3 Examples of Brand Storytelling with Video

27th April 2018

written by George Hughes

In recent years there has been an undoubtable shift in the way brands and advertisers are choosing to communicate with their audiences and customers. Not only is there a steady decline in traditional forms of advertising and a transition towards online video content but, the way brands are using video to advertise is also changing.

Whilst video adverts that play on the immediate desires of a general target audience still have a big role to play in general advertising, advertisers and brands are starting to see the opportunities to connect with their audiences with more meaningful content; content that is relevant to their lifestyles and emotions. What we are seeing now is video being created by brands that is driven more by narrative and storytelling as opposed to the “hard sell” video adverts that has been the norm for so many years.

Take this 2018 advert by Disneyland Paris – The Little Duck as our first example.


The video was posted on Youtube on December 25th and now has 2.9 million views and is the most viewed video on Disney’s channel. It is a video led entirely through narrative that plays with the audience’s emotions. The story is relatable to both an older generation who remember Donald Duck and a younger generation that engages with high quality animation and cute animals. What works well with this video is that it sells the desire to visit Disneyland Paris through the story of the little duck, without needing to mention ticket prices, accommodation or travel. The narrative of the video helps to build an instant and positive connection to Disneyland. 

A lot of brands now produce video content solely for online use because it not only costs less than TV advertising but can also reach an equal number of people. More money can then be put into the production of the video, making them appear more like short films or TV series instead of adverts. They are longer in length, have characters or a protagonist and there is a strong storyline that has a message relatable to the target audience.  

Here is another example by Mercedes Benz – Bertha Benz: The Journey That Changed Everything.

It is a video about the journey of Mrs Benz and her first fuelled car adventure. There is a strong narrative and a main protagonist, the production quality is high with a lot of detail put into the set design and costumes, and there is a relevant and modern message about female empowerment with the tagline at the end of the video “She Believed in Herself”. It is 4 minutes long and therefore would be too long to run as a TV advert but works incredibly well as an online branded video because it’s interesting, eye catching, different from what Mercedes have done in the past and has a meaningful message. 

Creating an online video for your brand that uses storytelling can help you to reach wider audiences that you might not already engage with. The reason the Mercedes Benz video works so well is because the message it is selling is worth sharing, so audiences are more likely to share the video amongst friends and family. The story is powerful and it builds strong emotions which help aids the positive impression of the Mercedes brand.

Here is another example by Delta Airlines.

A very eye catching and heartwarming video that works well at building an emotional connection to Delta Airlines. They’ve told the story of travelling through the eyes of a child which makes it seems a lot more exciting and desirable. What works well with this advert is the brief mentioning of the brand at the end of the video. If the audience is engaged and likes the video, they will need to wait till the end to find out who the brand is behind it. Because the story has been so engaging for the audience, when they see the branding they will respond positively to it.

These are just a few examples of story-led videos from brands that have come out recently online. Videos that rely on storytelling are highly effective at engaging your audience on a much deeper and more meaningful level and they don’t always need a big budget. It is more important to have the right strategy, ideas and script. And most importantly you need to know what story you want to tell.

Food glorious food.. Lots of us love eating it, most of us buy it, some of us like cooking it – and we’re all fascinated by it to one degree or another. It’s no surprise then that the food and drink industry is the biggest manufacturer in the UK today and contributes over 28 billion pounds to the UK economy each year. (BDO)

 

Although consumer spending on food and drink products remains stable, (ONS) external factors and changing trends in consumer behaviour and technology are having an impact on the relative fortunes of food and drink brands. A future including Brexit has led to fears about recruitment shortages in a labour-intensive industry that needs a whopping 400,000 employees in the UK to sustain itself, whilst increasing consumer distrust of big corporations and overt marketing has demonstrated a need for the industry to become more transparent about food safety, health and environmental issues. Operating in a landscape of fast-changing technologies and increasingly tech-savvy, online-focused consumers, food and drink companies are now having to take a lot on board when considering how best to promote their brands and reach their target markets. A 30 second ‘buy this product’ TV spot supported by some billboard and press advertising no longer cuts the mustard.

 

Amongst the challenges and uncertainty, one thing is becoming clear, and that is that video as a marketing tool is increasingly becoming unbeatable for generating reach and engagement in the food industry. Video content has been shown to produce the highest levels of engagement of all advertising formats and views of food-related content on YouTube are increasing 170% year on year (Tubular Insights).  Of course, the big global food and drink brands are ahead of the pack with video budgets and strategy, but small brands and start-ups also need to consider video as an essential part of their content marketing efforts in order to be competitive.

 

And it’s not all food porn and recipe videos. Here are some other great examples of the types of video food and drinks brands are currently producing:

 

 

 

Storytelling/connecting with an audience – Chipotle Mexican Grill – A Love Story.

This sweet, emotion provoking animated short emphasises the brand’s core messages of sustainability and food with integrity, whilst being an entertaining storytelling film in its own right.

 

 

 

Educating/informing on health benefits/ingredients – Graze – An introduction to protein. For a company producing ‘healthy’ alternatives in the snack market, Graze need to share educational information about health and nutrition and show that they have expertise in the market.

 

 

Recruitment/Communicating behind the scenes company culture– Innocent.

Demonstrating its fun, quirky, independent vibe and customer focus, this film effectively works as a recruitment tool and a way of reinforcing Innocent’s brand values to a wider audience.

 

 

 

About us’ video– Hello Fresh. A simple but effective introduction to the company’s service and values.

 

 

 

Partnering with influencers/branded content– Captain Morgan Rum partnered with target market influencer, grime star Lady Leshurr on its #livelikeacaptain campaign, promoting its brand through a music video about drinking responsibly.

 

 

 

Demonstrating brand transparency/humour.Absolut Vodka killed two marketing birds with one stone in this amusing video featuring naked Swedish men demonstrating the Absolut Vodka production process –  #vodkawithnothingtohide

 

 

 

6 second pre-roll bumper ads– Oreo thins. With a speeded up pastiche of a chef plating up Oreo thins in a fancy restaurant style, this video succeeds in grabbing the attention and getting its message across in the blink of an eye – perfect for bumper ads and mobile marketing. Here is a selection of 20 of the best bumper ads.

 

 

Small Films’ founder George Hughes spent 15 years producing and directing content for TV broadcast including serious documentary and food and cookery content. For more information about how Small Films can help your food or drink brand with different types of engaging video content, contact us here.

 

Small Films are video content specialists. By combining strategic minds with creative flair we create powerful stories with video that deeply resonate with audiences, supporting our clients to achieve their ambitions in growing their organisation, brand or campaign.