9 Best Documentary-Style Ads That Nailed It

Ads can be funny, dramatic, and suspenseful. Brands try their best to catch viewers’ attention in a limited period by creating short videos.

Sometimes, long-form commercials can be beneficial for marketers. Documentary-style ads give more room for brands to be creative and impactful.

Such ads provide a human touch to brands’ stories. It also educates audiences, generates brand awareness, and intrigues viewers.

In this post, we are going to review nine documentary-style ads that hit the mark.


The Most Dangerous Town on the Internet – Norton

Agency: Grey
Year: 2016

The documentary-style ad explores the world of hacking, and the effects of cybercrime. It features international hackers, scammers, and the notorious Romanian town of Râmnicu Vâlcea. Norton used this in-depth investigation as a plug-in.

To educate the audience on how their anti-virus can protect their important data from getting hacked, they designed a companion webpage for the video.



My Climb, My Story – Coors Light

Agency: 72andSunny
Year: 2016

The ad series is focused on bringing the struggles of people to the limelight. It highlights all the hurdles people overcome on their way to success.

This commercial is Coors Light’s shift from its fun and amusing presence. In this, they decided to include the indirect form of marketing by adding subtle branding in the series.



Read More: 8 Awesome Animated Documentaries to Get You Out of a Creative Rut


Power of Wind – Epuron

Agency: Nordpol Hamburg
Year: 2007

The ad follows a mysterious person by the name of Mr. W, who gets ignored and misunderstood by everyone in society.

After meeting a man who sees his potential and makes him an offer, we are made aware that the eccentric “person” is a metaphor for wind. energy.

Power of Wind won the Creativity Award in 2008 by Adage.



Design Disruptors – InVision

Agency: In-house
Year: 2015

The documentary-style ad features designers from top companies, such as Google, Netflix, who share insights on design disruption.

InVision created this documentary to establish itself as a thought leader in promoting design innovation.



Up There – Stella Artois

Agency: Mother
Year: 2010

The commercial interviews street artists who hand-paint murals for a living. It features a hand-painted Stella Artois ad on a brick wall in New York City.

The video sheds light on the dying art of hand-painted, photorealistic advertisements in major cities across the US.

The artists from Sky High Murals talk about what it’s like to work on these massive projects.



Also read: 9 Best Movies Shot on Smartphones


Worn Wear: A Film About the Stories We Wear– Patagonia

Creators: Lauren Malloy and Keith Malloy
Year: 2013

In the ad, different individuals talk about favorite pieces of Patagonia clothing and what it means to them.

Patagonia created this documentary ad series as for people to share their adventures while wearing their clothing. In addition to this, there is also space for people to trade and share tips for extending the life of Patagonia products.



Thank You, Hockey – NHL

Agency: The Vault NYC
Year: 2017

In the ad, different kids thank hockey for teaching them about determination, patience, and teamwork.

Also, they thank hockey for being a game that does not discriminate based on sex, race, and religion.



Are We Killing the Kiss? – Gillette

Agency: Ketchum
Year: 2013

The documentary-style ad delves into kissing and stubble correlation by speaking with researchers, skin specialists, consumers, and experts.

The tone of the ad is satirical, but Gillette conducted surveys to post with in-depth analysis about kiss and stubble issue through infographics.



Spent: Looking for Change – American Express

Agency: Participant Media
Year: 2014

The ad explores the lives of four American families who turn to unorthodox financial practices such as check-cashing services, payday loans, and pawn shops just to meet basic requirements.

The commercial was shot in an investigative and nonfiction style documentary. It also featured narration by a famous director/actor Tyler Perry.



Final thoughts

Documentary-style ads help brands communicate a powerful message to the community on a personal and deeper level.

These commercials feature real and intimate stories of individuals to which consumers can easily relate to. They also offer marketers an opportunity to engage and attract a wider audience.

And if you have an idea for an ad that you’d like to work on next, then feel free to give our video strategists a call and see how to breathe life into it!

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Posted by Adil Ashraf

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