5 Brands that Use Film the Right Way

Posted on December 12, 2014

I love film. David Lynch. Tarantino. Julie Taymor. Wes Anderson. Short-of-the-Week. I just love a filmmaker that tells a damn good story.

Lately, I’ve noticed brands ditching commercials for film. And, to be honest, I love what some of these brands are making.

Just for clarity, the difference between a commercial and a film is the difference between a jingle and a symphony: one has far more depth than the other. Commercials bombard your viewing experience. Films look compelling enough to watch. Commercials almost always sell you a product. Film, by strong contrast, tell you a story.

And that’s the biggest difference here: a film tells a story, commercials sell you a product. Though, yes, by nature of the brand, a film could compel you to purchase the brand’s product. But it’s focus is not the product; it’s always the story.

So, with this in mind, let’s look at five brands that make films the right way, the storytelling way.

5 Brands that Tell Stories through Film

1. Honda: Do Something Different.


Let’s begin with a relatively new film, called “The Other Side,” by Honda. The film begins like a traditional car commercial: the viewer hears the hum of the Honda and see the road from presumably the front bumper of the car.

But this is no conventional commercial, nor is the narrative like any film I’ve seen. In fact, as you find out, the film doesn’t have one but two stories.

By holding down the “r” key, you can switch between the two stories. The first is about a father picking his son up from school, while the second is about the same man on a secret mission.

Brilliant! Never before have I seen a brand create a film that is user interactive. What’s even cooler is that the stories contrast so sharply, you can feel the suspense, the action, the excitement as you switch between the films. The strong contrast between the soft colors and calm music of the first, and the dark hues and suspenseful tones of the second, create a strong effect in the viewer.

So here’s what we learn from Honda: don’t be afraid to do something different, something radical, something off the chart.

2. Chipotle: Do Something Radical.


A few years back, Chipotle Mexican Grill released two videos, “Back to the Start” and “The Scarecrow.” Both videos use a similar technique: offer creative content that speaks to a painful truth.

The first video is a story of a farmer whose family farm changes from organic to industrial farming. We see pigs penned up, pollution leaving pipes into a lake, food on industrial lines. At the end, the farmer realizes his folly. He transforms his industry back into a farm. This is when we discover the farm is a part of Chipotle.

The painful truth? Organic farms are being replaced by industry, causing terrible quality in food.

The solution? Eat at Chipotle where food is grown organically.

Not only is the story good: the video itself is a work of art. Great quality and great visuals, the videos really shows the creativity of Chipotle’s marketing team.

3. Coca Cola: Do Something Creative.


I’ve always thought Coke had a creative marketing team from the start, but when I saw their animated “Coke Factory” film back in 2007, I was stunned.

Yes, in 2015, the cinematography and graphics are somewhat outdated, but who cares. There’s just something about this film that makes me feel like a kid again. Maybe it’s the wonderful anser to my long-standing questions, “what happens inside a coke machine when I buy a coke?” Or maybe it’s the genius display of natural sights with the inner mechanics of that machine.

But no matter what, Coke’s film tells us this: the more creative you are, the longer your film will stick in your viewer’s minds.

4. Big Green Egg: Do Something Useful


Big. Green. Egg. The biggest, eggiest grill that exists.

Because their audience is mostly house cooks, Big Green Egg’s website has dozens of videos explaining egg maintenance and upkeep. Further, they offer recipes prepared by a Big Green Egg expert.

Unique recipes.

From Lemon Cornish Hens to Greek Shrimp & Orzo Salad, Green Egg experts break down recipes and slowly feed you their knowledge. BGE engages in one of the best inbound marketing techniques: offer unique content that educates your audience.

When customers learn something new, they view you as an expert. The more expertise you have, the more trust you earn.

5. Red Bull: Do Something Gnarly.


Skateboarding, music, rally, surfing, BMX, wingsuit flying: Red Bull markets with all these. Advocates of the extreme, champions of energy drinks, Red Bull’s inbound marketing includes web content, sponsored marathons, and epic contests.

They give out free drinks in their Red Bull Mini Coopers.

They sponsor skateboarders, rally cars, and jumpsuits.

They offer free global videos on redbull.tv.

Red Bull uses their niche to market to a large audience. In fact, Red Bull embodies this important tip: offer exciting content that people actually want to see. Just creating content is not enough. Create content that actually appeals to a certain audience.



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