Japanese Olympic swimming sensation Rikako Ikee holds the national record in several swimming events and was named the Most Valued Player (MVP) of the 2018 Asian Games. Following a blood cancer diagnosis in 2019, she saw her hopes of competing in Tokyo's 2020 Olympics vanish, but never gave up on her dream. "The Center Lane" follows the athlete as she goes in pursuit of changing her own destiny: to not be defined by her diagnosis, to fight her cancer and to return to competitive swimming. This is the choice she made, the belief she insisted.

Rikako Ikee shows us, "Destiny is not a matter of chance, it's a choice"

The five-minute long cut of the film opens with a simple question: "Who decides our destiny?" Through footage of swimming practice, physical therapy, and beautiful animations by Masanobu Hiraoka, Nobuaki Doi, and Hideki Inaba, we get a feel for the full scope of Rikako Ikee's emotions as she pushes forward to answer that question for herself. Narrated by the swimmer, one can feel the push and pull of fear, determination, sadness, frustration, defiance and triumph as she aims to undo the expectations of those around her, and at times, even herself.

Ultimately, it's Rikako Ikee's will to look forward and not dwell on the past that puts her back in control of her own destiny — come what may. 

"I feel truly blessed to have been involved in this wonderful project, and I want to express my gratitude to SK-II and Kore-eda san for capturing who I really am in this film." shared Rikako Ikee as she reflected on her year-long journey with SK-II and being part of SK-II’s new #CHANGEDESTINY chapter. "People around the world have been placed in incredibly difficult situations. I’m sure there are times when it gets too much, and you start to question yourself. It’s moments like these that I want everyone to remember the importance of persevering, undeterred, and pursuing your own destiny. It doesn’t matter if we can’t go back to who we were in the past, because destiny is determined by our actions in this very moment. No matter what hardships you’re facing, I believe that you can overcome them and change your future."

Overcoming it all in pursuit of a dream, and in the end, happiness, becomes Rikako Ikee's choice, not one made for her by a diagnosis or a fear of what others might think. It's a powerful debut for SK-II STUDIO's slate of short films and a sign of great things to come.

(To enjoy the full-length version of the film, please click here.)

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The demand for high-quality content is rising once again

As content has become such a crucial part of every brand's ability to market and grow a community in the digital world, the race for high quality and original content has heated up like never before. SK-II has grappled well with the changes of a digitally transformed world. For SK-II STUDIO, having their own studio and a team of talented creatives on hand, from videography and photography, animations and snackable content to original feature films, will just make it that much easier to send their message of inspiration and empowerment into the world. It will be interesting to see what lies ahead for the brand — and which others out there will follow suit. As the world begins to reopen, I envision we will begin to see more high quality, fully produced content made to inspire, engage and excite us all about life once again. 

Going above and beyond with this newest initiative, the brand has also launched the #CHANGEDESTINY fund, contributing US$1 for each view on the SK-II STUDIO films in support of women who aim to change their own destiny and make a positive change as well. The fund will be capped at US$500,000, and participating organisations will be announced a later date.

While other brands often tie social good campaigns into a specific product or commercial goals, for SK-II Studio, #CHANGEDESTINY's goal remains the same — to tell and amplify true human stories about women.

For more information on SK-II, please visit www.sk-ii.com.hk.

This article is produced in partnership with SK-II.