How to Create Cinematic Brand Videos?

Cinematic Brand Videos

How to Create Cinematic Brand Videos?

How to Create Cinematic Brand Videos? 335 222 Shlomi Ron

“At the pure form, cinematic is approaching a project with the idea of thoughtfulness, with the resources, not just hey let’s point the camera on that thing, roll on it and move on. It’s setting up lights, building a scene, building a move, building a look – all these characteristics you see in a movie.

-Steve Pearson
Head of Visual Storytelling

In recent years, we’ve started seeing brands transitioning from product placement – where the brand is baked into an existing entertainment content so you know it’s a paid ad – into more subtle Branded Content where the brand is not front and center but thematically integrated into the storyline.

Metaphorically speaking, branded content (the brand is in the creative driving seat) vs. product placement (brand is in the passenger seat).

The end result of such cinematic brand videos feels less like an interruptive ad but more like a film experience you’d want to watch on Netflix.

This “real-stories-by-real people” approach often focuses on higher purpose themes helps build brand empathy and trust with audiences because they can easily see themselves mirrored in the stories.

And because film creators use a rich visual language with higher production value, the whole experience is much more memorable.

As you could expect, you’ll typically find these visual stories supporting brand awareness goals at the top of the funnel.

They could come in short or long-form format depending on the content strategy that drives platform destinations.

To help me further unpack this exciting topic, in the latest episode of the Visual Storytelling Today podcast, I had a great time chatting with Steve Pearson, Head of Visual Storytelling of GANNETT – USA TODAY NETWORK.

We talked about his journey in visual storytelling, what is cinematic brand video, USA TODAY’s GET Creative Studio, video examples, his creative process, challenges, actionable tips – and much more (see full topic list below).

Steve brings a unique perspective as he creates visual stories that both need to satisfy the client’s requirements but also need to comply with USA TODAY’s brand voice as these videos are distributed on its network of over 200 local publications nationwide.

Watch the full video recording of this interview:

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You can also listen to the audio podcast of this episode.
Subscribe to the Visual Storytelling Today podcast on iTunes, Google Podcasts, and all other podcast networks.

Topics we discussed:

Use the time stamp markers on the above video to easily navigate.

  • What is your backstory?
  • Gannett’s GET Creative studio
  • What is visual storytelling?
  • Do you plan story structures?
  • What is cinematic brand video?
  • Are there any cinematic types?
  • What is your process?
  • Can you talk about your team?
  • How do your work with local crews?
  • The client’s buy-in
  • Cinematic Video Examples
  • What are the top challenges?
  • How do you measure success?
  • What are the distribution channels?
  • Any pandemic impact?
  • What are your top 3 tips?
  • And much more!

Examples of cinematic videos Steve shared:

Duracell Optimum: Brandy Storm Saga

Nature’s Way: Holy Basil

Amway:Inspired Coaching | Herm Edwards

Shlomi Ron

Shlomi Ron is the founder and CEO of the Visual Storytelling Institute, a Miami-based think tank with a mission to bring the gospel of visual storytelling from the world of art to more human-centric and purpose-driven marketing. A digital marketing veteran with over 20 years of experience working both on the agency and brand sides for Fortune 100/500 brands such as Nokia, IBM, and American Express. He started VSI to combine his marketing expertise with his passion for visual stories stemming from his interests in classic Italian cinema and managing the estate of video art pioneer, Buky Schwartz. At VSI, he helps brands rise above the communication noise through visual storytelling consulting, training, and thought leadership. Select clients include Estée Lauder, Microsoft, and Cable & Wireless – to name a few. He currently teaches Brand Storytelling at the University of Miami’s Business School. Thought leader and speaker at key marketing conferences. He is also the host of the Visual Storytelling Today podcast, which ranks in the top 10 best business storytelling podcasts on the Web. His book: Total Acuity: Tales with Marketing Morals to Help You Create Richer Visual Brand Stories. Outside work, he is a nascent bread baker, The Moth fan, and longtime fedora wearer likely to jive with his classic Italian cinema interest.

All stories by: Shlomi Ron
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