A video shows Bruce Lee playing ping pong with nunchucks. Is this video real or fake?
It’s not real.
The video, which has been circulating on social media since late 2012, was a promotional spot created in 2008 by Nokia for a limited edition Bruce Lee cell phone.
The award-winning commercial was produced by JWT Shanghai, and was created to look as if it were filmed in the late 60s or early 70s. A Bruce Lee lookalike was used. The men playing ping pong mimicked the motions of an actual game, but the ball was inserted digitally after the fact. At first we see “Lee” beat a single opponent, then takes on two opponents at the same time. There is also video of “Lee” lighting a cigarette – with his nunchaku (“nunchucks”) – as it dangles from another man’s mouth.
JWT Beijing was featured on agency.asia and asked about the spot. Creative officer Polly Chu noted, “Effective viral relies on an idea that is ‘very’ – very amazing, very funny, very disgusting, or very rude etc. Only when people find it interesting enough, they will spend time with it and share it to others. That makes it ‘viral’.
Bruce Lee had ‘very’ amazing skills and we knew we had to be true to the legend. Thankfully, we also have a ‘very’ open-minded client who champions and knows the value of great creative.”
Originally, only a 10-second teaser video teaser was released, and it amassed over 700,000 views in the first 24 hours. It was only after the full version of the spot was released that it became apparent that it was an advertisement for a limited edition Bruce Lee phone.
It’s interesting to note that the commercial only showed the phone for a few seconds at the very end.
Here are the credits for the spot as given in the interview.
Chief Creative Officer: Polly Chu
Creative Director: Shankun Sun
Copywriter: Wei Huang
Art Director: Dechun Qiu
Agency Producer: Lin Ma
Account Executive: Daniel Ingall
Director: Jingjing Zhu
Production House: JQK Production
Cinematographer: Jingjing Zhu
Producer: Jade Tang
Google Trends History
The chart below shows the search history for “Bruce Lee Ping Pong” and it shows several instances in which the phrase received heavy Google searches, including November 2012 and July 2013.
The video of Bruce Lee playing ping pong with nunchucks was a television commercial created in 2008 by Nokia for a limited edition Bruce Lee cell phone.
Updated December 1, 2014
Originally published November 2012