2 min read

Why You Should Hire a Doc Filmmaker to Direct Your Branded Videos

What do Always, Knorr, and JetBlue have in common? They’ve all hired documentary directors for their commercial shoots.
Why You Should Hire a Doc Filmmaker to Direct Your Branded Videos

What do Always, Knorr, and JetBlue have in common? They’ve all hired documentary directors for their commercial shoots.

Bringing a documentary filmmaker onto your commercial project will change the focus of your commercial from the product to the people. Commercial filmmakers generally focus on visuals whereas documentary filmmakers focus on story — and content that is story-driven tends to get far more engagement than visually focused product videos. IPG Media Lab released a report on why longer form branded content drives purchase consideration among millennials. The report touches on how longer form videos create strong recall in viewers and drives lasting interest in the brand. Here are three examples of how brands have used documentary filmmakers to direct engaging stories in longer form videos.

Always: #LikeAGirl — Girl Emojis

Always started the #LikeAGirl campaign, producing content that addressed how stereotypes affect young women. They hired documentary filmmaker Lucy Walker to direct the piece. Instead of focusing on the Always product, Walker chooses to show a more emotional story about how traditionally male professions are represented with male emoji characters. The girls in the video express their disappointment when they can’t find a profession they’re interested in that’s also with a female emoji.

When you compare the Girl Emojis campaign to this standard, product-driven commercial, the difference in engagement is remarkable. On YouTube, the product video received 100,000 views and twenty comments while the Girl Emojis video had over eighteen million views and 9,000 comments.

Knorr: #LoveAtFirstTaste

Knorr released a short film, directed by Tatia Pelieva, called #LoveAtFirstTaste. Her first film, FIRST KISS, won her a Gold Lion at Cannes Lions and Clio award. With experience in creative filmmaking, Tatia was the perfect candidate to create a viral video for Knorr. The project documents a group of single people as they go on blind dates with each other — the only caveat being that they have to feed one another. While not directly focusing on the Knorr product, the authenticity of the group’s interactions clearly resonated with their audience, as the video has over sixty million views and 1,000 comments.

However, when Knorr put their TV commercial for Stock Pot Rich Beef Casserole on YouTube, it got about 260,000 views and eight comments. This is a perfect example of the difference between videos focused on the product visuals instead of the story, and the results are in the numbers.

JetBlue: FlyBabies

JetBlue’s FlyBabies campaign was directed by documentary filmmaker Joris Debeij. Nominated for the SXSW Grand Jury Award for his documentary short Perfectly Normal, Joris’ work ranges from commercial projects to documentaries making rounds in the festival circuit. And for FlyBabies, he created a documentary-style video. Rather than Jetblue’s usual commercials featuring smiling flight attendants and comfortable passengers, this video addressed a problem all frequent flyers can relate to: the frustration of a crying baby. Whenever a baby would cry on the flight, the passengers would receive a discount on their next trip. The video showcases the reactions of the mothers, babies, and fliers as the plane takes off. Bringing in over one million views and 600 comments, this video has performed incredibly well compared to previous JetBlue product commercials.

For example, you can see that one of their previous videos below, which focused entirely on their flight service and aesthetic, only received 6,000 views and five comments.

Hiring documentary directors or filmmakers like the ones above can turn any product into powerful, emotionally-driven stories that resonate with your audience.

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By Lena Drake, Storyhunter Writer