This is a Generic Brand Video – The challenge for brand authenticity has never been greater

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The Brand Strategy of Authenticity has never been more Important
If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you will no-longer get what you always got. In brand the diminishing law of returns is an absolute truism. What served to differentiate a brand a decade ago, to evocatively communicate a persona and set of values to a particular audience is no-longer effective. And brands only have themselves (well at least their lazy peers) to blame.

The best brands are and have always been authentic. The basis for brand strategy is to define what it is about a brand that makes it so special, relevant and meaningful to it’s audience or tribe. This authenticity is at once unique and magnetic. It is also complex, fragile and difficult to bring to life in everything that business does everyday. Competing demands of budget, profit, scalability, globalization and competition most always see the dilution of authenticity.

When faced with these challenges, brands will often take the easy way-out, leaning on old habits of telling not doing, talking the talk without walking the walk – Enter the generic brand video.

This video parodies the over-used concepts we now associate with corporate videos and marketing campaigns. Once powerful, authentic themes, these words and images have become so hackneyed as-to be almost meaningless. Created entirely with stock footage from Dissolve, the video used used clips featuring big words that convey progress, scientists performing research to depict advancement, farmers or workers from different parts of the world to reflect globalization, people planting trees to show how companies care about the environment, and more to highlight the common and now empty running themes of these types of videos.

The challenge for brands is now to regain their sense of authenticity – to rebrand with truth. I choose the word challenge for there is now no easy way through. Authenticity is as authenticity does, demanding a ceaseless focus on bringing to life the brand in everything a business does, every day of every year.


This is a video of “This Is a Generic Brand Video,” written by Kendra Eash for McSweeney’s Internet Tendency. No surprise, it’s made entirely with stock footage. All video clips used are from See and license them here:

The original piece is published on McSweeney’s:

Narrated by Dallas McClain.

Music: “Piano Work 02” by rysktchkw. Available under Creative Commons License from SoundCloud at

Dave Ansett
Chief Creator of Brands
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