In Dropbox's Evocative New Ads, Every File Tells a Story
To gain a deeper understanding of her Mexican heritage, personal history and, ultimately, herself, Dominique King relies on Dropbox. She uses the service to collect and organize photographs, letters, postcards and other items that tell her family's story over the past 70 years.
We meet Dominique in the clip below, part of a new brand campaign from the agency Instrument that effectively portrays Dropbox as a trusted partner providing safe, reliable cloud storage for our most cherished digital mementos.
"Before she passed away, I got to share this collection with my grandmother," Dominique says in the video. "My great-grandparents, they tried to really embrace the American dream, and I think their heritage took a back seat. Until one day I found a suitcase full of our history. Finding and documenting all these files and mementoes really made me realize how beautiful and important my family history is."
Next, singer/songwriter/producer Chaz Bear (aka Toro y Moi) engages Dropbox for his "Human Research" passion project.
"I'm so attracted to the most mundane things," he says over images of empty playgrounds, spilled food on the sidewalk, sagging clotheslines and a weird smiley-faced water tower:
"This is like my version of bringing home a rock from every beach I go to all over the world," Chaz explains. "Everything isn't about being trendy or artsy. It's about accepting all of the parts that come with being here on Earth."
To some extent, the approach echoes brand-humanizing efforts from Adobe and WeTransfer, but it feels way more stripped-down. Instead of Lil' Nas X and FKA twigs, we get everyday folks like Dominique and Chaz—popular in his niche, but no superstar—sharing imminently relatable stories.
This anthem video previews forthcoming campaign installments:
"We really wanted to get back to a foundational truth about the value Dropbox brings to their customers," Instrument creative director Jack De Caluwé tells Muse. "We realized that their experience wasn't so much about the product itself, but what they were doing with it—that was what gave it value."
When it came time to select campaign subjects, "we talked to a wide variety of people, discussing their most important files and folders," De Caluwé says. "Those conversations were always intriguing, and at times peculiar. People weren't used to talking about their files or being asked questions like 'What is your most important file?' "
For example, "we knew Chaz had been using Dropbox as part of his music-making process, but once we started talking to him, we realized there was an even more interesting story to be told," De Caluwé says. "Chaz has spent years collecting screenshots, memories and rare internet findings. It's a collection of seemingly random things, but it paints such a distinct picture of who he is as a human."
Other elements of the brand platform, themed "For All Things Worth...", include OOH kiosks and installation featuring Dropbox customer files, and "MTV Cribs but make it Dropbox," an IG Stories offering that unpacks user folders in the style of the iconic TV show.
"There was something really intimate and raw about the process," De Caluwé recalls. "When you ask someone to share their life stories, oftentimes you get the big milestones, but these files seemed to serve as little time capsules for the finer, more nuanced details. That approach to storytelling was freeing for us, too. Rather than chasing celebrity endorsement, we were able to focus entirely on finding the stories that we felt were worth telling."
He adds: "My hope is that when people watch the films and the other creative, it triggers a feeling of reflection, a pause to consider their own files and digital artifacts. Maybe this campaign will give people the incentive to reconnect with some of their own files, see the value in keeping them safe and organized, and give them the home they deserve."
Sr. Director, Product Design: Collin Whitehead
Head of Brand Marketing: Dani Hussey
Executive Creative Director: Liz Gilmore
Associate Creative Director: Gabrielle Matte
Brand Marketing Manager: Willa Peng
Senior Producer: Ryan Wilson
Senior Creative Strategist: Etienne Ma
Designer: Pedro del Corro
Designer: Kelly Galeno Arce
Creative Director: Michael Jeter
Head of Brand Marketing: Liz Armistead
Senior Copywriter: LaDonna Willems
Executive Director: Beda Calhoun
Executive Producer: Hannah Carlton
Producer: Sarah Corey
Strategy Lead: Jessica Raschio
Research & Testing: John Whaley
Creative Director: Jack de Caluwé
Writer: Emma Dou
Senior Designer: Kylie Freeman
Senior Designer: Jeremie Rose Wimbrow
Junior Designer: Brandon Marshall
Motion Design Lead: Evan Gutt
Motion Designer: Symphony Allison
Motion Designer: Carlos Enciso
Motion Designer: Orland Nutt
Content Producer: Lindsey Marla
Production Coordinator: Dana Blaney
Photography: Jodi Heartz and Alex Blouin
Cinematography: Judah Switzer
Digi: Renaud Lafreniere
Voiceover Talent: Tasha Viets-VanLear
Music: Thomas Cepeda
Audio Engineer: Reed Harvey
Color Correction: Marc Ripper
DIT/AC: Gabe Twigg
1st Assistant: Dyllan Call
HMU SF: Patty Harding
HMU PDX: Beth Level