Bold Content Bold Content Company History – A Message from Adam Neale, Managing Director

Bold Content has just turned seven years old and I wanted to take the opportunity to say thanks to some of the awesome clients who have facilitated our journey and growth as a business.

I founded Bold Content Video in 2013 because I was excited by the possibilities of making ‘non-corporate’ videos.  With a background in documentary production, I wanted to bring those skills to reinvigorate cheesey corporate videos whilst still meeting our client’s marketing goals.

That year I found myself at the Cannes Lions Advertising Festival after winning an award for a commercial that I produced. I got chatting to one of the Marketing leads for Coca-Cola who was excited to learn about my plans for making documentary-based case study films. This led to one of Bold Content’s most exciting commissions: filming a series of videos around the world and meeting inspirational women who had been assisted by Coca-Cola’s 5by20 women empowerment programme.

indian woman standing in street

We gradually built up a trusting relationship with Coca-Cola, who relied on us to create all their sustainability content from animations about recycling to  Environmental case studies with the World Wildlife Fund, Active healthy living documentaries and Entrepreneur documentaries.  In these films we would begin to push the boundaries of documentary storytelling and introduce some of the techniques that make our work stand out from the crowd.  Techniques such as mixing animation and live action, and the use of cinematic cutaways to tell beautiful stories. Over the years we’ve experimented with and honed these techniques to create impactful video content. Coca-Cola named us their Centre of Excellence for Content Creation and asked us to help video production teams around the world to create high-quality documentary-based films to communicate the good work that is being done locally. Over the years we made tons of videos and animations for their sustainability department. We were one of the first companies to trial branded short form video on Instagram and we helped them measure and analyse the performance of their video content across their social channels. I will be eternally grateful to the commissioners at Coca-Cola who gave us the chance to use short-form documentary storytelling to connect with an audience on an emotional level, rather than just making dry corporate videos highlighting the good initiatives that Coca-Cola sponsor. We created hundreds of social snippets for Coca-Cola’s marketing team and AB tested variations of stories, so we were creating thousands of assets each year which needed to be stored in an organised manner. So as an extension of our relationship we built and managed a content library for them, which gave us new skills in digital asset management.

A very proud moment for the Bold Content team came when we visited the giant screen at Piccadilly Circus to see one of our animations,  about Coke’s involvement with the special Olympics, play on the big screen.

From our work with Coca-Cola, we attracted the attention of Trafalgar, the world’s largest guided tour company.  They asked us to travel with them to Italy to make documentary based promotional content for their guided tours. Trafalgar were so pleased with the results they asked us to become their dedicated filming team and we travelled all over the world with them, including a personal highlight which allowed me fulfil a dream of surfing in Hawaii. Along with their main brand films we also created a company history animation, sustainability case study films,  customer testimonials and a TV commercial made on the streets of Venice.  The TV commercial is a particular highlight because we were able to turn the whole production around, from coming up with the concept to getting approvals from Adstream in less than a month. That was a hectic month!

To date we have filmed in more than 40 countries and built-up relationships with local fixers, camera people and producers, which have allowed us to create cost-effective globally sourced content for our clients, via our trusted partners around the world.
two people riding a bike in the city

2017 saw a commission from wearable tech company SixPad which allowed us to film a TV commercial with sprinter Dina Asher Smith and rugby player Alex Lozowski, which was broadcast to an audience of millions during the Champion’s League final. Another TV commercial that year was created for Bloomon. We conceptualised this commercial from the initial idea all the way through to creating different language versions for multiple markets across European TV.

woman holding a bunch of flowers

Soon Bold Content were commissioned to create 1,000 personalised videos for Lloyds Bank to send out on video cards to business owners to generate interest in their business banking service. The videos had three points of personalisation where the business owners saw their company’s name, sector and turnover bracket featured as text on-screen.

Other technological highlights of the year included making a shoppable video for H&M. In this film, viewers could click on clothing within the video and be taken to a web page where they could directly purchase it.

We filmed in India for a special effects laden book trailer and a brand video for Adecco, one of the world’s largest staffing solutions companies.

We were grateful that Jameson commissioned us to create a commercial for their Cocktail Club.

Because of our work with Coca-Cola and Trafalgar, we know that we work best when we foster partnerships with our clients that lead to long term client relationships. Over the years we have been lucky enough to build such relationships with The Money Advice Service, Broadgate Estates and Ancestry.

2017 also saw several commissions come in from TopGear and being nominated for some major automotive awards: Below Zero was awarded the best journalism film at the London Motor Film Festival and in the following year both our Ariel Nomad film and Rolls Royce films were nominated for the same award.
car driving quickly

One of the proudest moments of 2018 for Bold Content was when our short film Drug Runner won a Vimeo Staff Pick, then won Best of the month for October and finally became nominated for the best film of the year!  This was a huge accolade for us because it was picked from the millions of short films that get uploaded to Vimeo each year. The amazingly talented Charlotte Regan directed the film and went on to win silver at the Cannes Lions Young Director Awards.

Drug Runner came about because of our desire to push the creative boundaries of documentary filmmaking.  The film is a true first-person testimony, hence a documentary, but it is told through cinematic re-enactments with visuals more akin to dramatic filmmaking.

