As any marketer worth his salt (a culinary essential) will attest, telling a compelling story is a brilliant way to engage your viewers and communicate information about your brand’s history and values. Video storytelling is widely regarded as one of the most effective approaches that food and drink brands can adopt when persuading consumers to consume their products. 

Let’s take a look at how you can tell stories that leave the right taste in your mouth with a review of some of the best storytelling videos that have been made by the food and drink industry.

Make an emotional connection with your audience

There are few better ways for food and drink brands to promote their offering than to connect with their audience on an emotional level, and this is where good storytelling comes in. Longer-form stories are usually composed of the following elements: i) the introduction of the characters, ii) the drama and iii) the resolution. 

Start by acquainting your audience with a likeable and/or relatable character. Once you have established your character(s), it’s time for the fun part: the drama. It is here that your character(s) encounter a problem of some sort. And it is in the story’s resolution that a solution presents itself – an ideal entry point for the food or drink that you wish to advertise.

Sainsbury’s 2014 Christmas ad marked the 100th anniversary of the Christmas Truce of 1914 that was observed during the First World War, and it is one of our favourite video storytelling examples. It begins with an unarmed English soldier risking his life by daring to rise from his trench, his arms raised. Whilst we know little about him, his actions raise the stakes in a dramatic fashion, and we root for him to survive.

The drama culminates in a tense stand-off. Happily, the situation resolves itself in a satisfying manner: the soldiers agree to a truce and play a game of football in no man’s land before returning to their respective trenches, whereupon a German soldier finds that he has been gifted a bar of chocolate by the English soldier.

1914 | Sainsbury’s Ad | Christmas 2014

The decision to focus on the key events of the Christmas truce is a huge part of what makes this ad so effective, and it feels appropriate, given the sensitive subject matter. Including the bar briefly at the beginning and towards the end, alongside a simple but powerful message, Christmas is for sharing, was a smart creative move that helps make this video an effective, memorable advertisement for chocolate.

Inform and entertain your audience

Video storytelling enables brands to teach viewers about their foods and drinks products, the ingredients that they include and their health benefits. They’re also a wonderful way for brands to provide information about the social and environmental work that they have undertaken.

In this video for Tilda Rice, we explained how Tilda has worked alongside the World Food Programme to provide healthy meals to mothers in developing countries. We used striking photo imagery, animation and motion graphics to impart relevant information (the importance of nutrition from an early age, the donation of 5.8 million nutrition-boosting meals, etc.) and deliver a strong call to action (‘To find out more, visit’).

Tilda Rice – Helping Mums Together

Making use of such techniques can help food and drink brands to weave a compelling narrative and demonstrate the positive impact that they are making. Find out more about brand storytelling today.

Produce shorter-form content for social media

The short video format is very popular these days, and there are plenty of opportunities for food and drinks brands to take advantage of this trend with bite-sized clips that showcase their products in all of their deliciousness. Such videos often work well on social media, as we found when producing Facebook and Instagram ads for Mackies.

Simple, punchy messaging and a dollop of humour go a long way in shorter-form videos. Humour has long been used in food advertising – one need only recall the iconic For Mash Get Smash ads, with their cast of chortling Martians looking down upon humans as a ‘most primitive people’ for peeling and boiling potatoes.

We recommend that you consider incorporating lighthearted humour in your short-form food and drink videos. John West’s classic Bear Fight ad is a cracking example of how it’s done.

John West Salmon “Bear Fight” ad

Appeal to the senses

The best food and drink videos successfully appeal to the viewers’ senses. Capture your viewers’ interest with enticing visuals and a soundtrack that fits with your brand’s vibe.

Hendrick’s beautifully colourful ads are a model to follow for drinks brands aspiring to take their viewers on a mini adventure.

From the Depths to the Heights – A Summer of Gin – Hendrick’s Gin

Give your viewers an exciting sensory experience, using close-ups and a variety of angles to do justice to the deliciousness of your offering. Consult our food videography tips to make your product look as appetising as possible in your videos, and take a look at the gin brands that have nailed their marketing efforts in recent years.

Start selling your food and drink with storytelling

We hope that this has given you plenty of, um, food for thought. Learn more about filming food and drink videos with our top 10 tips on how to make recipe videos.

If you’d like to find out more about Small Films, take a look at our work for the food and drink sector, and view our latest work on our YouTube channel. Alternatively, check out our E-Book on how to use video to grow your food and drink brand.


Small Films is a video production company in London. Our team of videographers, editors and animators create all sorts of videos, including awesome
product videos, testimonial videos, explainer videos and animations that can help bring your brand to life. Do get in touch; we’d love to hear from you!