Here’s a case-by-case look at some brands that did long-form video content right.

As audiences’ attention spans continue to shrink, brands daring enough to buck the trend have found surprising results by increasing the length and scope of their biggest marketing efforts. While some drastic examples are right before our eyes — like The Lego Movie, for instance — other brands have begun to target audiences directly by creating entertaining, informative, and engaging long-form content.

Let’s look at some of the best cases of long-form video content done right by some of the biggest brands in the world.

1. REI — Paul’s Boots

In one of the most powerful examples of engaging and emotional long-form content, REI (the outdoor apparel and equipment company) has made several spectacular grassroots videos and campaigns. One of the most notable is their “Paul’s Boots” video, which you can watch above. This branded documentary mixes heart and adventure in a way that is brand authentic, but also meaningful to audiences. You can read more about the whole project here.

2. Marriott — Two Bellmen

Marriott is not known for being a flashy brand in the same manner as some of the others on this list (we’re looking at you BMW and Estrella Damm). However, Marriott’s “Two Bellmen” series is a three-parter worthy of any Hollywood box office or streaming service. The action-packed series is a fun, branded romp that activates viewers and makes a tongue-in-cheek use of brand familiarity. With over 9 million views on “Two Bellmen Three” above, the plan definitely seems to be working.

3. BMW — The Escape

With perhaps one of the biggest stars in branded long-form content recently, BMW’s Clive Owen-helmed series puts the James Bond-esque star right into an exotic car chase, without all that wasted exposition and build-up you’d typically see in a 90-minute feature. Product placement in similar Hollywood films has long been part of BMW’s brand marketing plans, but as long-form branded content like “The Escape” continues to make more sense on social platforms, it’s one of the best examples of how branded content can skip the middleman and just deliver the branded goods directly.

4. Qualcomm — Lifeline

With a video directed by Armando Bo and starring Olivia Munn, Leehom Wang, and Joan Chen, Qualcomm — a brand best known for creating semiconductor and telecommunications equipment — offers a gritty, stylized, sci-fi look into the modern world of technology. This is a bold play for a tech brand to embrace, but the 30-minute feature makes great use of smartphone and other technologies while highlighting some great work by the Argentine writer and director.

Qualcomm also does a nice job of supplying further branded entertainment with some great behind-the-scenes featurettes, which you can watch here.

5. Estrella Damm — La Vida Nuestra (Our Life)

Most notable for his iconic role in Game of Thrones, actor Peter Dinklage is having a breakout year in 2018, appearing in Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War as well starring in I Think We’re Alone Now. However, the in-demand actor is not going to pass up a good script when he sees one, so he also found time to cameo in “La Vida Nuestra (Our Life),” which comes from the Spanish beer brand Estrella Damm. One of the shorter iterations of long-form content on this list at just over 16-minutes, the “short” is still a powerful cinematic example of region-specific, targeted content that is both artistic and commercial.

6. Chevrolet — I Throw Like a Girl

In one of the most powerful stories of 2014, then 13-year old Mo’Ne Davis captured the national spotlight for her breakout performance pitching in the Little League World Series as the only girl in the tournament. A national sensation at the time, Chevrolet was quick to find a way to create a powerful documentary on Davis by enlisting the great Spike Lee to help tell her story. Chevrolet’s branded documentary “I Throw Like a Girl” on Davis brings a national icon to life by simply letting her story develop and inspire.

7. IBM — Good Fellows

IBM, a mega-conglomerate known for all types of technology and industry, has been an early adopter of long-form content. Whether it’s online content, white-papers, or other interactive forms, IBM has found ways to engage with audiences to capture their attention and establish brand loyalty.

However, it’s IBM’s YouTube channel that might be one of the best examples of how to create branded content that truly showcases the company’s technology and development. Their videos, which can be short to medium length (but still “long-form”) offer interesting stories and insights into their work and highlight some of the best minds in science and technology.

Cover image via Piotr Piatrouski.

For more video marketing insights and branding advice, check out some of these articles.