The Ultimate Guide to Brand Manifesto Video

Table of contents

What is a video manifest?
Are manifestos really useful?
The ingredients of a good video manifest
The clichés of the video manifestos
10 examples with one or more clichés
4 manifestos from Montreal agencies
My top 18 brand manifestos in video


What is a video manifest?

Manifesto videos are in high demand by brands. They want a powerful tool to position themselves, their mission and their values. The best way to present their worldview is often through a very emotional, visual video, accompanied by powerful text.
A video manifesto is a short presentation of your brand’s values and/or mission. This video is a reflection of your culture, your beliefs, your values but most importantly your purpose in life as a brand. When done right, this type of video can be very useful in reaching an audience that cares about what you do and wants to buy into it.
However, when this overt video is done awkwardly, it can have the opposite effect and seem opportunistic, salesy or worse, soulless.


Are manifestos really useful?

Video manifests are becoming increasingly popular and in demand. One could even say that they are the new generation of corporate videos.
Personally, I have already created several for various brands, as a designer or producer. I have always been ambivalent about their real usefulness. Who really wants to listen to this? Why would anyone want to take 2 minutes of their time to have you talk about yourself?
When done right, a video manifesto hooks the audience, captivates them and transports them into a personal reflection. It’s a very special balancing act.
For me, there are three questions that one must be able to answer positively at the end of a manifesto:

  • Do we believe it?
  • Do we want to join?
  • Do we want to share it?

The ingredients of a good video manifest

To make a successful video manifesto, I’ve identified some basic rules – or rather recommendations. I say recommendations because there are no absolutes. The video manifest has not finished surprising us and evolving.

1. Start with why

Lost marketing experts are unanimous on the subject, the book Start with why by author Simon Sinek has been the most important recent catalyst for the brand manifesto.
(You can watch Simon Sinek’s famous Ted Talk again:

How great leaders inspire action

)
To summarize the excellent book Start With Why, Sinek suggests that your brand must find its purpose) in order to inspire its audience and enroll them in its mission. Thus, this manifesto must be in line with the Why of the brand, not the products or services (or the what, howetc).
Sinek proposes a theory based on scientific facts. I won’t go into detail, but essentially the Why involves the emotions and the limbic system of the brain, which controls the decision center. Thus, focusing on your Why encourages action.
This is essentially why a good manifesto is imperatively inspired by your Why: without this ingredient, your manifesto will lack authenticity and become just another sales tool.
“People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. If you talk about what you believe, you will attract those who believe what you believe.” – Simon Sinek

2. There is a message

And I would even say: one message.
And when I say message, it can also include a story that contains a message. You have to have something to say and to tell. You have to be willing to speak up, assume some leadership and come out into the open. Beautiful images are not enough. Your video doesn’t have to be long, expensive or complicated. She just needs to tell a true story. A short and simple testimonial can do the trick.
In short: Keep it simple. A brand manifesto should be able to convey the emotion of your mission. And your assignment should not be a paragraph, but at most 2 sentences.
“Don’t write prose. Instead, write a rallying cry using the medium of your choice.” – Strategist Mark Di Somma

3. They are aspirational

Most of the video manifestos speak of a future that has not yet materialized.
Personal fulfillment and growth are goals that most humans set for themselves. The manifesto must go beyond the brand or product. You must give the audience ownership of your message and your Why. Your audience could imagine the same future as you and rally around you. Therefore, you must include the audience as a partner in your manifesto. It must be seen as a common project.
A good video manifesto makes you feel emotions and reflect on your own goals. The ultimate goal is to generate ownership and sharing.

4. They have an authentic point of view

It is very easy to identify the obvious videos are not authentic or just opportunistic. Audiences have very powerful bullshit filters. Let’s be honest: nobody is waiting for your video and most of them don’t care. You will reach a fraction of the population – provided all the ingredients are there. Your manifesto does not need to be unanimous. You must speak in your own voice and say things that are true. It is not a reflection of who you want to be, but rather who you are now and what you aspire to be.


The clichés of the video manifestos

There are a few pitfalls to consider when producing your manifesto. These elements are clichés that can be found in many of these videos.
This doesn’t mean you should avoid them at all costs, but be aware that they are very common and perhaps less original than you might think.

  • The dynamic youth who have life ahead of them and nothing to lose
  • Succession of close-ups on faces looking at the camera
  • Close-ups of eyes
  • Back shots that follow people
  • Back shots of people looking at the city from its skyscrapers
  • People who do things “outside their comfort zone
  • People who do things “their way
  • The calm versus fast juxtaposition
  • References to modern life that goes too fast
  • The passing of time
  • A juxtaposition of words or mentioning people in bursts
  • The little moments of everyday life
  • Aerial shots of highways, ports or places that emphasize lines, movement
  • Tunnels or roads in fast motion
  • Interconnected people who communicate together no matter where they are
  • Portraits of people in front of a colored background, posing

