How can a brand or a company cut through the noise of our modern media landscape and truly connect with a short-attention span public about the social and environmental issues it really cares about?
Documentary film might not seem the obvious solution, given that the medium demands an audience’s full attention for a good chunk of time. Increasingly though, marketers are turning to documentary storytelling to cut through all that social media noise and tap into a growing consumer demand for content that isn’t simply a throwaway video snack.
In the latest Sustainly Trend Briefing, we look at the ways brands are using documentary storytelling to highlight sustainability issues and CSR causes they support.
Some turn to documentaries to offer a rich depiction of the sustainability and social impact work they are doing around the world. Siemens took this approach with its Answers series of short documentaries that showed how the company’s engineering technology was helping communities in places such as Nepal and Morocco.
Others look to highlight the work of their suppliers. Italian coffee maker Illy commissioned an acclaimed filmmaker (in this case Lesley Chilcott, director of An Inconvenient Truth and Waiting for Superman) to make “A Small Section of the World,” the story of a female-run coffee collective in Costa Rica. AT&T, perhaps, has the most famous filmmaker collaboration: It teamed up with renowned director Werner Herzog to create an emotionally wrenching documentary, called From One Second to the Next, about the perils of texting while driving.
Along with these examples, we also consider the way documentaries have helped Intel, Levi Strauss, Honda, Morningstar Farms, Ericsson and Patagonia explain their own sustainability work and also promote social and environmental causes.
When it comes to sustainability storytelling, it would seem that, sometimes, longer is better.