Agency Insight, Insight June 9, 2021

Video Storytelling – Post-Pandemic

Liza Livingston, Account Supervisor


I was visiting my family in Atlanta Easter weekend, and we were all hanging out in the kitchen enjoying the morning together – something many families have just recently been able to do again. The daily Ad Age e-newsletter arrived in my inbox featuring Google’s newest ad – Get back to what you love.

I opened the article (probably should’ve been focusing more on my family than my phone) and began watching the video. Tears welled up in my eyes, goosebumps rose on my arms, I smiled, as a video without any audio told an amazing story in a single minute. I refreshed the video, this time asking my family to join me in watching it.

Each of them had the same reaction – tears, goosebumps, smiles. At that moment, I realized what a deep connection COVID had built with every single person around the globe. We have all been through this together, and are coming through it together. This video tells a story with which anyone who has lived through the last year-and-a-half can connect.

Coincidentally, during the following weeks, our team at inferno began working to produce a Mother’s Day video for one of our clients. In the same vein as the Google ad, we knew we needed a concept that didn’t just focus on looking back, but on how we are all moving forward, together. And doing so safely.

We called the ad Shortening the Distance. It shows a mother’s journey during COVID and the joy of being reunited with her children and grandchildren on Mother’s Day. This video, too, brought tears to my family’s eyes, as well as other coworkers who were seeing it for the first time.

After an exceedingly tough year, we must start thinking about video storytelling in a different light. Some helpful questions to ask yourself or your creative team when starting to concept a video project could be:

  • How can you connect with your viewers in a more authentic way? And I’m not just talking about creating an ad they like and maybe share. I’m talking about connecting them with your brand, so they remember you.
  • How can you deepen their viewing experience and create an emotional connection? Some think it’s enough to simply make the viewer laugh or cry, but it’s an advertiser’s job to do this in an emotionally compelling way so viewers associate your brand with that emotion. That’s what great advertising is all about.
  • How can you demonstrate empathy to viewers? Imagine yourself in their world, and allow them to see themselves in your story.

Figuring out the answers to these questions can help turn a good story into a great one. For example, in the Mother’s Day spot, we put ourselves in the shoes of the viewer. What had people been through last year? What are the ways people stayed connected with one another? What were people looking forward to the most? And how has your brand been a part of that journey?

Not only did each of these spots find answers to these questions, but also they encouraged safety in how we move forward in a post-pandemic world. Most importantly, what else do they do? They give us hope.

Our team will be launching a second post-COVID-inspired video this summer. So be on the lookout for how we connected our client’s brand with their audience through authentic, emotionally compelling, and empathetic video storytelling.

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