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Adam Penny and Jon Ayres
3rd August 2017

Connected Pictures: 15 years of telling the beautiful truth

For 15 years, Connected Pictures has been making sincere, captivating films in a rapidly shifting landscape. Splitting their efforts between healthcare and social impact, lifestyle and luxury brands, B2B and internal comms and their own love-not-money projects, the company has worked with some of the world’s biggest brands – always delivering films that cut to the heart of the human story. 

In recent years, Connected Pictures has crystallised its underpinning philosophy in the concept of ‘The Beautiful Truth’. Here, managing director and founding partner Adam Penny explains how this idea shapes both his company and the films it creates… 

The company was established in 2002. Back then, we were making corporate videos, documentaries and low-budget commercials. The first documentary we made was called Movemento, about street children fighting to grow up in Rio around the gangs, the drug lords and the police. We sold it to the BBC. From there we made a series called the Urban Chef and a few other docs, but it was the video content where things were becoming interesting.

Then YouTube launched in 2005. The documentary approach we took worked very well with corporations and brands. We had a long and successful relationship independently with with clients as diverse as British Airways and ArcelorMittal who were incredibly forward-thinking in what they wanted to do with video. It was hugely exciting to be at the forefront of what YouTube had to offer. We also started doing similar projects for Cargill, SABMiller, Pfizer, HSBC and Unilever. As well as brand and marketing campaigns for Nissan, Telegraph, easyJet, John Lewis, EE, Jaguar Land Rover, Molton Brown and many more.

15 years has obviously seen a lot of changes for us. The biggest was in 2014. Finishing the documentary Hannah, and moving from Soho to Shoreditch redefined who we were. We weren’t sure we were doing what we really wanted and certainly not for the right reasons. So we took a good look at ourselves and what we wanted to stand for. We looked at what had been the constant things in the last 12 years – in how we did business, why we did what we did and what we were looking to find in all our work. 
Jaguar - The Art of Performance Tour
Loooped / Abbott - David's Story
We believe that focusing on a brand’s purpose is the most important thing. If we get that right, if it’s authentic and beneficial, then all sorts of ideas come to the fore – all of them exciting.

That was when we defined it as ‘The Beautiful Truth’. It expresses everything about us, inside and out: how we do business, how we work with each other, how we support our clients, what we look for in what we create and what we want to help our clients realise. Now it helps guide us going forward, ensuring we are true to ourselves and what we want to achieve. 

We believe in touching what makes us all human – no matter if you are part of a brand, a business or an NGO. That’s what we look for in what we create, whether it’s an animation, a brand film or a short documentary. The audience in the world today seeks out and responds to honest, authentic and informative content (especially from big businesses in the current climate of mistrust). We look for increasingly beautiful ways to show it and tell it.
EU & WFP Ethiopia - #whatfoodmeans Trailer
Travelport - We're There
You get an authenticity and an emotion in film that you don’t get in many mediums. There's less room for interpretation so authenticity becomes very important. And you've got such a big box of toys to play with, it's something that can appeal to almost all the senses. The mind needs to feel instinctive about things, but it also needs to work things out. Too much of one or the other and you switch off, but the balance of the two makes a perfect film.

Fundamentally, it comes down to a good understanding of the client and the audience. We deep dive into the client, the brand, the news stories about them, and what they are trying to achieve through the film. Then we study the audience, their barriers and behaviours, their perceptions of the brand or idea, what else is being communicated to them, when and how they will watch the film… Then you start to see patterns, join the dots, make connections. You’re trying to find something that flicks a switch in you. Ideas are a wonderful thing when they take hold of you. They resonate and ring inside you. Turning that into something tangible is the tricky bit. Making sure that it is a sustainable idea that can carry through the knocks and changes as it comes to fruition. But when an idea is good, it’s like an arrow that cuts through everything.

Make sure you’re following Connected Pictures on Instagram to find out more about their late projects.


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