Defining Genres — Brand Films (Part 2)

Brand Films Part 2

Thank you for continuing this look at the brand films. Last week we began our look at the scope of the genre and the first few examples. Let’s continue—

What is a platform – IBS Brand Film


This film follows a familiar pattern for brand films — a stirring monologue that feels like a rallying speech with soaring music and a series of video clips to support it. After multiple views, I still don’t know what the company does or what it’s name stands for. My best guess remains “Irritable Bowel Syndrome” but I doubt that anyone would make a film to suggest it was responsible for pulling companies together to provide hope and happiness. Obviously, Huawei and Cartier (from last week’s post) benefit from my existing familiarity with the brand, so they can afford to be less focused on practicalities to leave an impression, but this film leaves me mildly confused and with no impression of the brand.

The conventional treatment has been used so many times that it lacks any impact and the high–minded claims to providing all good things in life come off as cliché. This really has the feel of when a company sees somebody else’s film and wants a similar one made for themselves. It’s not a pretty position to be put in, and is ultimately something that needs to be resisted. Getting through to your audience requires some amount of innovation and surprise to capture their imagination, keeping your film from being an echo in the noise of all of the other similar films that they have seen.

Nike Unlimited You


Picking up on the elements that make the IBS brand film fall flat, this Nike treatment turns it on its head from the outset with a simple device (the v/o interacts briefly with the subjects)) and a tonal shift (the v/o uses humour, admitting that these people aren’t great — but with the product and time, they will be). Then when interest might otherwise lag, they kick the concept to the next level by shattering the convention altogether. Remember that the viewer and people depicted in the film are aligned because of the factual–based traditional conceit of these films, making the people in the film act as a surrogate for the viewer.. The second section of the film suggests that the audience has taken ownership of “success” away from the marketers, eloquently implying that the brand also belongs to authentic people rather than the Nike corporation. Ingenious stuff.

Ericsson Brand Film


This film employs similar sweeping music to the IBS brand film, but presents footage in a less usual way, with overlay graphics suggesting the touch points between consumers and the Ericsson brand. How they work or what exactly they are doing isn’t quite clear but that is less important than conveying the ubiquitous (and positive) nature of the brand, with the secondary implication that these details aren’t as important as the benefit — Ericsson is a seamless brand that doesn’t get in the way of human interaction. The film culminates in a vision of the future with a clearly defined place for Ericsson, exemplifying the brand film genre and doing so in a compelling way with as few words as possible.

Leica 100 years


This bold and beautiful film is another amazing treatment of the brand film genre. The audacious claim that Leica is responsible for all great photographs is intriguing and poetically written, and clearly brand rather than product focused. The end result may compel you to want to own a Leica, but the objective is to have the audience credit the concept of photography to the brand.

Idents

Idents form a subset of brand films. Broadcasters are legally required to air short station identification videos which are typically more branded than informative because the core message is simply “this is Channel 6”. These often form a cornerstone of the on–air identity of the channel, showing off it’s production ambition and sensibility, and can double as promo opportunities as the broadcaster uses the air time to announce upcoming shows. They generally give great insight into the kind of content the channel shows and how regular viewers of the channel want to see themselves, identifying both the character of the channel and the viewer. Websites like theident.gallery are a great place to familiarise yourself with various campaigns, like the invariably stunning Channel 4 idents.

Picture House


This ‘Picture House’ ident played before the feature film at Picture House–affiliated cinemas across London and helps contextualise the relationship between brand films and idents. The film could have fulfilled its surface–level function of identification in 50 frames, but instead we are presented with this story laden with brand qualities — a varied community coming together with love and caring to share a memorable communal experience.

Behance Portfolio Review Week II Main Title Video


This video is a main title for Behance’s portfolio review week, but offers some insight into the link between brand films and dents. This video serves as an ident, identifying the “portfolio review week” event, and is clearly espousing a particular look and feel of that brand subset rather than the larger Behance brand, helping to distinguish between the two. This insight offers a helpful perspective on considering titling, ident or event movies as an opportunity for creative (and marketing) impact.

K.

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