The importance of bacon and storytelling.. ..

By September 16, 2014Best Charity Videos

3 tips that TV Ads can teach charity film makers

Great storytelling examples

I really like these adverts from the Co-op and Leo Burnett – they’re simple and heart warming films that use storytelling to great effect, adding character and humanity to humdrum everyday things like bacon…. or sliced bread.

I think that they can teach charity film makers a thing or two about storytelling – I’ve certainly watched them again and again….

Story telling &  Importance of Bacon


Both these ads take a sophisticated approach to storytelling and they use deceptively simple visuals to tell a story alongside the narration. They’re also fun and slightly mischievous – they play with the idea that bread or bacon is vital and they’re gently tongue in cheek.

They actually use 2 forms of storytelling – one visual and the other verbal – that do subtly different jobs. Each tells a different story – the visuals tell the story of the bacon being fried and made into a sandwich or the toast being made and taken up and left beside the bed. The voice over tells us why this little journey is important – the sandwich lures the teenager out of bed to be with his Dad – the toast is a humble apology for harsh words spoken.

Taken together they’re powerful little dramas that take us on a journey. There’s a nice article about them here

Here are 3 that we can learn about storytelling from these lovely ads….

1. Beginning, middle and end. It’s what we were taught at school but sometimes, in amongst the planning, budgeting and messaging this simple truth gets lost. At the heart of every good story is a journey and the more personal it is, the more powerful it is. Tell someone a story and you’ve got a drama.

These ads draw you in with a tease – why is the bacon so important? Then they let you know that it’s got a job to do – lure the teenager out of bed, make up for some thoughtless words… And finally they pay it off with a warm ending – the son comes down to see his dad, the upset partner smiles…

2. Show don’t tell or …  don’t ignore the visuals. Great films are about more than talking heads, so when you’re planning your film, think about the pictures that could help illustrate it. As these ads show, they needn’t be glamorous or complicated but it’s really worth allowing time and space to shoot simple sequences.

3. Keep it simple. Focus on one key message – in this case bread/bacon is at the heart of family life and Co-op provides it. Don’t get sidetracked into trying to cover everything your organisation does – if it’s a fundraising film, concentrate on showing how you help people or how the money will be used, don’t get caught up in telling the history of your organisation or interviewing everyone on the board of trustees….


If you’re thinking of making a charity video then why not give Gaby, our Senior Producer, a ring? She’ll be able to give you lots of help and advice – she’s on 020 7274 2986 or you can email her.