Brand-funded documentaries for the BBC

Asked to promote tourism in Japan, we delivered a series of films that blended a documentary style with a strong brand message.

The brief

To capitalise on Olympic fever to promote tourism in Japan, the hosts of the 2020 Olympic Games.

The Japanese National Tourism Organization (JNTO) knew that Tokyo’s upcoming role as Olympic host city provided a timely hook for promoting tourism in Japan. To reinforce this link, JNTO engaged with the Olympic Gold winner Donovan Bailey as the presenter for a series of films exploring the diversity and excitement of Japan as a tourist destination.

The BBC were keen to move away from a purely documentary style approach. Although this style of this film captures the energy and sense of a place, it did not lend itself to encouraging direct response from viewers. The challenge was to blend authentic, engaging editorial content with a strong brand message.


The solution

We created a unique narrative hook that directly addressed the target audience: “That’s my Tokyo/That’s my Koyasan. What’s yours?”

This became the narrative hook for each of Donovan’s stories. This was designed to make the audience engage with the idea of visiting Japan while enhancing the authenticity of Donovan’s interest in the country which developed when he previously trained and competed there.

Each film showcased a different area of Japan, with a distinctly different look and feel for each; ranging from the peace and tranquillity of Koyasan to the pace and energy of Tokyo. While enhancing the theme of Japan’s diversity as a tourist destination, this content also increased opportunities for advertising targeting and messaging.

BBC – Mauritius video

In addition to the two main videos for use by the JNTO, we also provided a number of reversions for specific formats. This included two 30 second commercials for BBC Asia and America and two 15 second pre-roll ads for the BBC’s online video content.

Donovan Bailey's Tokyo

Donovan Bailey's Koyasan

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