Through a series of photos, a story of romance, courtship and lasting love reveals itself. That’s the latest film from HP in a capsule, but the whole five-minute film, ‘At First Sight’ is a tale of two people finding each other and building a rich life together.
The film chronicles how Harbinder Singh, a Sikh-American, met Arvinder who lived halfway around the world. Though both were sceptical of the ‘arranged marriage’ aspect of their meeting, their respective photos sparked something and led to them meeting and falling in love. Throughout the film, we learn how they grew closer, built a family and a big book of photos. Cut to the present as we hear their voices tell of their account, the couple sits on a porch, arm in arm and very much still in love. The action jumps from photos of the past to videos of the present, building a very human, relatable and warm film.
‘At First Sight’ is the first in a new special project series by the in-house brand journalism team at HP, called ‘History of Memory.’ The project explores the evolution of photography to better understand the connection between printed photos and memory. Through films, events, personal stories and social experiments, the value of printed images in people’s lives, especially in their family histories, is elevated and explained.
“I wouldn’t really call this a campaign, because I really don’t think of it as marketing,” said Karen Kahn, chief communications officer at HP. “One of the areas on my team is something we call brand journalism, which is bringing real, authentic stories to life, which are different sometimes from marketing stories. They all help in driving affinity to our brand. This site that we have, called the Garage, is very different. It’s very novel to the brand in that we did away with a traditional newsroom. You’re not going to find a newsroom where you can look at press releases or corporate photos. We decided that what we needed to do was figure out a way to bring our brand to life in ways that people can experience it as a more human-centered brand.”
She went on to say that the slate of in the series films are like mini-documentaries, which started with the brand’s ‘Reinvent Mindsets’ diversity campaign, which told stories that were ultimately important to the way that HP stands in the market as a brand that is purpose-driven.
“These are along that same vein. They’re not designed to sell product. They’re designed to connect with the market in a different way,” said Kahn. “There are four other films that tell very different stories…a real story of photography, and the way that you save and preserve photography, on your memory and on your life, and how meaningful that can be to people to either preserve the past, save the present, create the future. It’s less about selling product and more about connecting through some universal ideas. This first one is love…everybody likes to have a little love in their life.”
To find the stories, HP worked with Redglass Pictures, which brought them the subjects and helped them tell them in a documentary style.
“This lovely, true couple that are these American Sikhs…it’s a universal story of tradition and romance, celebrating culture. For us, whether it’s swiping to the right or left to find your love at first sight. So few people have that, and we thought it was this really lovely insight,” said Kahn.
Added Angela Matusik, head of brand journalism at HP: “One of the things we did love about this couple is how strong the sense of character is. Arvinder is a very educated, strong-willed woman. When you watch the film, she makes it very clear that this was her choice. The other thing we loved about them was that they were so modern and so American.
“The whole concept behind the series is to remind people about the importance of printed photos in our lives. When we started thinking about this concept, we thought about all the ways about how photos tell the legacy of our lives, so that’s why we have this love story. But the other stories hit other buckets,” said Matusik.
Other films in the series have yet to come out, but Matusik said that all have strong emotional connections that will make people think of themselves and their own lives and personal histories.
“The filter that I think Angela has been really adept at using in the Garage is what stories connect us to the economy, the culture, the social issues, to future innovations. How do they connect and intersect so that we’re talking with the market and not at the market? The Garage team is really small, so we have to cherry pick the stories that connect us in places that are a little unexpected for our brand,” said Kahn.
The response to HP’s films, starting with Reinventing Mindsets and continuing with the film for International Women’s Day, ‘Paro’ has rated highest for viewership on HP.com, so the brand knows it is hitting the mark with its consumers. So, HP will continue putting out films that hopefully affect people in a positive way, highlighting the stories – and the photos – that spark conversation and emotion.