Is Your Video Gaston or Belle?

It’s a bright, sunny day. Seemingly everyone in the village is animatedly buying or selling something at the market. It’s here that we meet Belle and Gaston.


Belle’s song tells us something about her. She’s looking for adventure, more books, and something beyond the ordinariness of daily life in the village. Thanks to the villagers – surprisingly, everyone in the village can sing, in tune no less – we learn that Belle is beautiful, different, intelligent, and they all seem to like her. As a result, so do we.


Gaston is a different kettle of fish. Despite his good looks and physique, including white teeth and cleft chin, we don’t like him. Why? His song only tells us what he thinks about himself. While a very small group of girls, and his sidekick, do yodel on about how wonderful they think Gaston is, the rest of the villagers don’t seem that impressed. Gaston comes across as pompous, arrogant, and blind to anyone except himself. Don’t be Gaston. Rather be Belle and have the whole village saying great things about you!


But Gaston looks like a hero!

He has the muscles – check. He has the tight trousers – check. He has the thick, wavy hair – check. He has the mobile eyebrows and stands arms akimbo. And he wears red, why…the man is almost a superhero…isn’t he? We’d like to say that the only thing missing is the fact that Gaston doesn’t wear his underpants on the outside. But, in all superhero stories, including James Bond, the one who talks the most about himself is always the villain!


So who should be the hero of your video?


In the Canadian Cheerios 2014 TV ad, #HowToDad, everything is turned on its head. This is a breakfast cereal, and breakfast is traditionally the TV domain of mothers and kids. But it’s not a mom trying to persuade you to buy something you know is probably unhealthy. It’s a dad! One that couldn’t look less like Gaston. And he’s not talking about the cereal.


So what is he talking about?


He’s talking about what it takes to be a good dad. The product makes a casual appearance 54 seconds in, but the name of the cereal isn’t mentioned. There’s no list of ingredients, no reasons why it’s good for you, or the history of the product. It’s there, but almost in passing. We don’t see it again until 1 minute 47 seconds have gone past.


Here the product gets named, but there’s no killer end product shot. Clever copy links the product with being a man and being a dad, without actually saying so. The hero of the ad is clearly – Dads!  Complete with a ‘dad joke’, this is a feel-good ad. Even if you don’t like Cheerios, or peanut butter, it’s an ad you’ll remember, and you may just look at dads a little differently.  That’s making the right person the hero of the ad – the dad.


Have you ever been ‘we’d upon?


Times change. Once upon a time, ‘We try harder’ was the catchiest slogan around. Now, consumers want to know how you will solve their problems, do you understand them, do you know what makes them tick? The last thing they want to hear is we have, we will, we can, we’re the best, fastest, cheapest, most experienced, etc. Consumers want to see themselves in the ads. Whatever you do don’t ‘we’ on your potential clients!


Good videos show they understand their client’s real problem. But GREAT videos go further. They plug into that which makes us human, makes us community, and makes our shared experience real, meaningful and hopeful. Cheerios #HowToDad did that. So did the Amazon Christmas 2020 lockdown ad, ‘The Show Must Go On.’


  • But does that apply to all videos?

Yes. No matter what type of video your company has in its marketing tool kit, not one of them should have your company or your product as the hero. But how do you do that? Here are some excellent examples:

  • Corporate videos – Amazon’s 2022 Lockdown video. Here the community became the hero.
  • Educational /Explainer videos – Take a look at this video from ‘Losing touch’ has never been more appealing.
  • Advertisement videos – Even the worst of situations can be something to celebrate!
  • Product demo videos – When a choice becomes the hero!
  • Promotional videos – Pets Add Life, or is that kittens?
  • Testimonial videos – Here are three versions of testimonial None of them are ‘we’ing on the viewer.


What was the worst video you’ve seen that ‘we’d’ on the viewer? What video have you seen that did the exact opposite?


Video is THE marketing tool of today. Great video gets you talked about.
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