No really, we were here first.
Facebook circa 2009, when we started our company
It’s hard to imagine, but there was a time when the only sanctioned way for a business to reach an audience was with precisely-timed TV spots. Facebook didn’t introduce in-line video until 2007, and even then brand videos were far from ubiquitous. These traditional commercials migrated easily to YouTube pre-roll, but longer-form, unscripted videos were far from a safe bet.
Fresh off a pro-bono assignment to demonstrate how NGOs were using corporate donations, we knocked on a few doors with our notion that a “Facebook video” could be a fresh face in the market. Procter & Gamble was willing to test the theory, hiring us to make a short documentary about Downy’s Touch of Comfort program. With a now-unthinkable run time of seven minutes, the video was a hit: their Facebook community grew, and so did sales. Realizing the material we’d captured in a single shoot day could be re-cut and repurposed indefinitely, Downy’s brand manager commissioned excerpts, outtakes, and most importantly, a 30sec TV edit.
Delivering a broadcast spot was a big win for us and for DeVries (the PR agency who helped originally sell P&G on the project), but Downy’s ad agency was aghast: a simple, inexpensive repurposing of the documentary’s footage - made by a start-up working out of a garage - supplanted their scripted, actor-based six-figure commercial. P&G Chief Marketing Officer Mark Pritchard presented the case study at the 2010 Cannes Lions. Once again, some folks were aghast, but most saw the future as Pritchard affirmed our fundamental value proposition: authentic, believable storytelling is the most powerful way to build brand affinity and loyalty.