The benefits of film and video for brands: ‘We can make boilers look sexy’

Dagmar Mackett, global development director at DRPG talks to M&IT about new trends in film, video and motion as well as preparing for Brexit.

What technologies are improving?
Motion graphics is getting more sophisticated. We did a project recently for Worcester Bosch on a new boiler. Ten years ago, Bosch came to us and asked how can we make our boilers look sexy. But actually this particular item is nice looking – like an iPhone – quite a pretty thing. We used motion graphics to really bring it to life. We ran a campaign called Beautiful Beast. It looked like we’d filmed this boiler really close up but it was really done in motion graphics. It looked absolutely beautiful.

What’s happening in the world of film and motion?
We’ve seen the rediscovery and return of long-form. Over the last few years we’ve seen the drive towards shorter and shorter video clips as people were saying that’s the only thing that social media can take. Peers of mine in the industry have said ‘Video is dead’, and I thought that’s rubbish. It’s not. The opportunity is to give it real context with social media. You can run whole campaigns and part of that is a really meaningful film.

How about targeting the younger generation?
The myth is that generation Z has got no patience at all. I don’t think that’s true. I’ve got two generation Zs at home. They are incredibly clever at identifying what is relevant and interesting in a very short period of time. Communicators have clocked on to that – and the enormous success of Instagram TV. It’s a real opportunity to tell longer stories.

How do you convince your clients that long-form is the way forward?
There are very dedicated platforms available now. We are talking to a Danish outfit called Biites, a video channel hub. They call themselves the Netflix of corporate film. They are more about long-form, with branded content of around ten minutes in length. It’s through the stats and return on investment that we can convince clients to go that way. With these platforms, You also get cross-fertilisation and reach audiences that you didn’t know you had and that is something that clients forget about. You open up new markets.

Motion graphics is an impactful way of imparting information.

Motion graphics is an impactful way of imparting information.

Do you have any examples of long-form video for your clients?
We made a film for a client and it ended up being 11 minutes. The client said it needed to be 2-3 minutes but then you lose a lot content. We say to clients we will give you that shorter version to put up on your website and social media to attract the audience. Then what we want to do is drive traffic to long-form because at that point you really get brand engagement and you can measure it.

What are clients looking for in film and motion?
They are coming to us for advice rather than for asking for something really specific. They say to us: this is our challenge and objective, what can you do. They leave it to us and that’s allowed us to create brilliant campaigns.

What makes an event immersive?
It’s direct involvement with your audience – the stimulation of all your senses, especially the audio-visual ones. You need to really draw in your audience emotionally so they can come away feeling re-energised.

The people at Biite said to me that British communication is a lot braver than in other countries. This idea of brand braveness is really important to immersiveness. It’s being taken out of your comfort zone. Something that I already know doesn’t immerse me. Show me something new and unexpected.

What’s your approach with clients?
Listening is absolutely key. If a client feels you are not listening to them, and you’re not taking them seriously, they shut down. It’s a matter of trust. The way we are positioning ourselves is not as an events company but as creative communicators. We understand what our clients’ challenges are. Brand braveness doesn’t happen if the client doesn’t respect you.

How has Brexit affected you and your clients?
It has not affected us in terms of decreased number of projects. What we have seen is nervousness and the uncertainty has been messing with people’s heads. Clients have been hesitant to commit. It was really important for us to reassure our clients that what was happening with Brexit wouldn’t affect their projects.

Are you expanding into other territories?
We are a registered company in Germany now. That means as and when Brexit happens fully in the post-transition period, we can still trade with EU nations through our German base.

We are working on a three-year contract for Continental AG. Most people know them as a company that produces tyres for trucks and cars. They are actually an automotive solutions company and we are delivering for them a sub-brand called AD stands for autonomous driving. It’s a thought-leadership platform for the autonomous driving community and we’ve developed the website and all the content.

We have also opened offices in Ireland. Northern Ireland post-Brexit could become the UK’s gateway to the EU effectively. It was really important for us to have a base there as well, so we are covered on all fronts.