Divorce can be a messy thing, especially when there are kids involved, and whilst it feels like the separation of a family can make the perfect focus for an engaging, emotive short film, it probably wouldn’t be a company’s go-to subject for a piece of branded content. However, that’s exactly what Ford Denmark got when they hired Danish director Daniel Kragh-Jacobsen to create a short film for them.
Described as “risky” by AdWeek, The Family certainly has an unusual focus for a branded film. Originally presented as three-part series, the story follows a family of four over three months, as each member of the household struggles to come to terms with their new living situation. With each mini-story centred around the family car (or cars), we get an internal look at the how the dynamics of the parent/child and parent/parent relationships are affected by such a life-changing event.
Revealing to Short of the Week that he was inspired to create his story after learning that “in a divorce the car is a very sacred place and a strong tool”, Kragh-Jacobsen’s decision to create his branded content around such a sombre subject proved somewhat of a masterstroke.
Though The Family is undoubtedly a downbeat watch, it’s also relatable and this is a valuable commodity in the world of advertising. “It was about real people”, the director explains to AdWeek, “the story is centered around a product, but the product is simply a prop or a setting, just like in a fiction film”.
This approach seems key in the success of the The Family and is one of the primary reasons we decided to feature this film on our site. Kragh-Jacobsen is a director we’ve long admired, but without this focus on narrative, this short wouldn’t be a good fit for Short of the Week.
However, by presenting a believable, engaging portrait of a family struggling with a divorce, cleverly packaged as branded content, the Danish director seems to have kept the brand happy and appealed to all of us with a love of storytelling (which is pretty much everyone on this planet!).
Fellow car manufacturers Lexus and BMW are probably more famous for experimenting with short film content to push their brand, but The Family was a brave venture for Ford and it’s one of the branded shorts that’s really stuck with the S/W team ever since we first saw it.
Its taken us a couple of years to feature Daniel’s short on our site, but we feel that over time and in contrast to other branded films we’ve watched, The Family has only gotten stronger. Since completing the short, the director has gone on to create another short film, Næste Stop and also direct the Vild Sommer TV series.