Writing a Message vs. Telling a Story

An email service I subscribe to, which purports to tell me the single coolest thing on the Web at that moment, pointed me to this TV ad today:

They raved about it, calling it, “the sweetest, most satisfying TV spot we’ve seen in (advertising) ages.”  I don’t know if I agree with that, but I do find it interesting.  I do NOT, however, find it compelling or valuable marketing.  It’s a one-off gimmick of cool filmography that tells me something I already know – you’re allowed to write stuff on baked goods.  It’s just a message.

Then, during my daily visit to the Dilbert blog, Scott Adams writes about how feelings are more effective at inducing lasting memories than simple experiences.  I think the same is true of stories, because stories (at least good ones) induce feelings  in people.  As Jerry Bader puts it,

“There is more money wasted on bad advertising than on any other business function. The reason is we try to apply rational, factual, and statistical criteria to a fundamentally emotional and psychological hierarchy of needs. Determine the appropriate need your product or services fulfills, apply a suitable storyline to its presentation, and your audience will sit-up and take notice.”

So much talk in traditional marketing circles is about BRANDING and MESSAGING.  People aren’t going to respond emotionally to a logo or a few lines of text – but they will if you tell a (good) story.

No blogging Monday or Tuesday – I’m taking a long Remembrance Day weekend.

Lest we forget.

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3 Responses to “Writing a Message vs. Telling a Story”

  1. CM Says:

    Advertisers who think they’re film makers have ruined the industry. That and the quest for awards over sales.

  2. CM Says:

    ..Pt. 2

    I subscribe to the “Napkin Test” (copyright 2008) for ads:
    If you can’t write the whole treatment for your spot on a napkin (on one side only) you’re not marketing, you masturbating.

    Good thing you have a napkin.


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