His name was Jimmy in 1954 and he was impersonated by Barry Nelson on TV. In 1962, the agent conceived by Ian Fleming whose namesake according to legend was the author of the ornithological standard work “Birds of the West Indies”, made it into the cinemas, where James Bond showed the baddie armed with a Dr title and Ursula Andress that a “no” was not an option for him.
Titled with the name of the criminal organisation which Dr No already belonged to, “Spectre”, the latest adventure of the agent impersonated by Daniel Craig will be on the big screen within the next few days. I was highly honoured to be able to participate in the premiere.
If the Oscar Academy members were of the same age as the Spectre target group, director Alain Ball’s work would be a serious candidate for the golden man! Reason enough to waste some thoughts from the viewpoint of corporate communication on a phenomenon which has globally enthused for several decades. How can visual storytellling, corporate communication and marketing profit from the James Bond principle?
The longevity of the film series is largely based on a scheme which could be transferred to new societal and geopolitical developments several times over. Already in Ian Fleming’s books, which form the basis for the films, the storytelling follows a uniform pattern. Variants and side lines do not alter the constitutional elements.
Storylines, characters and ideology enable the reader to participate in a game whose figures, rules and outcome he knows.
Transferred to the regular production of videos, whether for CEO messages, employee updates or further regular internal or external corporate communication purposes, the following lesson can be derived:
- Not only changing but also keeping the elements causes positive audience reactions. Constancy is valence in the digital world in which mass media are replaced by media masses as the dominating factor in everyday life.
- Content sovereignty prevails. However, formatting is the sovereign’s treasurer. The development of a transmission vehicle for a visual medium means creating a triad structurally, dramaturgically and with regard to the planned programme colour with a content-related concept (Videothink will approach the topic of formatting in detail in a separate article at a later date.)
- The structural design of a video is part of the formatting. It is allowed to and should repeat itself and can at the same time also become an important branding element for the communication measure. As a side effect, a learnt structure allows the audience to focus on the contents immediately, especially for shorter films. The span of the user’s attention, for example for pre-roll sequences on YouTube, speaks for itself.
- A content scheme and the related formulae can both be adapted to new circumstances (scheme transfer) and different media. The British secret agent with the double-O was originally a novel, not only used as a film, but as radio spots (these days it would have been podcasts) and, until the 1980s, as comic strips.
Shaken, not stirred
Next time you start thinking about serial communication with films and videos, please also remember the dynamic formatting of the 007 film series. When applying it to the competent authority, it may be better to omit that the optimisation of moving image communication at your company was inspired by James Bond. Unless you are James Bond, of course.