DHD Films Take Mailers Into the Future With Video

Earlier this month, a select group of Iowa and New Hampshire voters received a special delivery from Right to Rise, the super PAC behind Jeb Bush. On the outside, it looked like a typical booklet-style campaign mailer. Once the cover is lifted, though, a small screen zaps to life and plays a short documentary chronicling Jeb Bush’s political career. The use of this new and seemingly expensive technology has attracted plenty of media attention—which, no doubt, was exactly what Right to Rise had intended.

The use of this new and seemingly expensive technology has attracted plenty of media attention—which, no doubt, was exactly what Right to Rise had intended.

DHD Films, a Dallas-based award-winning video production and motion graphics studio, is the company behind this innovation. Essentially, the video brochure is a simple, lightweight screen meant for showcasing short videos. The company was founded in 2000 by Shezad Manjee, a third-generation filmmaker with a background in photography. He runs the company with his brother, Hussain, who serves as president and chief success officer. Since its inception, DHD has evolved from a event-based production company to a full-service studio with focus on content strategy and video analytics. They have created videos for a wide range of clients that include both small start-ups and big corporations like H&M, Microsoft, McKesson, and AT&T. DHD has also created videos for nonprofits including the North Texas Food Bank, The Birthday Party Project, and the YWCA. The company strongly emphasizes storytelling—in fact, the main page of the DHD website features, in large type, the words “Powered by Storytellers”—and their videos run the gamut from fun to exciting to touching. They blend personal interviews with detailed close-ups to create rich and compelling mini-stories, whether the video centers on an event, a company’s identity, or is instructional in nature.

“In the age of YouTube and Twitter and Facebook, how do you negotiate someone spending 90 seconds with your message? What value are you delivering in that 90 seconds?” Manjee asks. “We want to connect with people at the emotional level.”

“We want to connect with people at the emotional level,” Manjee says.

Despite the recent attention the platform has received, Manjee emphasizes that the technology behind the brochure is not the most important part—after all, that’s just an LCD screen, battery, and memory. The video itself is still the thing that will command (or lose) someone’s attention—and at making videos, Manjee says that DHD is the best.

“People are not going to talk about it if the content isn’t engaging,” Manjee says. “Apple isn’t the only smartphone, but they’re the best because of their user interface—not because of the technology. We can mirror the technology with the user experience.”

It’s also a great way for recruiting firms to set themselves apart from the competition’s typical paper brochure or coffee mug.

Manjee, who was born in Pakistan and grew up in Chicago, calls himself lucky to be in Dallas, where he’s lived since 1997. He stresses the importance of giving back to the community; one of his favorite projects is the video that DHD Films made for the North Texas Food Bank volunteer orientation.

“I think we’re benefactors of a great economy and a great city. There’s so much opportunity in Dallas,” Manjee says. “We’re living proof that people want to work with other people who care about the community.”

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