Intimate and up close: Personifying brands through point-of-view storytelling.

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Creativity has become more democratized. Smartphones enable us to shoot high-definition content inexpensively. Social media provides the platform to make these videos readily available to global audiences.

Today, anyone can be a director, capturing their stories in real-time. Thousands of hours of videos from the users point-of-view are uploaded to YouTube, Vine and Instagram each day. What makes these point-of-view videos so compelling is their raw unfiltered technique – they put us where the action is occurring, making us feel as if we were actually there.

Brand leadership is realizing audiences of savvy-creative consumers hunger for point-of-view stories. It’s easier to relate to this storytelling style because it feels personal and when done well it invites imitation and participation. One way brands are harnessing this trend in video is through the use of gritty close-ups, hand-held and tracking shots rigged from unique and typically inaccessible points-of-view. 

Three award-winning examples

Below are three award-winning examples of brands that have mastered this technique of telling brand stories from a human point-of-view.

Lurpak, a Danish butter brand has gained attention from their ‘Good Food Deserves Lurpak’ campaign, which celebrates the joy of cooking with quality ingredients.

Their recent spot: Weave Your Magic won a Cannes Silver Lion for its kinetic and intimate cinematography of cooking with butter.  Using a spike camera rig for moving high speed shots, a mixture of slow-motion and time lapse macro photography, the creators turned the preparation of ordinary everyday ingredients into a grand events.  From an egg yolk swirling in a vortex of egg white to a butter cube splashing into a mountain of flour these shots trigger our primordial delight of things that mix and explode.

Levis introduced its WasteLess jeans through a montage of vignettes shot hand-held style. In a sequence of seemingly disconnected scenes featuring plastic cups and bottles being discarded and destroyed, we watch in surprise as they’re deconstructed and reconstructed into a pair of jeans.

By framing the story through user-generated moments the spot gives viewers a sense that they are participants in the story and destiny of these jeans.

Another Cannes award winning spot this year was a spot that was created for the launch of Leica M-Monochrom Camera. It tells the story of a war photographer from the viewpoint of the lens. Shot in black and white, we see the unconventional views that could only be seen by the camera as if it were slung around a neck or held in a photographer’s hand.

Showing unscripted and un-posed scenes not captured by the photographer but seen by the camera lens, these POV shots help us imagine what its like to live in that world of black and white photography.

Staying relevant to your customers

There’s a lot brands can learn from these point-of-view spots, beyond the artistry that comes from placing the camera where the action occurs.  By embracing gritty hand-held camera shots, brands are staying relevant with customers who are used to documenting and sharing their lives across social media. Implicit in these intimate shots is the suggestion that customers can play a role in shaping a brands story too.

Imperfect shots that are slightly unfocussed, framed at odd angles feel more authentic because most people are used to taking those kinds of shots on their mobile devices.

When brands seamlessly combine these POV techniques in their messaging, they differentiate themselves from their competition.  Lurpak butter has dominated the cooking fats market in the UK this year thanks in no small part to the success of their campaign and POV spots featuring healthy foods cooked in a savory style.

Perhaps the biggest take away from this POV video trend is that brands are adding a level of personality and humanity by capturing honest genuine moments.

Read more articles from our Content Marketing issue - here

About the author

Cavan Huang designs in all manners and scale from printed page to web page, broadcast media to media walls. His work has been featured internationally in Contemporary Graphic Design, CMYK Magazine, AdAge Magazine, a PBS Documentary, the Time Warner Center, AIGA, TED, CANNES LIONS, the Webby Awards, and even at the White House.

Currently, he is an associate creative director at Interbrand in New York where he is helping to redefine the way we express brands across digital platforms. Cavan is also creative principal of his own design practice as well as a visiting professor for Rhode Island School of Design. He holds a BA in History & Urban Planning from McGill University and an MFA in Graphic Design from Rhode Island School of Design.

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