On November 1, UM Studios played host to Oscar-nominated director Morgan Spurlock (Supersize Me, The Greatest Movie Ever Sold) and YouTube sensation Freddie W as they kicked off “Stories That Spark” at Milk Studios in New York City.

After opening remarks by Daryl Lee, Global CEO, who affirmed UM’s commitment to putting storytelling at the heart of the agency, UM’s Global Chief Content Officer and global head of UM Studios, Scott Donaton, and Tara Poto, head of UM Studios U.S., discussed how brand storytelling sparks conversations and allows brands to own conversations that matter in culture and in their category. They also showcased some of the best work from across the globe created for clients including Garnier, Rogaine, Sony MTV, USPS, Dart YouTube and PowerAid.

The morning progressed with a lively panel discussion moderated by Brendan Gaul, SVP Managing Partner, Creative Director, J3, with panelists, YouTube artist, Freddie W; Lauren Schneider, Product Director, Consumer Marketing for ACUVUE Contact Lenses; and Margo Plotkin, Digital & Brand Packaging Executive, Creative Artists Agency.

The highlight of the day was the energetic and informative one-on-one between Scott Donaton and Oscar-nominated director Morgan Spurlock. Infusing insight with wit, Mr. Spurlock delighted the audience of over 170, recounting his experiences of creating his own unique brand of storytelling, funding his many projects and how he envisions the integration of brands into stimulating stories. “There are great opportunities for brands to come in and align themselves with things that are true to their DNA,” he stated.

We couldn’t agree more. And as Sarah Personette, U.S. President, UM wrapped up the festivities, there was no doubt about the power of storytelling, its importance in culture and in brand identity and UM’s commitment to creative and innovative work.

Following the presentations, guests were invited to view eight inventive art installations, representative of each case study presented, in a gallery-style setting.