Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Spot Her!

I was sent this link to a YouTube video; featuring a Hong Kong commercial advertisement back in the 90's.
There were rumors that there were more than the intended number of children involved in the filming of the advertisement; with the main rumor saying that there were only six children but there was a part when they found a 7th girl behind the last boy who was looking down.

I played this video and watched it; trying to see what the story was all about and found that it was just a normal advertisement about the KCRC railway in relativity to their friendly services to the locals and the notion of using children in the advertisement is to show the commuters how simple and close the train company is to the commuters; similar to the game that children play; putting their hands on each other to form a train line.
KCRC is trying to send the message that they are reaching out to their commuters and that they are just friendly and relative to their commuters.

I have watched it a couple of times, and I still don't see the weird part about this advertisement at all; despite being told that there is an appearance of a 7th girl behind the last boy's back, at 0.26-0.27.

The Rumor
If you noticed right from the start of the advertisement, there seemed to be only six children playing the 'choo-choo' train game; there are 4 boys and 2 girls.

Nothing seemed to be wrong, and towards the middle of the advertisement; or as mentioned, at the 0.26-0.27 seconds, the last kid at the back of the line seemed to be a girl, rather than a boy.
Some of us may not have noticed it, but then in the last scene, you can see that the last kid in the line is actually a boy and not the girl.

Also, it was mentioned that the girl standing at the back of the line was looking down with her head bowed at the above mentioned second.

It was said that the last boy died shortly after the advertisement, and the locals linked it to the superstition of 'tapping hands on the shoulder' and in the forest where creepy things tend to happen.

KCRC was rumored to have only hired six children for this advertisement and that they were surprised when they aired the advertisement that there were seven children.

Anyway, as I could not find anything funny about the advertisement (I really tried!), I decided to try and do a little checking and research on my own.
I did my research online; Googled up the story behind this advertisement and also contacted my Hongkie friends to hear their side of the story, since this advertisement was reputed to be one of major rumors surrounding the country in the 90's; which was when this was aired on TV.

It was said that when it was aired on TV, it was taken off screen shortly which spurred rumors on that there was something creepy about the advertisement.
Imagine, at that time there was no Youtube yet and people had to wait patiently for the ad to appear and then count the number of children in it. Some even went to the extent of the recording the ad and playing it again and again!
(Thank goodness for the existence of technology and YouTube today!)

Thanks to the sources from Google and also my friends, I have managed to dig up a bit of information about this advertisement.
However, a disclaimer here; I am not able to speak on behalf of KCRC nor am I able to verify the rumors and these are only based on my findings.

I was unable to find much information from KCRC (For your information, KCRC is a railway service in Hong Kong and the abbreviation stands for Kowloon-Canton Railway Company), but I did come across a few forum threads discussing on this topic and, also sources from my friends.

Apparently this commercial was produced by KCRC and was aired on TV to promote their railway in the 90's, and it was scheduled to run for a period of time.
During its running period, there did not seem to be any rumor circulating around about the extra kid in the advertisement.

When the advertisement was taken down, that was where the rumors started whereby people started to say that there was an extra kid appearing in the advertisement and that KCRC probably realized it, hence the prompt removal of the advertisement from the national television.

People then started to talk about the advertisement, which also happened to be filmed in a forest and with its dark gray surroundings, as you can observe in the above video, made one associate the story to the supernatural (unbiased statement here).

The rumor started with the observation that there was supposedly six children appearing but somehow there was an extra appearance of a little girl behind the last boy in a scene. As the little girl kept her head bowed down in the commercial compared to the other children who were smiling brightly at the camera, she was reputed to be the 'ghost'.
Furthermore, the last scene seemed to lay the concrete on the rumor when it was obvious that the last kid was a boy!

There were lots of views on this rumor; and let's separate them into the supernatural and also the logical explanation part.
Supernatural Explanation
There was indeed a ghost, who was the girl behind the last boy because she held her head down most of the time and only appeared in one of three scenes.
1. The 1st scene showed that there were 6 kids, and the last kid was a boy. Then the middle scene as they marched towards the camera, there seemed to be another girl behind the last boy and she was just looking down. The last scene again showed that there were only six kids and that the last kid was indeed a boy.

2. The setting was in a forest, and the place looked a little gloomy, which usually could be a base for the supernatural scene.

3. All the children were always focused on the camera; and only the girl kept her head bowed down when they were supposed to face the camera directly in the middle scene.

The Logical Explanation
1. Bad editing; the order of the children kept changing throughout the advertisement, despite the short period of time.

2. KCRC probably hired more than 6 kids; and the director probably used different kids to achieve better results in the advertisement. There may be more than 6 kids, and at different points of time, the director probably arranged them differently and used more kids.

3. The little girl looking down could be seen in the earlier scene; the one in pink and with ponytail and not a ghost, as rumored. Furthermore, she was probably looking down at that point because she wanted to make sure she did not tread on the shoes of the boy in front of her.

My take/opinion on this whole story?
Well, if you ask me, I have to pick the logical part for this one, as first of all, I don't really see anything wrong with the advertisement and I would attribute the overall confusion to the editing process of the commercial.
I just don't really think that a little girl's ghost could appear so clearly and visible in an advertisement and also at the same time, looks like one of the girls in the advertisement.
(Yeah, you can consider a doppelganger, but that was not the point of the story in the first place).

I think there was just a little illusion involved, and it may be associated with the editing process by the production team. They may not be detailed enough to notice the parts of the editing which went wrong with the advertisement and probably they did not double check before they air it on TV.
When production filming takes place, there are always more than a few shots taken and the director may change his mind to alter the image portrayed in the advertisement (it is a lot of pressure when filming an ad). Perhaps the director's indecisiveness was not properly communicated to the editing team, who also went with their own professional opinion to fit in the best shots into the commercial.
After all, this was scheduled to run on national television, and should be artistically portrayed.

Whether the children or that particular kid died or not, there was no sound confirmation from any source, and therefore I will not comment.

However, sometimes, I believe the human mind can play a lot of games; and can make one believe what one wants to believe.
The girl has appeared in the other parts of the advertisement, and I still think she is just as human as the rest.

So, my conclusion? Editing and also mind illusion.
If you are not happy, well, maybe you can form your own conclusion and to aid you in this, you can also do more research and share with me.
I would love to hear from anyone who can shed some light on this story.

Additional information
You might be interested to check out some of these forum discussions:
The HK KCRC commercial; 6 kids or 7?
Extra Girl Ghost in KCR commercial
HK KCRC commercial


Small Kucing said...

scary lol

Anonymous said...

it is very confusing add...be cause if the last guy is the fat boy...The fat boy is the last person and is wearing a black shorts but at the beginning of the video where they show only the legs, the last person is wearing a long pants. Please see this and give your coments guys.


ddbrighton said...

This is the funniest thing ever!!! I was looking for this ad online and I realise I am 6 years too late, but I can tell you exactly what happened with this ad. My Dad was the Chairman of KCRC at the time and commissioned its making. It was originally filmed with a group of Hong Kong children, but when they previewed it the kids' faces were too sophisticated (the theme was the absolute innocence of playing trains), so they reshot the ad with some different kids from the Mainland instead and spliced the footage hence the well-spotted continuity issue. There were no ghosts - I promise.