Everyone loves the romanticism of a journey. Perhaps the most relatable, emotional one of all is the journey of life. Cliche, but true.
In 2014, Richard Linklater made history by tapping into this journey in the most literal way ever attempted in cinema. His film Boyhood, which won a Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture, followed the life of a boy as he grew up—both in real life and in the screenplay. Liz Beardsworth in Empire Magazine wrote, “Linklater’s beautiful film is an extraordinary achievement—tender, funny, wise and wistful, full of warmth and humanity.”
Humanity: The best storytelling begs humanity, and the best form of humanity lies in the human journey.
We relate to and connect so fiercely with characters we watch grow. Why? Because everyone grows. As we watch characters’ life journeys unfold, we relate to them by remembering our own. Richard Linklater did this in just under three hours. As video content marketers, how do we do this in just under two minutes?
Two weeks ago, Extra Gum engaged in incredible brand storytelling with their release of “The Story of Sarah and Juan.” So incredible, in fact, that the video gained more than 74 million views in its first week.
Extra tells Sarah and Juan’s love story from when they meet to the moment Juan proposes years later. The video shows defining points throughout their relationship: the first time their eyes meet, their first kiss, memories at prom, the tribulations of time spent apart, and finally, their proposal. Extra takes one of life’s core emotions—love—and unwraps it in perfectly paced micro-moments.
Not to mention, the video uses a phenomenal Haley Reinhart cover of one of the most classic love songs of all time, Elvis’s “Can’t Help Falling in Love.” With the exception of the last five seconds, you’ll notice there’s no dialogue in this video. Music choice is incredibly important in video content marketing, especially when telling emotional stories that speak through actions rather than words.
Further, Extra takes advantage of the virality that adorably romantic marriage proposals have gained over the past couple of years. We can all admit to having watched one of these, cried our eyes out, and shared with someone we love. And we do the same for this video. Extra nails brand storytelling here on all levels.
And it’s not the first time Extra has nailed it. In fact, this video was a high-pressure follow-up to their 2013 campaign, “Origami.” Did I forget to mention this article should be read with a box of tissues nearby?
The triumphs and defeats faced in chasing a dream are also crucial aspects of the human journey. Turned into micro-moments, storytelling with these realities is even more powerful. Brands know this, and they’ve turned to one of the best environments to depict this: sports.
P&G’s “Thank You Mom” 2014 Sochi campaign is one that, as a former D1 athlete, reduces me to tears every single time I watch it. Why? Because at this stage in my life, I can relate to the emotions of those developing athletes. The beauty in what P&G does (and what Extra does in Origami as well) is that their story tells two human journeys that are consecutive yet separate: child and parent. I will still be touched by this campaign many years from now because I’ll be relating to it from a later stop along the way. When companies represent brand storytelling through journeys, especially ones that pick up where others leave off, they immediately broaden their audience to those at the beginning of the journey, those at the end of it, and everyone in between.
Video content marketing doesn’t always have to be so complex; sometimes we need not look any further than the journeys we’re taking ourselves. Video gives marketers both the ability and the challenge to tell impactful, longer narratives in just a few minutes. Compressing those journeys into micro-moments is an effective way to do it, and ultimately proves for emotionally packed content that will leave a lasting impression on audiences.
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