Brand documentaries: the original promise of brand content.

Autumn always takes us sailing back to Extremadura and its stunning Mediterranean forest. It’s where we shot, two years ago, Jamón: a Story of Essence, a brand documentary ordered by Joselito. Unlike many brand documentaries, Jamón: a Story of Essence has lived the high-life: it was recognized by the Malaga Film Festival and is broadcast on Prime Video. But why?

Because it’s not an ad. Mark my words: it is not an ad. It’s much better than that.

From transactional to meaningful

It’s a banality to state that the world’s first piece of brand content is the Michelin guide, first published almost a century ago. Beyond wanting to sell you tires, Michelin’s objective was to create a meaningful relationship with its consumers.

By suggesting a charming restaurant or an unknown chateau along the road, the consumer would make Michelin into more than tire provider: the brand became a travelling companion. It understood that its relationship with consumers couldn’t limit itself to the purchase or check-up of a tire, that’s a transactional relationship. The brand understood it needed to thrive and survive in people’s imagination.

Brands can be “deep”, as long as it’s genuine

Brand documentaries can be just as successful in creating meaningful relationships with customers. A documentary can be a sophisticated expression of a company’s philosophy, vision and humanity. It is an excellent platform on which finer points and messages can be delivered. It appeals to a broad audience but the real interest here is more qualitative than quantitative.

“The documentary doesn’t get as many views as an ad or short video, but viewer retention is formidable. People watch the whole thing; they spend 30 minutes with us. That’s amazing” – José Gomez, CEO of Cárnicas Joselito

Consumers may or may not share an ad they like with their friends and family. It’s a fleeting moment that lasts 2 minutes at best and people are hard-wired to be suspicious against anyone trying to sell them something. However, people will always share or talk about something they spent half an hour on. When done right, a brand documentary is not a moment, it’s a memory.

Un certain regard

We love the title to this Cannes Film Festival category because it sums things up well. To make a meaningful brand documentary, you need to look at things a certain way. When it came to Joselito, director Alessandro Pugno’s approach was to detach himself from the visible part of the company (Ham, pigs, eating) and try to explore the less visible (Time, family, nature). The documentary is not meant to explore the cold-cut process of making ham and sausages, but rather it seeks to show the passion, the motivation and the vision of those who do it.

This is why Jamón: a Story of Essence was recognized by the Málaga Film Festival in the “Cinema-Cocina” category. It was the only brand film to receive such a distinction. This is also why Prime Video chose the documentary as part of its streaming catalogue. Both institutions recognized that the video told a meaningful story. One that would create a long-lasting relationship with viewers and consumers – with people.

Jamón: a Story of Essence is available on Prime Video and YouTube.

The documentary was produced by Andréa Chabant Sánchez (ÍTACA), directed by Alessandro Pugno (ÍTACA) and coproduced by ELEPHANT.