Why brands must learn from the film and gaming universe

category - entertainment
category - gaming
sector - media & technology
sector - youth
type - opinion
Opinion
Brands must offer consumers the escapism they crave as routine fatigue sets in and new lockdowns loom across the globe, writes David Sheldon-Hicks of Territory Studio

In 2020, many brands chose to tone down typically big brand-building campaigns for fear of looking out-of-touch to consumers. Christmas – normally an 'all bells and whistles' period in the advertising world – was a notably more restrained affair, as brands sought to mirror consumers’ circumstances instead of offering them a window into an alternate reality.

This can’t continue in 2021, however. With routine fatigue well and truly setting in, and new lockdowns looming across the globe, brands must offer consumers the escapism they crave.

Confined to four walls, the public have largely turned to their screens to find an escape from the everyday. The worlds of film and gaming have done much of the heavy lifting in this respect. At the height of the pandemic in April 2020, Ofcom reported that Britons were spending 40% of their waking hours watching TV, with subscriptions to Netflix, Amazon and Disney+ forecast to hit 32.4 million by the end of last year. The report also found an increase in the time spent with gaming consoles attached to TVs – doubling for the coveted 16–24 age bracket between April 2019 and April 2020.

With demand for audio visual stimulation soaring, it’s logical then that brands would turn to these worlds for inspiration. A recent example of a brand doing it well include luxury clothing label Balenciaga, which launched its latest collection in a video game format. The launch received rave reviews in the fashion industry and beyond for offering fans a fresh and immersive way to experience the Fall 2021 collection when runways and stores were off-limits.

Published by:

14 January 2021

Author: David Sheldon-Hicks

Image: Afterworld: The Age of Tomorrow, Balenciaga Fall 2021 collection

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Science-fiction-inspired UI for Huami's range of Amazfit Verge smartwatches

The sci-fi language of films has also been a source of inspiration for brands, whether in advertisements or products themselves. It was this design language that our team recently draw from to create futuristic TV promos for Amazon Web Services, showcasing its partnership with America's NFL. The ads featured during the 2020 kick-off illustrate AWS’ real-time technology in action, including the cloud intelligence and machine learning used to track action during games.

This design language can just as easily be applied to products too. Wearable tech brand Huami came to Territory Studios with the desire to develop a modern, science-fiction-inspired UI for its range of Amazfit Verge smartwatches. The discipline of designing for film actually translated very well for the brief; with such a restricted screen, and a need for clarity at a glance, the practice of translating complex information quickly on screen helped us to make the leap from silver screen to watch-face with ease.

Brand managers should see film and gaming technology as an untapped resource, instead of a new frontier to be conquered. The software and creative processes in each field are well established and there is no real reason that it cannot be applied to new creative pursuits. In my experience, it’s not the invention of technology that leads to creative breakthroughs but rather looking at what already exists through a fresh lens.

Of course, the main incentive for brands looking to invest in new creative projects is eyeballs – audience penetration and consideration are necessary to drive sales after all. The worlds of film and gaming already have this audience captivated, meaning it will be brands who can offer a similar level of experience that are best placed to win a seat at the table.

David Sheldon-Hicks is co-founder of Territory Studio, a creative studio focused on motion design, visual effects and digital experiences.

‘It’s not the invention of technology that leads to creative breakthroughs but looking at what already exists through a fresh lens.’
David Sheldon-Hicks, co-founder, Territory Studio

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