Even at the best of times it can be difficult for businesses and bodies to divine exactly how much of a stake in a project’s success – be they measured in ROI or otherwise – their piece of brand film can claim. Coincidentally, answering commercial mysteries such as this is also one of the very pillars upon which Moving Image was founded. In certain circumstances however, one need only reflect upon the legacy of past videos for such solutions to become apparent to us. Not unlike the legacy of Olympians who have summited the podiums of their elected fields, New Moon Television’s short film ‘Inspiration’ has a legacy to be proud of. One that remains to this day.
A look back at this remarkably contemplative piece, presented as part of the British bid for the games, reaffirms just how much of a meaningful role brand film can have in any campaign. Produced by Caroline Rowland and Darryl Goodrich for the London 2012 Olympics in 2005, this dramatic 5-minute short film charts the impact that representation onscreen and youth exposure to sport can have on the average individual’s path in life. Shoring up the gravitas, actor – now ‘sir’ – Ian McKellen delivers a brooding voiceover, listing figures as an attempt to quantify the unimaginable scope of what it takes to produce a world champion. This offering had some big shoes to fill and an enormous burden of responsibility to shoulder, but by focusing on emotive story to connect with audiences, it hits a long stride.
At once, Inspiration was required to function on a multitude of levels: PR mouthpiece for tourism in the U.K, an assurance of fair treatment and acceptance for the athletes of international audiences, a business proposal for those organisations who flock to such events. The list is endless. While Goodrich and Rowland’s film needed to embody a type of watermark for the British approach to sport such as fair play, healthy competition, and education, on a more nuanced level their creation was also required to faithfully serve the interests of other nations from around the world through strong representation.
It’s this successful messaging and cutting across socio-political divides, that helped secure the U.K’s bid and the economic windfall that came with it. When asked by Moving Image to encapsulate in words the financial benefit for Britain from her film’s success Rowland said, “Seeing off the competitive bids of Paris, Madrid, New York and Moscow was the single-minded objective. But, put into financial terms, that win for London generated a direct measurable economic impact equal to £134 million and a broader economic impact of an estimated £41 billion.” (Forbes, UEL).
Inspiration won out against competing nations who handed development of their submissions to titans of filmmaking such as Steven Spielberg and Luc Besson, though Inspiration itself was later considered for its own Hollywood upgrade. The then mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, believed Inspiration was responsible for “winning the bid for London”, cementing the importance placed on future brand film productions, and as exampled by Danny Boyle’s helming of the Olympic opening ceremony.
For those interested in brand film, Caroline Rowland and Daryl Goodrick’s short represents a watershed moment in small-world storytelling moving audiences on a global stage. It remains a monument to video’s ability to propel underdog proposals and simple– yet profound - messages over the finish line.