DigiStorytelling in Commercials and Interactive film

Thinking about experiences I have had with digital/ multimedia storytelling, I found myself thinking (almost exclusively) back to commercials that incorporated this technique. The first example I thought of was a commercial that was part of Levi’s Go Forth campaign.


The commercial incorporates video montage, music, voice-over, and words on the screen—all of which come together in attempt to associate Levi’s jeans (product) with this powerful patriotic sentiment. There is a tone of sadness to the piece that is indescribable; something very human which is broken apart by sounds of gunshots or fireworks popping, insinuating a sort of struggle (inherent in America’s patriotism is this sort of revolution). The video pairs the words to Walt Whitman’s poem “America” with images of individual human beings that correlate. With such abstract yet emotional-laden words such as “freedom,” and “love,” the director paired them with emotional images (i.e. an interracial couple exchanging a tender, passionate kiss seemingly in secret paired with the word “love”). The video is black and white (until the red Levis logo at the end of the piece), giving it an authentic, “classic” air; the same idea can be heard with regards to the voice-over quality—there is an oldness to it, and therefore genuineness that Levis wants to express. All of the video montages of people (who are all wearing Levis jeans, of course), the poem, the fireworks all attempt to come together to create the piece of patriotism that proves tha Levis is the American brand. This idea of using digital storytelling in order to get people to buy things is also an interesting layer, and also makes it controversial: Is this video in good faith?  The American patriotism, the poem, the interracial intimacy between two lovers—is all of this in good faith, or are these ideas merely being used in order to be consumed? Overall, I think this text would be very interesting to study because of the multimedia it presents as well as the controversies.


After dwelling on the Go Forth campaign for a little bit, I thought back to another product campaign that I found was powerful: the Dove self-esteem campaign.

While Dove the company might have genuine, morally sound reasons for this campaign (teaching girls to feel beautiful in their own skin), they are of course selling a product. I thought it was intriguing to think that the commercial used technology to show how technology allows other companies to Photoshop/alter the looks of a model to make her look prettier than she actually is. In the video, there is chaos in the beginning, with sounds of production. A model sits down in the chair, looking as if she is about to get her mug shot taken. We are then taken through the journey (moving stills/snapshots of the woman getting transformed with makeup). The process is sped up in order to see the starkness of the change. Then, after the photoshoot, there are sounds of “clicking” (technology) as a detached cursor Photoshops and tweeks the look of the model until she looks pretty, indeed, but nothing like herself. There are then words on the screen that say, “No wonder our perception of beauty is distorted,” stark with the black and white contrast of lettering. Then, the music sounds as if it is further away, distancing as we see the billboard, symbolizing how distant the process is from what we see. This video is an attempt to shed light on the long process that goes into altering these models into looking so beautiful by comparing it to the finished product that we see.


For the next example, please click the website and follow the interactional directions


This piece of digital storytelling really intrigued me as it gives new possibility to not only music videos, but other videos that seek to personalize to create a stronger effect. While it is not the official music video for Arcade Fire’s “We used to wait,” they have it on their website. The song has a lot to do with inaction vs. action: when this “you” came along, the speaker didn’t write letters anymore or sign his name next to it (he stopped doing things). The song is about reclaiming this lost action and doing something. The official music video is merely of the visual of driving a car at nighttime; you can see no people in the video, only the visual of looking out onto the road you’re driving on. In this version, I thought it was interesting that the creator wanted to personalize it: it asks us to put in the address of the home we grew up in. After doing so, many boxes alternate and pop up: there is one constant photo of a person in a hoodie (you don’t see his/her face, strategically) running down the nondescript road. Then, there is a personalization as window of a picture of your town looms. Then, as the person presumably gets closer, we see in another window the road and actual house you grew up in. The person in the hoodie turns around in circles, and so the shot of the street/house you live on moves in the same direction with it. Lastly, at the end of the “interactive film,” it says to write/draw something in a letter to the person you were when you lived there; in this way, it brings together the lyrics of the song and the idea of journeying (running) back home.


~ by khughes80 on January 12, 2013.

2 Responses to “DigiStorytelling in Commercials and Interactive film”

  1. The Levi’s idea is very interesting. Especially because it tells a story of America through a Poem. There are other commercials in this “Go Forth” Campaign. If you haven’t yet seen the “Pioneers, O Pioneers” Levi commercial, I’d highly recommend that one as well. You’re right on target when you talk about how the story is really told through the director and how he/she uses images to represent key words. However, I would caution that this might also be a situation where the focus is on marketing instead of telling a story.

  2. I’ve seen the Dove Campaign commercial before, and I agree that it is a altruistic mission; however, they are selling a product. Regardless, the use of digital media to uncover some beauty myth that digital media itself is used to construct provides for a video worth reflecting over.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: