Poetry in motion

By November 1, 2016best charity video

Waitrose have done it, the AA and Center Parcs too, even Mcdonald’s…and now it’s Nationwide’s turn. Why are more and more brands using poetry telling to sell their products?


This week we have been looking at the use of real people reciting poetry in videos and we think these two films are great examples of the power of verse to move an audience.

Creative Corporate Video

Nationwide’s latest series of ads are a great departure from their previous actor-led, rather schmalzy campaigns, and we think, all the better for it.

Directed by Jon E Price for agency VCCP, their first ad features published poet Hollie McNish reading a poem about her six-year old daughter, all in one continuous take. It focuses on her experience of being a mum, and aims to show how Nationwide understands the decisions parents take about their children.

Traditionally, a brand is always at the forefront of an ad, but in these stripped back ads, the brand is carefully concealed for much of it, giving a raw authenticity to the familiarly contrived face of financial services advertising.

Sometimes, advertising is at its most effective when the hand of the client and agency can be least detected, and Hollie’s delivery and the way it is shot in one uninterrupted take, certainly adds to this feeling of honesty and legitimacy.

But no matter how carefully veiled the advertising element of the Nationwide Voices series of ads is, there is no getting away from the fact that they are nonetheless brand driven.


This next film – which also uses poet Hollie McNish and also relies on verse to tell the story – is all the more powerful because there is no specific brand attached to the film, and therein lies its strength.

Directed by Jake Dypka the film touches on the over exposure of breasts in the media versus the outraged reaction women face, if they openly breastfeed. ‘Why is titillation accepted and sustenance rejected?’, it asks.

Hollie goes from the armchair respectability of breastfeeding her daughter to being forced underground, into the filthiest of public toilets, to make her point, that although the media is awash with imagery of breasts, the mere hint of a breastfeeding mum can arouse a fearful reaction from an uptight general public, leaving mums feeling stigmatized and alone.

We love the rawness of the imagery in this film. No wonder it has been shared more than a million times and has led to Unicef inviting Hollie to take part in a conference on infant feeding and mortality.

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Jeremy Jeffs is a documentary film maker with 15 years experience of directing films for BBC, Channel 4, National Geographic and PBS. More about Jeremy

Magneto Films Logo 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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