We can be heroes.
At Shine, we believe in video content that respects human beings. We want to challenge the existing model of advertising that puts products before people.
Many view advertising as outdated, interruptive and creatively corrosive. The current feeding frenzy of internet real estate by ad technologies has ignored the needs of the very customers they attempt to serve. Meanwhile, people who consume content online are clear about what they want - great stories and no ads.
This does not mean that brands should not try to create influence with their customers.
Let's reconsider the approach.
Most brands are built from the passionate belief that something can be done better. That passion lives in the core values of the brand. The best way to reflect those values is from the point of view of the people most affected by it–the end user.
By telling the customer’s story, we see the brand woven into the context of the human journey. Through this, the viewer witnesses the underlying duality of all great stories - they simultaneously experience something unfamiliar and something profoundly personal. The unfamiliar allows them to experience wonder. The personal allows them to see themselves in the story.
Empathy allows us to share the protagonist’s perspective and become part of their journey. There is a magical moment in every great story where we recognize universal emotions in the characters on screen and, like a magnet, we become invested in their struggle. Whether it is loss, fear, yearning, trust, hope or love, we all own these common emotions and we create empathic connections when we see them in others. We enter the story and go along for the ride. When the hero on screen triumphs, the viewer experiences an epiphany because there is a resolution to their journey.
This is how brands build trust with viewers.
Through the customer’s story, viewers connect through empathy, they are taken on a journey, and their investment is rewarded in the end through resolution. This is how viewers become customers. One misconception is that stories need to be epic or the emotional struggles need to be profound in order to to captivate viewer’s attention.
What matters most is clarity. The emotional component of a character’s story can be subtle, as long as it is clear.
This goes for all story elements including plot, conflict and resolution. Their power lies in clarity and simplicity.
Done correctly, the simplest story of a man cleaning his garage or a woman traveling to a new city can be deeply moving.
When brands are courting a skeptical audience, they need to dial back the brand presence and let the viewers own the content.
Here is why: We receive a rush of creative satisfaction when we share videos or music with friends, almost if we had made the content ourselves. When our tastes are validated by friends, we gain a sense of ownership from the curation and discovery of that content. If the brand presence is too heavy, it robs viewers of the experience.
The brand must play a supporting role, let go of the hard sell and trust the influence of human connection.
Let's make films.
Shine employs the traditional tools of screenwriting to make the most powerful story possible. Plot, locations and character are all part of our process, as are motivation, desire and emotional complexity. Most importantly, we find where the heart lives, as this is the lever that opens the doorway to empathy, letting the audience enter the story.
Finding meaning requires sensitivity, listening and creativity.
It requires diving deep to translate emotions into metaphor.
It requires talent.
Together, we'll get there.