When Molton Brown approached Connected Pictures for ideas on how to promote a new fragrance made with coastal cypress and sea fennel, they knew they wanted an authenticity about expressing exploration, venturing into the unknown and travelling across vast distances.
In the film – called Into The Uncharted – the viewer canoes the rough and rugged Pembrokeshire coastline with explorer and author Alastair Humphreys.
Being authentic is essential to Molton Brown – something that chimes perfectly with Connected Pictures. For Into The Uncharted the perfumer had the bravery to focus solely on Alastair’s inspiring narrative, leaving his words about adventure and endurance to do the talking.
You don’t just want an explorer you want one to fit the bill in terms of look, purpose and values. The creative and editor at Molton Brown (Leanne Sweeney) who found Alistair after a long search. He was perfect. He has made a few films for different brands, most recently for Land Rover.
We shot the film in Pembrokeshire over two long, blustery, cold – but fun – days. It was wild, dramatic and inspiring but wholly British. It certainly fit with who Alastair is.
Authenticity is important to us and it’s certainly important to Molton Brown so we needed to know what went on in Alastair’s head, how he thought and why he did what he did. It was also important to do things that he felt were visually genuine for him. He’s not a model or an actor so we need to express who he was as well as Molton Brown’s vision.
It was important to find somewhere that had a dramatic coastline and a dramatic wave break that we could also safely get a canoe into. We shot the film in Pembrokeshire, West Wales over two long, blustery, cold – but fun – days. It was wild, dramatic and inspiring but wholly British. It certainly fit with who Alastair is.
The bravery of not mentioning a brand
Mentioning the brand (or not) is something we discuss a lot with clients. The braver the brand, the more they let a film speak for itself. But a brand has to know its audience and its customer, including when and how they will be watching, in order to know what will work.
Hosting the experience, telling a story and expressing values is becoming the norm more and more for brands.
Our starting point is that if you make a film that is unashamedly for the audience rather than the brand, then what will work for them needs to come first. Hosting the experience, telling a story and expressing values is becoming the norm more and more for brands (thankfully!). Brands associated with a loyal fan base or with a niche audience (like an audience that loves cars, watches, make up etc.) find it much easier to lose the brand/product name and still keep its audience.
Scripted narrative vs interview
The narrative was taken from an interview. In our experience it is by far the best way to really connect and engage with an interviewee and an audience. Alistair is a real person with real thoughts and emotion, not an actor or a voice-over artist. It’s a real annoyance of mine when people put a script into the mouth of someone and expect it to sound interesting or really connect with an audience. But again this is something that brands have trouble with. They want a scripted message that they can control, but that loses authenticity which loses the audience.
In terms of our process, we do preliminary interviews with our contributors to get to know them. We also talk with the brand about what messages they want to get across, always trying to focus on what the human story is, not what the brand is trying to sell. Then we overlap the two. We build a list of questions, but what is more important is connecting with our interviewee on a level that is human and to have a conversation, to share ideas. Not simply ask questions. If you get this right then something magical happens. If you trust the person you’re interviewing and they trust you, you can bring out wonderful things.