The Great Branding Takeaway From Wes Anderson’s H&M Holiday Commercial
If you’ve ever seen a movie directed by Wes Anderson, whose resume includes films like Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums, and The Grand Budapest Hotel, you know he has a distinct style. His films all explore similar themes and have a recognizable look to them—specifically his elaborate, symmetrical shot compositions.
Basically, you know a Wes Anderson movie when you see one. Even without knowing he directed a movie, after a only a few minutes of watching a Wes Anderson picture, his name will pop up in your brain like a turkey timer. His style is that unique and memorable.
Recently, Anderson brought his signature style to the world of marketing. He directed this “Come Together” holiday commercial for H&M. It’s no surprise that the commercial is completely Anderson-ian, bearing all the same traits of his feature films (it even has a similar setting to his movie The Darjeeling Limited).
It may not be a great ad, but it’s a good one. And it certainly stands out for its look and feel. Which is the real takeaway for brands from this commercial…
More brand videos need to have a signature voice and visual style
Most brands don’t approach video content (be it TV commercials or online videos) like directors. They approach it as marketers—with each video existing in a bubble. If you watch videos from even the biggest brands, each one is usually an island with little connection to the others (unless they happen to be part of a series). Both tonally and visually they tend to be disconnected. That’s a mistake.
There is great branding power to having a recognizable look and voice. And that applies to videos too. Brands need to give each video they produce a signature imprint. Like Wes Anderson films, you want people to be able to watch only a small portion of your video before recognizing it as the work of your brand. In essence, you want to brand your video content.
A great example of a brand that did this to fantastic effect is Dos Equis. For years, they ran an ad campaign around The Most Interesting Man in the World. Part of the reason this campaign was so successful was that it employed a signature style. The same style (old film footage, Spanish guitar music) every time. Not only was this style different from what everyone else was doing, it immediately triggered recognition in the minds of viewers.
Your brand should be the director/author of every video you create. That doesn’t mean your videos can’t be different, they just need a similar through line to make them recognizable. That can be using a similar shooting style, music, fonts, or themes. Take inspiration from filmmakers like Martin Scorsese, Edgar Wright, Stanley Kubrick, and Wes Anderson. All these directors have made many different films. And yet each one is clearly and instantly recognizable as the work of that filmmaker.