9 examples with one or more clichés

Here are a few videos that contain some of the shots mentioned above. Be careful, although they are not in my top, it does not mean that they are all of bad quality. Some of them have a very good production quality. In fact, I put them in order of preference.
(Top 17 of my favorite videos)
Ardene – We Culture
I hesitated before putting it here, because I really like this video and the agency that produced it. There is a very nice production quality and a nice message, but I doubt its real usefulness and effectiveness.
https://vimeo.com/313902069Vicunha Jeansidentity
Very nice, but very product oriented. A bit like the Ardene video. I doubt its usefulness.
https://vimeo.com/371298205Knorr
I particularly like the intro as a man invites us to follow him into the party. It’s a nice welcome. But in the end, they are still vegetable products and we don’t really understand the link.
https://vimeo.com/236650689HYUNDAI ‘Manifesto
A video of exceptional quality, which could well pass in certain contexts. But coming from Hyundai, we have a doubt.
https://vimeo.com/314674566Sem Parar – Manifesto
A video full of clichés but which still keeps us captive to the listening, thanks to a beautiful production. For those who are wondering, Sem Parar is a vehicle identification system in Brazil.
https://vimeo.com//356488548Sol – Manifesto
A very catchy video about following your passion, but full of clichés.
https://vimeo.com/266704862Publicis Sapient
It’s still amazing that an agency like Publicis would produce such an unclear and strange video. The idea of the circle was interesting but it has its limits.
https://vimeo.com/317050766Tylenol – Manifesto
It’s obvious that after listening to this manifesto, you’ll need Tylenol too.
https://vimeo.com/135040349We are Everise
We are clearly in the corporate video with a generic text written by a committee.
https://vimeo.com/305643060

4 manifestos from Montreal agencies

The agency manifesto is the new real-world demo, and that’s just as well. It’s much more interesting to understand the vision and mission of an agency than just seeing beautiful images set to beautiful music. Here are 4 Montreal agencies that have successfully taken the demo manifesto route.

SID LEE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2FZXp0UZIcs

Bleublancrouge

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U8-tz4Ceza0&feature=emb_title

Camden

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZW_OCXv4mRs&feature=emb_titleRepublik
https://vimeo.com/387806598

My top 17 brand manifestos in video

Here is my best of. They have the ingredients of a successful manifesto, either:

  • We believe in it.
  • We adhere to it.
  • We want to share them

In my order of preference.
DO WHAT YOU CAN’T
Okay, this is not related to a company but to an individual, Casey Neistat. This video is the epitome of a good video manifesto. Casey later made a deal with Samsung, which appropriated this campaign theme with somewhat less success.
(you can see an example here: https://vimeo.com/showcase/6641200/video/331152587 )
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jG7dSXcfVqEMagnum – The Will
In second place in my top, and just barely. Is it a manifesto? Not explicitly, but the video has all the ingredients. I let you discover it.
https://vimeo.com/336838976Fido – Go Get It
It is a manifesto, hidden under the guise of an ad, which draws a parallel between Fido the dog and the user-customer. I simply love this video which is very catchy and has a very nice production quality.
https://vimeo.com/231404882UQAM | 100 million ideas
An exception to the rule. A video that has several clichés, but all of them have their relevance in the context. Do we believe it? Yes!
https://vimeo.com/247347432FACEBOOK OUR FRIENDS MANIFESTO
There are several shots in this beautiful video. Given the nature of the product (Facebook), this manifesto strikes a chord and reaches its target.
https://vimeo.com/122149315BLITZ: Our Manifesto
The chosen form creates an immediate commitment. I love the tone. A clever video that didn’t cost too much either.
https://vimeo.com/115809380Sumol Manifesto
I didn’t understand the narration, but I understood the message.
https://vimeo.com/338903376Jasmin – What If Manifesto
A good example of a video mood that can be presented as a manifesto. There are few words, but the message is clear.
https://vimeo.com/337860954Precision Run | The Manifesto
Another example of a video mood that contains a very simple message.
https://vimeo.com/338283430squarespace / manifesto
Just goes to show that a good manifesto doesn’t need to be complicated or far from the product.
https://vimeo.com/153380369Canada Goose | Unweathered
This manifesto sets a particular mood by its tone and its colors. This mood becomes one of the elements of the message.
https://vimeo.com/263590767EON Manifesto
A fun video that cleverly plays on this paradox between comfort zone and trying new things.
https://vimeo.com/361020189“Manifesto | OLA Energy
I almost put it in the cliché list, but after re-listening, the video seemed believable. It must be said that it is not easy for an energy company to do something convincing.
https://vimeo.com/366521812PowerBar Manifesto
If it had been any other product, this video might have seemed pompous and exaggerated. But given the product’s target audience, we believe it.
https://vimeo.com/41106764LOACKER // MANIFESTO // DC
Kids and memories are always a great value, especially for a cookie company.https://vimeo.com/364802713Telenor – TVC Manifesto
I found this manifesto to have a very accurate and authentic message.https://vimeo.com/110873797WOW App – Manifesto
There are many clichés and paradoxes in this video, but it remains surprising and pushes us to a questioning.https://vimeo.com/148525278

Need to think about your Why, or create and produce a video manifesto? Write to me: david@spkg.ca

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