Monday, May 7, 2007

telling a story

Advertising is about telling a story.

These clips are about the Cadillac campaign ( from Modernista:
  • By telling its story, Cadillac has a chance to connect its heritage with the baby boomer generation.
  • Good advertising tells a story - but there are thousands of stories out there. Tens of thousands. But it's a company telling a story about itself. How credible is that?
  • We are all over brands telling us their stories. And what am I interested in? Finding the stories about others that sound, smell and look like my own story of myself.
I think good advertising tells a story where the brand is a character and the customer/user is a character. Consumers see themselves in the story, identify with its details, and opt-in via purchase. This is where planning comes in (we should really be the best storytellers at the agency).
  • Christopher Owens from The Richards Group says, "If an idea never reaches storymode, the briefing's going to suck." To him, a story is a compelling flow of logic.
  • Jen Urich says "get enough information to be able to do this."
Planners are mostly responsible for the big idea, at least honing in on it so it can inspire the creative process to be magical. And if the creative is done well, then there should be a story in place that consumers will pick up on and spread via word of mouth. The big idea/story we come up with should inspire others to tell it again and again.

Historically, stories have been shared as a means of entertainment, education, preservation of culture and to instill knowledge. They are frequently used to teach, explain and/or entertain. Wikipedia states that today, the vast entertainment industry is built upon a foundation of sophisticated multimedia storytelling. (connections planning?)

Also from Wiki: In narrative, a plot is the rendering and ordering of the events and actions of a story, particularly toward the achievement of some particular artistic or emotional effect. Planners, we are responsible for the plot/BIG IDEA.

Typical plot/big idea structure goes something like this:
  1. Initital situation ~ make it about the consumer: where are they? what's going on with them? inspire the story to move from here...
  2. Conflict/Problem ~ what was the insight? what problem can the brand/product/service solve for the consumer?
  3. Complication ~ to include or not to include, creatives can add details here to engage people
  4. Climax ~ highest point of interest (if you study quantitative, this is where emotion and attention flow should peak), level of engagement should be high, consumer's interest is peaked (think of how a creative brief should inspire and take the creatives to another level), the brand should take consumers to another level here.
  5. Suspense ~ again, to include or not to include, maybe think of the Got Milk? Campaign
  6. Resolution ~ brand/product/service fulfills a need
  7. Conclusion ~ call to action of some sort.
A solid narrative/storyline could/should contain these 7 Elements:
  1. point of view ~ single-minded voice/perspective (the big idea) Ask yourself what your story's message is, why it's important to tell and who your audience will be.
  2. dramatic question ~ engage consumers here, it may be an intriguing statement that causes the consumers to ask themselves a question
  3. emotional content ~ this is what everybody can relate to and what make stories so universal (understand fundamental human truths)
  4. voice ~ tone is important
  5. soundtrack ~ music is a great way to establish mood and complement your overall message (think of Rumblefish)
  6. economy ~ copywriters need to make every word count
  7. pacing ~ planning can come in here, think about how, where and when this story should be available to don't want to overwhelm, but you need to keep your presence consistent and top of mind.

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