Advertising tells a story

Once upon a time…

Are you sitting comfortably?… Once upon a time a chap called Christopher Booker wrote a book about the basis of storytelling called The Seven Basic Plots. Essentially, it suggests that all stories can be traced to one of 7 plots, 7 recurring thematics to which all stories are confined.

Adweek references these 7 plots and their relation to modern advertising in a really interesting piece entitled 7 Basic Types of Stories: Which One Is Your Brand Telling

In this digital age, story telling becomes a whole different medium. Stories aren’t just words in print, nor are they simply pixels on screen. They are living, breathing entities; cannabalised, deconstructed and easily misinterpreted in a matter of minutes through social media and other online channels.

The John Lewis Snowman campaign is a prime example. A well made emotive advert, part journey, part quest, encouraging consumers to ‘give a little more love this Christmas’. Almost immediately hi-jacked by viral videos promoting Anne Summers quipping that consumers really give a little more ‘love‘ this festive season. No affiliation to Anne Summers is known or implied and the video was posted by a YouTube user known to parody ads, but if they were that reactive to it, good on them. The hi-jacked viral got significant views and coverage before being removed for copyright violation, somewhat detracting from the key message from John Lewis.

What can be learned? Modern brand storytelling needs to adapt to the online medium. It shouldn’t be to the detriment of the story, the core message, but it should always be a consideration. It’s becoming increasingly more difficult to ensure that your advertising will have a happy ending.

The End.


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