The story IS the Story

Today's guest post is by Jason Dodd, Director of Creative Services, H2O Creative Division of Peppercomm

God-made-a-farmer-ram-trucks-super-bowl-adBy now you’ve probably read endless variations of the winners and losers of this year’s Super Bowl commercials, whether this season’s crop was better or worse than last year, etc. What you haven’t heard is why we seem to care about this at all. It’s simple, really. People love good stories. And we really love GREAT stories. And in today’s time-starved world, if you can tell a great story in 30 seconds people love it even more.
Take the Budweiser ad about the Clydesdale and his trainer. It was an epic emotional story told in 60 seconds. Of lives lived, friendships lost and then found. Pretty heady stuff for a commercial to tackle.  If you were rooting for the 49ers at the end of the 4th quarter, this ad may have had you in tears even before the game ended.
Or what about the two minute commercial from Dodge, ‘God made a farmer’. Narrated by Paul Harvey, it tells a great story about the unsung heroes all over America. Powerful stuff. In fact, it actually overshadowed its sponsor, creating a strong emotional connection with the viewer that might have been better suited for the American Farm Bureau or other industry association.
In each instance, and many others throughout the evening, great storytelling was the foundation for some truly remarkable commercials. And if a picture is worth a thousand words, the theme was to use as few words and images as possible to tell a great story.
Whether you come from a branding, communications or advertising background, we would all do well to keep that simple thought top-of-mind.
Commercials will continue to endure and people will continue to care if the storytellers remember to embrace substance over special effects and connect with their audiences at an emotional level.

One thought on “The story IS the Story

  1. I’m not buying what you’re selling, JD. Yes, these ads were good examples of storytelling in 60 seconds or less, but what net result will these brands derive out of their investment? Will they sell more beer or cars? Will they build great visibility and trust with the consumer? Show me these numbers and then we can judge their effectiveness.