Understanding the difference between a short film and a traditional commercial is a “must have” tool in the minds of today’s marketers.  Without a deeper understanding of the topic, marketers may miss significant “buzz building” opportunities for their brands.

 Short films are typically less than 45 minutes and are dramas.  They incorporate the age-old art of storytelling. According to the P.I. Reed School of Journalism, the film must have a hero who wants something and takes action but meets conflict, which leads to a climax and then finally a resolution.

 Once there is a common understanding of what a short film entails, it is important to recognize the potential results of a well-executed and integrated short film advertising strategy. Highly successful short films sometimes go viral and increase in popularity through the use of social media at a very rapid pace. 

A good example of this strategy is “Halftime in America” released by Chrysler during the 2012 Super Bowl. This film happens to be a personal favorite of mine. From the music to the artistic elegance of the black and white stills progressing into full color motion, this film inspired me the first time I viewed it.  

In this particular film which is narrated by Clint Eastwood, the drama unfolds with the people of Detroit and Chrysler as the heroes who want to prevail and bring back a thriving automobile manufacturing community.  The conflict is the downturn in the economy and the recent recession.  The resolution is that the heroes continue to fight. Chrysler and the people of Detroit are building cars, and they will win back the American Auto making industry. The actual advertising of Chrysler doesn’t become apparent until the very end of the film with a simple Chrysler logo and the “Imported from Detroit” label.

Just after airing of this film it went viral, and the original version has now been viewed 11,114,378 times on YouTube. Extensive media exposure after its release further reached the masses and accelerated interest. According to a recent article in the New York Times, Chrysler saw a 32 percent increase in domestic retail sales and revenue rose 23 percent in the second quarter of this year.

The best way to further understand this new age marketing technique is to experience some examples for yourself.  Check out the two video links below for further education on the topic.

What marketing short films have inspired you?