Every Picture Tells a Story

Strong brands have an identity and a story. Ad Agencies help link those stories to create compelling advertising campaigns that turn into consumer action. But what makes a consumer respond and choose to take an action after seeing an advertisement? Or rather feel an emotional connection and choose to participate in that brand’s story. It’s all about the Filter you use when creating film for an advertising campaign. I’m not talking about a fancy camera lens or visual graphics technique. Rather something more powerful that can make the difference between a successful advertising campaign and one that flops.

Why Brands Are Like People

Before I explain the filter concept, it’s important to understand why brands are like people and need storytelling. Consider this are you …

PC or Mac?

Bud Light or Stone IPA?

Honda or Ford?

Nintendo or PlayStation?

Tom’s or Nike?

I bet these brands draw a clear picture in your mind of different people and their stories. Why is that?

According to research done by Customer Thermometer, people feel most connected to brands when they feel like the brand

  • Cares about people like them
  • Is making a positive difference in the world
  • Understands them as a person

Put another way, brands are like people. Brands are either part of your tribe, your clique, your crew or not. And if they are not, the brand better bring something to the table. Something beyond just features. They have to bring a FEELING that enhances your story.

Connecting with your audience

Storytelling is the ideal method to bridge the gap between brands and people. Storytelling lets brands connect with people’s lives by communicating in an way that touches people emotionally. The brand becomes part of that person’s life –part of their story. But how do you present a story that connects to your audience?

Connecting with your audience starts with capturing emotion and an authentic voice.  

Essentially, your brand wants to be part of the clique. You need the strike the right emotion with your audience that will connect to your brand. How do you know what tools to use to design that emotional response?

Identifying The Right Tools To Tell Your Story

There are so many impressive technical tools and strategies to use in today’s film and advertising world:

  • 360 video
  • virtual reality
  • experiential marketing
  • Visual effects
  • Digital makeup
  • Etc etc etc…

This is where it is wise to STOP. Put down the gimmicks and start with the basics: WHO WHAT, WHERE, WHEN, HOW and, most importantly WHY?

  • WHO are you connecting with? WHO do they want to connect with?
  • WHAT is their story? WHAT is important to them? WHAT is our shared story?
  • WHERE are they in their lives?
  • WHEN do they feel understood?
  • HOW are they feeling?
  • WHY are we telling this story? WHY is it important to the tribe we want to reach?

The answers to these questions become your filter–the tool through which you pour every decision about the advertising campaign. If it doesn’t go through the filter, it’s not right for this project. If it does, then you’re on the right track!

We filter every decision through the answers to those questions. Some things you might ask yourself as you’re establishing a marketing strategy or an advertising campaign:

  • Does virtual reality help me achieve this vision, or would a traditional film work better?
  • What impact does experiential marketing have on the consumer and is that impact going spark the right emotion?
  • Would flashy visual effects capture our audience, or would a more raw, authentic approach be more impactful?

Put those questions through the filter, and see what comes out.

Brand Storytelling & Consumer Storytelling –  Shared Stories, Shared Experiences

Here are a few examples of advertising campaigns that I like because they have a clearly established filter. Meaning, the tools they use are the means by which the story is told not the end. In the end, they tell you the story of you, but with the brand as part of the clique.

A. Google Commercial — Parisian Love 2010 (in house)
Filter/Shared Story: That love story you have or want…

B. Mr. Clean: Cleaner of your Dreams 2017 (agency: Leo Burnett Toronto)
Filter/Shared story: That other person that does your dirty work…You gotta love him!

C. Pokemon 20th Anniversary Super Bowl commercial: I can do that (Agencies: Omlete, Leo Burnett Worldwide, Deutsch)
Filter/Shared Story: That epic hero’s tale in your imagination…

D. Old Spice–Terry Crews “Blown Mind” (Agency: Wieden and Kennedy)
Filter/Shared Story: Those stinky pits we all have…  let’s laugh about them!


Your brand is a person. It is part of your consumer’s life, part of their story. If you can tell a story that connects with them emotionally, showing them how you make their life better, you will be part of the clique. And once you are in, you really need to screw up to be thrown back out. Stories are about life, emotion, and people. Take a point of view and show your consumer that you deeply care about these things too.

Article by Nick Losq

As the Founder & Chief Creative Officer at StarBeast, Nick thrives on pushing the boundaries of digital technique to create visual stories that draw audiences in. He’s honored to have worked on campaigns for clients including Disney, ESPN, Vox Media, Blizzard, Overwatch League, Anheuser-Busch, Nike, Porsche, Acura, Honda, Guinness, HP and more.