4 Components of a Powerful New Corporate Commercial
by Brian Troy and Bethany Ditnes - AfterGLO Films
Over the past few years we’ve seen a pronounced evolution in the style of corporate filmmaking. “New Corporate” is in essence a hybrid of independent cinema and documentary. It is people-centric with a strong focus on story.
New Corporate is still relatively new to the mainstream. As a result, the genre is wide ranging in terms of execution and final product. In spite of its newness, some patterns have started to emerge.
So, inspired by some of the most viral commercials the internet has ever seen (and a recent project of ours), we set out to explore those patterns. Here are our four key components of a powerful New Corporate commercial.
New Corporate has set the bar high when it comes to storytelling. Regardless of whether the story has been scripted, staged, or truthfully documented, it must be emotionally engaging enough to enable its audience to experience empathy throughout.
Below is an example of a minimalist approach to empathetic, documentary style storytelling. This two-minute mini doc by AfterGLO Films was produced for Comcast’s Internet Essentials program's A Day in the Life series. Internet Essentials is an outreach program that provides low-cost high-speed Internet to low-income residents across the US. The goal for this video was to showcase a truthful representation of the ways in which in-home Internet access enhances the film’s subject’s quality of life.
2. Shooting Style
Cinéma vérité, coupled with a little lens flare and slow motion, creates a look that’s outside what we have grown to expect from a traditional corporate film. New Corporate shooting styles allow the audience to enter the film rather than look in from afar. Engaging viewers in this intimate manner enhances the feeling of sincerity.
Here is an example from a series by Minute Maid titled, #doinggood. In this series, children are filmed discussing how well their single parents have done when it comes to raising them. Emotional moments are captured in a documentary style. The handheld camera work and natural light support the sincerity of the piece.
Traditional corporate films often feature talking heads and b-roll. Barring the addition of any graphics or special effects, if the film has been scripted the editing process is likely going to be a relatively straightforward one. New Corporate combines an immersive cinematic experience with a memorable message so subtle that it is barely detectable at first glance.
TrueMove H, a Thailand based company, produced a short film titled Giving. It showcases a refined editing technique that moves the audience seamlessly through the story.
Certain styles of music are often associated with a particular genre of filmmaking. Traditional corporate films are no different. On most music licensing sites there is a category titled “Corporate.” This music is meant to appeal to a broad audience. Traditionally, such songs have an electronic, sometimes sterile quality with predicable swelling tones that build throughout. They usually end with either a majestic crash or the tapering off of heartwarming pings.
New Corporate requires a song that feels like a score. The song needs to be a work of art in itself in order to intensify the film’s emotional level. Another short film from Thailand titled Thai Good Stories exemplifies this element. This song is so congruent with the emotional quality of the film that it seems as though it was written specifically for the piece.
It’s difficult to say why this style of filmmaking for corporations is becoming more popular. A combination of the following factors seems to have influenced this evolution.
The stylistic choices seen in mainstream documentary filmmaking over the past decade.
The affordability of high-end cameras. This enables independent filmmakers and boutique production companies to produce high end visuals and take on clients once reserved for large agencies.
The relocation of advertising from television to the Internet.
Social media as a marketing platform.
And lastly, perhaps the desire of audiences to once again feel connected to people rather than products and technology.
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