2018 saw us co-sponsor The Drum’s #DoItDay where marketers get together to collaborate on projects that do good for the world.  One of the ideas that was mooted was on behalf of CALM, the Campaign Against Living Miserably.  We worked with them to conceptualise a project called #BestManProject which we then filmed and edited into a funny short film that CALM released on their social channels.

Amazingly the Duke of Cambridge saw the video, liked the idea and decided to get involved.  We worked with CALM to film the #BestManProject video featuring the Duke and celebrities including Rio Ferdinand and Roman Kemp.

The video campaign won Best Video Series at the International Content Marketing Awards, taken second-place for Campaign of the Year at The Drum’s Social Purpose Awards, and was nominated for the Charity Film Awards.
Rio Ferdinand and Prince William talking

The Duke of Cambridge wasn’t the only celebrity we worked with that year.  Other well-known interviewees included the Hollywood Superstar Zendaya for a video for Tommy Hilfiger,, David Haye and George the Poet for The Prince’s Trust and Amy Schumer for a charity called Stylefund. Another of our partner clients, Colt, challenged us to create an attention grabbing, creative interview technique, for a video about their work with Google Cloud. The technique of mixing a nicely shot live action interview, with animated text and icons overlaid onto the image that we developed, has since become one of our signature styles.

2019 brought us an exciting new relationship with B&CE, the provider of the People’s Pension for whom we have created a host of animations and interviews mixed with animation.  We’re grateful that the team at B&CE are open to ideas about creating non-corporate videos instead of dry corporate communications.  Our experience with The Money Advice Service taught us that videos about pensions need to take a creative approach in order to cut through audience preconceptions about dry corporate comms.

A highlight of 2019 for Bold Content was winning a commission to create a charity video for the mental health research charity MQ Shot on Super16mm film with the talented directing duo James&James, the brand film contains testimonies from people who have benefitted from the charity, mental health campaigners and researchers. In parallel, it tells the story of a day in the life of a man battling with mental health issues but avoiding the usual clichés of seeing them with their head in their hands. This was a subtler, personal battle of just making it to the laundrette. A huge thanks to Kodak for sponsoring the production with film stock.
man sitting alone in a laundrette

An office move took us to the salubrious climate of Canada Water, just south of the river Thames.  We enjoyed exploring the new local pubs and restaurants and hosting clients in our new meeting room.

Other work highlights included working with Stylist and Pandora to make some exciting branded content pieces.

We became Snapchat’s video partner for sponsored content and made a fantastic film for Lancome in Paris, OnePlus in London and a Story Ad for the launch of the Hollywood film Charlie’s Angels.

We filmed from the roof of Microsoft’s new building at Oxford Circus with a massive jib arm and a drone to get views of the building for their launch party.

We’re grateful to design Agency JKR for partnering with us to film an ad for the brand launch of Mavericks, a healthy food company for kids.  We shot the commercial, which was filmed as a continuous take, on a super high-speed phantom camera in a massive whitebox studio.  Wrangling the kids to do multiple takes was an experience but we loved the shoot and had a fun but exhausting day.

2020 saw us further dive into our specialisms in Animation, Case Studies and Promotional Videos.  We became more entrenched in the financial, technology and education sectors with commissions from Santander, Google and GEMS International schools.

We created the cute characters Harry and Izzy for a whole series of animations to teach children their ABCs.

We continued our association with Snapchat making films for their brand partners Happn and OnePlus.  In the midst of a global pandemic they were ambitious enough to let us film in London, the Netherlands and India.

Huge thanks go to Playfinder for allowing us to create a fast-paced exciting brand launch film, King (the company behind Candy Crush) for commissioning an end of year roundup with some flashy motion graphics.  To Colt and Commonwealth Secretariat for commissioning some creative animations.

animated city

We ending 2020 with another commission filming for Coca-Cola to create a safety film in their bottling plant.

Like all businesses, 2020 was a difficult year for us, seeing the team shrink in size and go from a full office to remote working was tough, but we learned a lot about how to film with smaller crews in a safe and socially distanced way using PPE and COVID tests to ensure that cast, crew and client were kept safe.

We have embarked on 2021 with optimism and ambition to help more businesses communicate authentically and emotionally with their desired audience.  Our values remain the same and our purpose motivates us to keep making great videos for our awesome clients.

Seven years, thousands of videos and tens of millions of video views since I started the company, some of the things I’m most proud of are having worked with some incredibly talented filmmakers at the start of their careers. Directors who have gone on to win Cannes Lions, Vimeo Staff picks and even an Emmy. But also having trained many young interns and having had the pleasure of offering them jobs and seeing their careers flourish.

Our work with charities is one of the main driving forces behind the company.  We love to use our skills to help good causes which improve people’s lives. So, I wanted to give thanks to the following amazing charities who we’ve worked with:

The Kindey Cancer Association

Young Minds

Chelsea Pensioners

The Big Issue

Alzheimer’s Research

The British Heart Foundation

The Fawcett Society

Youth Sport Trust

Once again, a huge thanks to all the people who have worked with us and we look forward to sharing more adventures in filmmaking over the coming years.

Adam Neale

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