August 5, 2022

What Exactly is a Brand Film? [Plus, Our Top 8 Brand Films of All Time]

Follow along as we spell out what brand films are, once and for all, and provide eight killer examples of branded content done right.

Title screen to a brand film with Hawaii mountain behind


What is a Brand Film?

Brand films are long-form videos created to soft-sell the lifestyle of a brand and used as a form of digital marketing.

Usually, a brand film tells a story, connecting the audience to the brand’s core message. 

While used as a marketing tool, branded films are vastly different from video advertising. The main differentiator is that brand films aren’t made to directly pitch you a product in the hopes that you’ll purchase it.

Instead, brand films use their high-production value and creative, relatable storytelling to appeal to their audience in an authentic yet subtle way. 

Brand films can be either fiction or documentary, but they always are entertainment-focused and, most importantly, story-driven. 

Because they usually clock in between five minutes and half an hour, you have limited time to compel your audience to align with your mission, trust your purpose, and get them on board with your product or service. 

It’s a relatively hefty order – that’s why it’s critical to have professionals help guide your brand film’s production.


Why Create a Brand Film?

The way customers interact with brands has been and continues to change.  Commercials no longer cut it, and a brand film is not a commercial. 

As attention spans shrink, so does the time you have to hook your target audience.

This means you need stellar cinematography, well-placed graphics, memorable music, a compelling script, and relatable characters. Simply put, the production value of your brand film must be high to hold your audience’s attention.

Brand films are purposefully designed to communicate directly to their audience as if the piece were made specifically for them. 

When done correctly, your brand film will draw the viewer in and helps them build a personal connection to your brand, product, or service. 

Ultimately, telling a compelling story, the audience cares about and can relate to will hold their attention.

Brand films also utilize storytelling techniques that evoke emotion from the target audience.  If your viewers trust that messaging, they will more likely establish a connection to your brand, making them equally more likely to purchase.


What Should be Included in Brand Films?    

Since brand films don’t just aim to pitch a product or service and call it a day, multiple components are necessary to include if you want to educate, entertain, and inspire your audience.


So, when you’re crafting your brand film, what must you consider?

  • Your Brand’s Mission – A brand film’s driving force is your company’s mission. Your mission should capture who it is you help or serve and how you can help them, and utilize the emotion behind that to set the stage for your piece.


  • Values – For your brand film to be compelling, you need to focus on your company’s values, and you need to do so in such a way that demonstrates to your target audience that you have shared values.


  • Storytelling – There’s always a story behind why people do what they do – and the same goes for your brand. Likely, you can think of a story or anecdote about your business that wraps up your mission and values.


Your next step is deciding how to bring that pivotal moment in your brand’s story to the screen. Is it an interview? Voice-over? Re-enactment? Having professional video production help at this point can make or break your brand film.


  • Keep it Simple and Be Yourself – Maintain focus on the key points you want your target audience to walk away with in their minds. Use the tone of your film to convey your brand’s personality. Is your brand playful or professional, adventurous, or down-to-earth? Use your brand film to show your current and future clients who you are.


Examples of Brand Films that Deliver

Now that we understand what a brand film is, why it is produced, and what it should include for effectiveness, we’ll give you our top 8 examples of brand film done right. 

8.     UNICEF – “If You Have”

“If You Have” is an inspirational documentary that celebrates 75 years of UNICEF’s lifesaving work around the world, as told through the eyes of the people there.

This brand film mixes rare historical footage with in-the-moment filmmaking. Doing so allows the audience to draw parallels between past and current events.  

At the same time, it urges the audience to rally UNICEF’s primary mission – supporting the world’s most vulnerable children and meaningfully impacting their lives. 


7.    Zendesk – “Golden Age Karate”

Zendesk’s’ “Golden Age Karate” film follows a high school student who decides to help a group of elderly people during a time of vulnerability.

How so, you ask? Well, by teaching them karate, obviously!

Creative editing and additional graphics give this documentary-style brand film a cinematic feel and up the production quality of the piece, which helps the storyline draw the audience in and keep them engaged.


6.  Nike – “Moving Mountains”

“Moving Mountains” celebrates the intersection of advertising and entertainment. 

Shot as an episodic series for Nike Journal, “Moving Mountains” explores stories of heroic yet average, everyday athletes worldwide. 

Focusing on pursuing purpose and personal truths, these stories about athletes get audiences on board with their mission and emotionally invested in the outcome.

