Peking is the award-winning directing duo of Nat Livingston Johnson and Gregory Mitnick, who began their collaboration in 2006 at NYU’s Graduate Film School. Today, they are renowned for a documentary style for both commercials and content that has helped shape the “meaningful” advertising movement. Emblematic of that preeminent wave of touching, inspirational and powerful storytelling are campaigns Peking directed for Skype via agency Pereira & O’Dell—Skype “Stay Together” and “Born Friends” in 2013, which won two Cannes Silver Lions, a One Show Gold Pencil and a multitude of other industry honors, and in 2015 the commercial films, Skype “Turning the Tide” and “Pet Detective,” which was honored with an AICP NEXT award for Product Integration.
Peking’s creative bent surfaced early. For Johnson, communicating visually became a necessity early on while surviving kindergarten in communist China. He developed a vocabulary of hand gestures and other visual demonstrations as a means to relate to his Chinese classmates. Meanwhile, stateside, a precocious Mitnick was directing his first spot for Sony’s “Colorbrand” TV sets. Featuring choreographed dance, ghostly chanting and stop-motion animation, the ad went on to win first place at the Myers Elementary School Ice Cream Festival. Fifteen years later their paths converged. After collaborating on several projects, they decided to make it official, calling themselves Peking, a name born out of their shared associations with China, and the ancient city’s renown as a dynastic cornerstone of the arts. Since Peking’s conception the duo has been, put simply, a highly prolific juggernaut. Their commercials for Starbucks, Google and Audi and branded content for tastemakers such as coolhunting.com have been embraced by an audience encompassing everyone from Millennials to Baby Boomers for their authenticity and a unique ability to move and captivate the digital generation.