The Power of Branded Documentary

Beautiful Lengths

In 2012, Pantene Beautiful Lengths will donate a record 12,000 real hair wigs to women fighting cancer nationwide and as part of Pantene’s marketing program, they created a branded documentary to capture a compelling story and drive interest in the Beautiful Lengths program. Not only did this SXSW panel include a marketing rep from Pantene (P&G), but also the director of the documentary and a representative from P&G’s PR firm. It was so inspiring to hear their account of how the project came to be, and how personal it is to each of them now it’s over. LET’S GET MORE OF OUR CLIENT PARTNERS ON BOARD WITH CREATING BRANDED DOCUMENTARY – if done well and right, it’s a surefire way to increase engagement and drive interest in the brand. The mental model consumers use to make purchase decisions is changing; they want to feel good about the brands they choose, and that they’re taking part in making the world a better place. Here are a few tips from the panel, after having gone through the process themselves. For anyone considering branded documentary as part of their marketing program, listen up:

1)       Use real stories and real people – they are your best asset

2)      The documentary should be cinematic, and should NOT feel like a marketing video

3)      Engage viewers emotionally, whether it’s drawing a tear or getting a chuckle

4)      Consider your brand’s positioning before committing to a theme / topic

5)      Root your message in powerful insight (e.g. losing your hair is very scary for most cancer survivors)

6)      Before you begin, implement a content strategy for roll-out across an integrated campaign

7)      Maintain the integrity of the genre – high-quality film is almost always better than reality-TV style with a  handheld camera

8)      PICK YOUR BATTLES – branded documentary is a BIG leap of faith for most brands and clients

9)      Ask the question – who is being impacted most? Focus on them in your story, not the brand

10)     Set success metrics in advance – here are some examples:

  1. Did people cry when they saw it?
  2. How easy will it be to align with and secure sponsors and partners?
  3. Was there an increase in social media response / traffic/page views?
  4. Did the number of volunteers and participants in the program increase?
  5. Did the documentary pique the interest of influencers in the space?

Take a look at the short-form Beautiful Lengths documentary on link below – I DARE YOU NOT TO CRY!

Pantene’s Beautiful Lengths

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