Talking heads: less conversation, more action

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Talking heads are the staple of a lot of brand video and corporate film. They have their place, but haven’t you ever wanted to do something more interesting?

If you have, the good news is your audience probably wants something different too. Here are three great examples of brand film which use a little less conversation and a lot more action.

Playfinder re-brand launch video

This film relaunched FindMyPitch as Playfinder, an app which helps people organise sport with friends. Produced by video storytellers Bold Content, it was released in July 2019.

The film was inspired by This Girl Can and Nothing Beats a Londoner, two other energetic sport-based brand films. The video recieved over 500,000 views online, and was considered a success by Playfinder. Read the full story behind the production here.

Rbeats

Rbeats was produced by Pink Banana for pharmaceutical company RB. The video follows the whole production process, from R&D to using RB products in the home and workplace.

The soundtrack had to be sampled from more than 400 audio recordings, but the hard work appears to have paid off. The film won four Cannes Dolphin Awards in 2017, including best music!

Collective action

We’ve all seen talking heads videos about CSR on LinkedIn, but here’s a more creative approach. Collective Action encourages Unilever’s employees to help change the world by meeting the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The film was produced by Plastic Pictures, and won two corporate Cannes awards in 2017. It follows a young football player in Kenya overcoming adversity through teamwork.

These are all successful examples of brand film without talking heads. So, what do they all get right?

Dialogue and music

‘Playfinder’ features a few lines of friendly trash-talking, but beyond this the videos are entirely devoid of speech or dialogue.

Instead of talking heads, the videos rely upon fast-paced music, sometimes integrated with location audio. In the case of Playfinder, percussive beats coincide with on-set audio such as tying shoelaces or zipping a racket case.

‘Rbeats’ takes this integration one step further, by including workplace-recorded audio in the soundtrack itself. Indeed, the ‘Rbeats’ track had to be sampled from more than 400 audio recordings, giving the music an engaging range of different timbres.

The instrumentation of ‘Collective Action’ also mimics the setting. The instrumentation is minimalist, consisting of clicking, clapping whistles and some percussion. This gives the soundtrack a makeshift impression, much like the dirt pitch and the shanty housing which surrounds the pitch.

Rhythm and length

Each film is relatively short, between one and two minutes. They are all powered by a fast rhythm and a multitude of quick cuts. They all follow a narrative as edits trigger changes in the setting, such as Rbeats following products down the production process.

Changes in the rhythm of the videos further help to maintain the audience’s interest. For example, ‘Playfinder’ effectively uses dialogue as a break to the fast-paced track which runs throughout the rest of the video. This underlines the rhythm of casual sport; moments of competition are broken by moments of friendliness and relaxation.

Aims and audience

Whilst the focus of Playfinder and Rbeats videos is the products of the companies themselves, Unilever’s film elaborates a metaphor about teamwork achieving a common goal.

This difference is undeniably related to the different aims and audiences of the videos. Playfinder and Rbeats aim to promote their products either to an internal or external audience. On the other hand, Unilever’s primary goal is to motivate its employees to join a LinkedIn working group on the SDGs.

The choice of music also reflects these differences. ‘Rbeats’ begins with a bored office worker improvising a beat from household products, which becomes the basis of the soundtrack which leads the video.

So, RB demonstrates the importance of the different workforces in its supply chain, as the sounds of mundane tasks are combined into something creative and engaging.

On the other hand, the minimal instrumentation featured by the ‘Collective Action’ soundtrack allows the video to focus on the narrative itself, and the overarching metaphor.

So you don’t have to have talking heads to make brand films that land well with the audience. Less conversation, more action will work better if they authentically connect back to your business values.


Three takeaways on talking heads

Show don’t tell. Video with minimal dialogue can work well for brand film

Find creative ways to integrate your audio and video – don’t just put a piece of music in the background

Fast cuts and changes in the rhythm can effectively maintain your viewers’ interest