Brand Films – 3 charity using surprising stories

By September 25, 2015Best Charity Videos

Brand films are an essential way for charities to communicate their identity in a memorable fashion. These videos show how using real people’s stories gives an emotional connection and real authenticity.

Breast Cancer Now weaves women’s voices to convey a clear message, Cancer Research UK pulls off the trick of allowing viewers to draw their own connections and McCain uses a key documentary technique to really put us in the midst of family life.

1. THE LAST ONE: Breast Cancer Now

A clear idea coupled with a controlled message gives this film quiet power.

This brand film from Breast Cancer Now uses the voices of real people and captures fragments of their stories to push home the idea that there may one day be a ‘last one’ with breast cancer. What’s impressive about this film is the clarity and simplicity of the message: there’s no detail about research, or impact or anything else to get in the way of the message. Striking visuals of women in different stages of their journeys – with their children, having a scan, being told bad news – are coupled with a script that uses just their voices or a clip of them speaking to camera.  The film is beautifully paced, with moments where the viewer can just absorb the impact of the words and pictures before the story moves on. Wonderful and very moving.

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2. MOMENTS: Cancer Research

Clean visual storytelling combined with sharply edited voices allows this film to pull off the hardest film making trick of all….

This brand film from Cancer Research UK isn’t new – it’s from 2013 – but it’s never left me. Which is exactly what a great charity brand film should do. It’s made from the voices of people talking about the moment they realised they were cancer free, played over visuals that beautifully evoke the emotion or sense of what’s being spoken about. What’s really clever – and the hardest trick of all – is that the film allows the viewer to make their own connection with the true message of the film – that cancer can be beaten. Superb and I wish we’d made it.


Not a charity film and you may even say, it’s an ad not a brand film, but this commercial from McCain uses real people wonderfully and makes use of a key technique that’s often missing from charity films.

Made up from lots of real families’ dinner times this brand film from McCain shows us that meals are where ‘the good stuff happens’. Pacey editing is driven by the music track and little moments are captured from each family. The film relies for its engagement and humour on the clever us of natural sound or actuality: the unscripted ‘documentary’  moments of chat or laughter between people. It’s there when the Dad calls the kids for supper or a child is caught stealing chips. It makes us feel we’re part of a real event and lends an authenticity that can be lacking with scripted comments or even interviews. Great fun and easily achievable on charity budgets – have a look at the 30 second cuts of specific questions – like who’s the naughtiest at the table!

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london video production companyJeremy Jeffs is a documentary film maker with 15 years experience of directing films for BBC, Channel 4, National Geographic and PBS. He’s recently finished work on a history of China, with broadcaster Michael Wood and his recent feature documentary, Bette Bourne, was shown at the London Film Festival, Sheffield International Documentary Festival and the V&A. More about Jeremy

london video producersMagneto Films is an award winning production company that specialises in working with the charity sector, not-for-profits and the public sector. We specialise in telling real stories, working with casestudies and real people to make films that move people to action. More about Magneto Films

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