Creating Long-Form Branded Content

It’s 2018. Video spots are no longer a far-reached concept and having “HD” content isn’t nearly enough to sell a product. 

Over the last few years, brands have been searching for a new way to market themselves to existing, and potential clients. As a result, long-form video has taken shape and found a way into buyers’ minds. 

Consumers are no longer interested in just being sold a product. The audience today expects not only information and education but value and entertainment, with the customer experience being driven across all aspects of marketing. 

There are extremes of course. BMW released a short-film in 2016 starring the likes of Clive Owen, Dakota Fanning, Jon Bernthal and Vera Farmiga, titled “The Escape”. 

The Escape


This was thirteen minute, action-packed, thrill ride with a budget made for Hollywood. And without a single mention whatsoever of BMW at all, what were the results? Over 7 million non-paid views across multiple platforms and millions of interactions and impressions from consumers. BMW was able to take a good story, with quality content, and turn it into an entertaining content machine that viewer’s love.

And then there are the brands that use emotion to reach their audience. In October of 2016, REI released a thirty-eight-minute video titled “Paul’s Boots”. It was about the powerful story of a man who dreamed of one day hiking the Appalachian Trail but passed away before he could. 

Paul’s Boots


REI partnered with The Dirtbag Diaries and reached out to 400 hikers, and asked them to carry Paul’s boots the entirety of the Appalachian Trail. REI was able to take inspiration from one of their customers, and create something unique and special with their story. And even reach over 1 million viewers in the process!

Of course, there are downsides to long-form content. Getting viewers to stay is always a challenge. The average attention span today only lasts for about one minute and thirty seconds. Not a whole lot of time to tell your story. That’s why it’s important to choose a good story, stick to it, and not detour to make it a commercial. Instead, aim to interject the brand into the story seamlessly. 

With video content being one of the best marketing tools it’s no wonder brands are taking advantage. Most all social platforms allow for longer form content to be posted directly to your page. Instagram has recently adopted Instagram TV, where brands have taken advantage of creating fresh, long-form, engaging content to keep their consumers attention.

Think your company might benefit from long format storytelling? Contact us for more information on how we can bring your brand to life through visual storytelling.