Panoramic view of our Scunthorpe steelworks
03 May 2018

The corporate video is dead

James Spencer Marketing Communications Graduate

...long live corporate video!

Imagine this. I’m standing on a gantry overlooking a cavernous space, shrouded in darkness, way above me particulates dance in beams of light that pierce the black void like white-hot knives. The gantry begins to reverberate and out of the darkness emerges a colossal ladle carrying 300 tonnes of liquid iron. The sound shakes every bone in my body, I press my ear defenders closer to my head as a wave of heat warms the air around me. The whole spectacle makes Game of Thrones look like a soggy firework show and exudes so much drama that it would keep Coronation Street running for the next 1,000 years. My one thought – if only we could capture this experience and show it to the world…..

When the initial discussions took place in regards to how the new British Steel’s company video would look, I was continually drawn back to this moment. For years there has been such a veil of secrecy around our amazing processes that it could have given Area 51 a run for its money*. But if our sites are akin to Wonka’s chocolate factory then I envisioned a future in which our company film would be your golden ticket.

From the start, I was sure that to create an impactful film, we had to move away from the generic tropes of what is recognised as a ‘corporate video,’ especially within the steel industry. You know… the plucky narrator (stolen somewhere from the 1950s) talking about company values and the steel making process, illustrated by sickly computer generated-graphics that are archaic enough to make even your gran throw up!

We needed to move away from all that. We had to create a film that was engaging on an emotional level, but also excite and amaze people. In essence get them to think differently about our company and industry as a whole. As Kylo Ren famously says in the latest Star Wars flick: “let the past die, destroy it if you have to” and that’s exactly what we intended to do with the old-style steelmaking corporate video, we had to be radical, forward-thinking and brave.

In one of our early concept meetings, I pulled together some ‘moodboard’ ideas for the tone and style of the film. These videos included cinematic trailers for Audi and Vue Cinemas; it was less about content and more about the feeling they evoked in audiences watching them. Pitching something in regards to emotions and feelings in an industry that has been at its very foundation built on facts, knowledge, engineering precision and mathematical equations is a bit like walking into church and giving a lecture on Darwinism. That said it’s not the response I got here; my team loved the concepts and when we presented the concepts to colleagues across the business, everybody loved and embraced the potential direction. You could see and feel real excitement and buy-in to the project.  

So, we had our brave new concept for the company film and now it was time to bring our vision to life…. The journey that ensued was exciting…epic and bloomin hard work….

To be continued….. oh yes I did.

Check back to read part 2, coming soon! In the meantime, check out the film below and let me know in the comments what you think!  

*Before I begin any conspiracy theories, we harbour no crashed alien spaceships here…or do we?


Any views expressed in this blog are views of the individuals concerned and do not necessarily reflect the views of British Steel.

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Steve Spencer / 3 May 2018
This is a great blog. Even better, the film is made with a refreshing and modern twist. A superb advert for .... 'BRITISH'......steel.
Dr Keith Walker / 3 May 2018
It's a marvellous movie that reflects the thrill of the processes. For me, the addition of a little about the application of end products and further processing would enhance it. It's well known that most people don't know what steel is used for and how vital it is to us all.
James Spencer / 3 May 2018
Thanks Keith, this was very much intended to be an emotive film. We're already exploring options for further films that are more product specific. Watch this space!
Chris McDonald / 4 May 2018
Absolutely brilliant James. A superb evocation of the enormity and emotion of steel production. A classic of our time.
James Spencer / 4 May 2018
Thank you Chris! We're very proud of it! From the beginning we wanted to create something that was a game-changer within the industry.
Former British Steel employee / 8 May 2018
A truly inspiring and insightful production, which provides the audience with a dramatic visualisation of how vast and complicated the industrial process actually is and often only appreciated by those who work in the industry. Well done to everyone involved in this flawless production. I can’t begin to imagine how complicated it was to produce. You have every right to be very proud of the finished article.


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