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Brand storytelling summer roundup

  • By David

People on bikes
While the unusually warm summer we’ve been experiencing up here in Oregon refuses to give out, we all know the end is nigh and the rains will eventually come. So even though it’s still swimming pool hot, the kids are back in in school and the nights are cooling off quicker. Summer’s coming to an end it’s time to take a look back at the season’s best brand storytelling. And there’s been a lot of great work out there.

First mention goes to some web spots for the Levi’s commuter series. It’s directed by Truen Pence of Instrument with his relaxed and lyrical documentary style he brought to life in last year’s This Place (which we were lucky to be able to help with), it explores three real and very different characters with a passion for cycling. Smartly set in the iconic cities of London, Oakland and New York, it goes beyond tapping into the bike commuter zeitgeist through telling honest and distinct stories.

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Next up is The Gentleman’s Wager, a short film directed for Johnnie Walker by Jake Scott. It’s extremely fun and gorgeous, featuring stunning aerials shot in the British Virgin Islands and an incredible set piece in an old London theater. The story is fun and whimsical and has huge production values. Jake Scott certainly has film industry roots, having directed commercials and music videos for the likes of Oasis and Tori Amos, not to mention the fact that his father, Ridley, has produced a few tentpoles in his day. Ridley and Tony Scott created RSA Films, which has been producing commercials since the 60s.

It’s interesting to see a long-standing beverage brand employ content marketing, something the more youthful and innovative Red Bull has been doing for years. But the tone is completely different appropriate to the product. Matching the tone and type of storytelling to the brand is important, and that’s what we aimed to do in the 2Towns project we recently worked on.

I’m no whiskey drinker, but the Johnnie Walker film was fantastic, and I sure wouldn’t mind sitting on that yacht and sipping a glass. Among long-standing brands, it’s usually car companies who’ve been employing this type of high-production storytelling employing name directors and full productions.

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And speaking of car companies, the last nod will go to this piece from a couple years ago from Mercedes Benz’s Avant Garde Diaries. The project and the profile about the metal band formed by two Brooklyn preteens are a few years old, but the band profiled in the video is now soaring. The eight graders signed a seven figure deal with Sony this summer, and they’ve been touring with acts like Metallica.

Directed by documentary filmmaker Luke Meyer, the story, like the band, seems to have legs. He’s now working on a feature documentary about the kids’ breakout year.

Content marketing and brand storytelling blur the line between entertainment and adverting, and whether it’s with a documentary or narrative approach, it’s producing some fascinating work at the hands of some talented directors.

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