In turn, Nike’s brand remains firmly in viewers’ minds as they feel motivated to get out and pursue their best selves – in Nike shoes, of course.


5. Jägermeister – “Lesbian Bar Project”

Jägermeister’s “Lesbian Bar Project” is part of the brand’s more extensive #savethenight program, which aims to help bring awareness to nightlife workers affected by the pandemic.

“Lesbian Bar Project” pulls the audience in by telling the story of the lesbian bar scene and how it went from being the central tenet of a thriving, crucial, and much-needed social scene – to being almost wholly non-existent – over the past 40 years.

The feelings of the need for connection and friendship run deep through this film, hooking the audience in and evoking emotions that get the viewer on board with the brand’s mission.


4.  Scenic Road – “Waterman”

This brand film, produced by Scenic Road, follows Brian Keaulana as he honors his heritage and the traditions of his ancestors to become a true Hawaiian Waterman. 

What is truly unique about this brand film is how Hawaiian culture is a main player throughout, as the ethos of the society is woven and infused throughout the piece. 

The end of the “Waterman” brand film culminates with excellent editing of the content, evoking feelings of anticipation and excitement of the contest and helping the audience to connect with Brian, himself, and the community he so deeply cares about.


3.  Johnny Walker – “The Ones Who Keep Walking”

This brand film centers on boundary-pushers who take bold steps and refuse to stand still. The “Ones Who Keep Walking” are working to shape Africa on new terms. 

Filled with defiantly optimistic voices across Africa, this film embodies the ‘Keep Walking” philosophy of having a powerful spirit and rebellious confidence.

As a follow-up release to their brand film, “The Man Who Walked Around the World,” Johnny Walker continues to seek out what “Keep Walking” means for creatives and change-makers today, striking a chord with many as they seek to better their own lives.


2.   Shopify – “UNITE: Mobilizing Entrepreneurship”

This Shopify brand film follows three people from very different backgrounds as they tell their stories of serendipitously connecting with each other, despite the distance, to fulfill their goals of mobilizing entrepreneurship.

This brand film exemplifies “helping others to help yourself,” a sentiment most, if not all, people can get behind. 

Shopify plants a seed in the viewers’ minds of getting ahead by walking your own path – likely through setting up a Shopify account.


1.     Scenic Road – “Levi”

Yes, we realize we have listed ourselves twice, but a good brand film is a good brand film, despite the producer, and these help us to drive home the point of the importance of a well-done brand film. 

Like Karate Kid Part 6 from Zendesk, this film incorporates graphics, some overt and some subtle, to hold the viewer’s interest. 

Though many witnessed the horrific accident that led to this brand film, Levi’s personal story had never been heard in the detail and unique perspective this brand film provides. 

This first-person account is moving and impactful, keeping the audience hanging on to every word.


Brand Film – The Missing Component in Your Brand Strategy

Ideally, people would instantaneously connect with your product, service, or brand and have the urge to reach out and learn more about you. 

Brand films make this instant connection possible. When Scenic Road produces a brand film, we are always aiming to:


Communicate Your Brand Values

Consumers who align with your brand values are more likely to purchase. 

Sharing your brand values allows your audience to connect and understand why you do what you do. 


Tell Your Story in an Enthralling Manner

By crafting a compelling narrative about your company that is truthful and transparent, your audience is likely to be more engaged and emotionally connected to your story. 

Storytelling is a frequently used methodology in brand film since it opens you up and shows the consumer a behind-the-scenes glimpse at your world. 


Build Trust with Consumers

When a production company shoots a brand film, it should always be looking to display the company’s unique characteristics that its target audience can relate to. 

Scenic Road aims to deliver brand film that evokes the right emotions to help your viewers connect with your brand.

The more connections viewers build, the more loyal to your brand they become.


Leave Your Target Audience Wanting More

Brand films should leave your target audience intrigued. When audiences are intrigued, they’re more likely to research a product or brand further.

Scenic Road aims to balance offering the right amount of information about your brand to pique the audience’s interest and keep them coming back for more.


A solid brand film will help you communicate with (and even better, have a conversation with) your target audience, helping them better understand your brand, product, service, values, and story.

This all comes back to building trust and connection between your potential clients and your brand. 

By delivering your story with authenticity through the lens of a professional team of producers, Scenic Road can draw your target audience into your world.