Brand films are part of the content strategy of many organizations. How are they made?

Brand films and brand documentaries are types of content marketing assets’ organizations want to produce when their goal is to create a high-impact, high-engagement (time spent with the brand in this case) content that will act as a Hero piece in their content marketing library.

Hero content is produced to grab the attention of the brands target audience through a more extensive than usual deployment and distribution plan. It also is the perfect type of content to be the source of a large number of smaller assets that are derived from the main piece (what we call the 10×1 method here at Toast) that can even be deployed through time in the brand’s ecosystem. Emotion, storytelling and human-centric themes are very often at the core of brand films’ storyline.

How does a brand film project get started?

There are multiple scenarios. Here are three of them.

When already working with a branded content agency, some organizations will provide the creative team with a brief, with objectives that they wish to attain (more reach, build new audience segments, position the brand’s values and actions, etc.). This will result in a very custom-made film, but sometimes that might not go as deep into the narrative as what the other two scenarios.

In other cases, a film or documentary is already being shot or has been completed and producers are looking for additional distribution through a branded content partner and they will reach out to brands with the opportunity.

In our third example, producers and directors will reach out to brands with a story before starting production, allowing the brand to collaborate in the script, integrating their values in the overarching story. This is what we’ve done for our most successful branded films here at Toast.

In all three cases, brands will rarely be very present in the final film and product integration (if any) will usually be subtle and appropriate. This is what makes a brand film so impactful: it is not an ad for the brand. It is a vehicle so the brand can create a connection with its audience on an emotional level.

In a recent example, Disney+’s Black Beauty director Ashley Avis reached out to the Blundstone Boot brand when envisioning a documentary on mustang horses in western USA. This is a great example of our third way of producing a brand film: have a storyline concept first, then reach out to brands that would be a great values fit.

The upcoming feature documentary will have Blundstone as a title presenter brand and although some protagonists will wear Blundstone boots, the brand’s presence in the content does not go further.

Ashley Avis recently gave an interview to the team at, explaining the process and how the brand and the content were a perfect match.

I invite you watch the interview and ask yourself: what kind of brand film could my brand be part of? How would it be distributed? If you have answers or if this spurs additional questions, feel free to reach out to us!