What’s On

Let’s move beyond the brand to ‘real’ stories for advtg

Advertising’s come a long way since the Marlboro man taught us the benefits of smoking and doctors were ‘prescribing’ Coca Cola to babies. We’re a savvy market these days – more global than ever – and most people have lost patience with the obvious sell. If you’re like me, sometimes you’ll find yourself not watching what you want to on YouTube, simply because you can’t stand the pre-rolls.

On those rare occasions where I don’t hit ‘skip’, and an ad catches my eye, it’s almost always real people telling me something they’re passionate about. Even if I don’t immediately reach for my wallet, sign up or subscribe, their sincere approach still reflects on the brand trying to get my attention.

Advertising has moved on from the brand as the authority. It’s the day of influencers and real people, and audiences already know who they want to listen to and whose opinion they can trust. This is great news to a producer who loves making sincere and real content.

Ultimately, today we’re that much more savvy and can see the brand coming from 20 paces away, but in my experience people don’t mind if content is branded – as long as it’s sincere, engaging or entertaining. I definitely think authenticity nowadays is at a premium. We’ve had enough of the gloss that comes with international branding, and it no longer impresses us the way it used to. But when you’re watching someone speak from the heart in a way that’s not obviously scripted – that’s always going to be captivating.

Some great examples of this would be content produced by Unilever for Comfort entitled ‘The Day I Visited My Son’. This documentary-style film shows two sons being visited by their mothers, one is in prison while the other is training to be an astronaut. Which son is which is never revealed, but it is a strong message about mother’s love. Another good example is Always, who demonstrated how society leads females, as they grow up, to think that being ‘a girl’ is in some way negative. These narratives with real people deeply engage through topics that are both relevant in society but also very personal – so each viewer will have their own experience of what they’re watching.

As well as our ambitions to create authentic campaigns for our clients including Singapore Airlines, Volvo, National Geographic and Jetstar; our latest endeavour was to create the theminutelist.com. It’s a new channel hosting one-minute films about about restaurants, bars and cafes in Singapore, from the mouths of the people who know best: the chefs, bartenders and baristas themselves. What better way to get a sense for the true ambience of a venue than by sitting down with the personality behind it all, and hearing about their inspirations and concepts – in an an unscripted and authentic way.

Essentially we’re taking video content into the domain previously dominated by copy. Video is undoubtedly becoming the driving force of impactful content and the more authentic the delivery, the more deeply a brand can engage with its consumer.

James Rotheram

James Rotheram is CEO & Founder of Hurrah! Productions.