Bernie Anderson
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the blog

Current musings, whatever they may be. 

Marketing is Great Story Telling

This weekend is the Super Bowl.

For many, this weekend is the academy awards of advertising. Some of the most expensive television commercials will premier on Sunday. For many, this is the entirety of the entertainment value for the afternoon (along with the puppy bowl.).

Some of the commercials will just try to be “funny” and come off as silly. We’ll shake our heads and think, “Well, that was dumb.” Millions of dollars for a reaction of SMH.

Then never think about them again. The ultimate failure in advertising.

The best commercials — the ones we’ll remember, the ones we'll be talking about on Monday — will tell a great story.

A dog and horse form a friendship, are separated, and beautifully reunited. There’s no real connection between this and cheap American lager, but everyone knows that’s a Budweiser advertisement.

A kid meets his favorite football player down and depressed after a crushing loss and hands him Coke, lifting his spirits and forming a bond between them.

A little kid who loves Star Wars so much he never takes off his Darth Vader mask is completely astounded when his own Dad uses “The Force” to close the back of the family Volkswagen. 

A lone runner sprints through a crowd of brainwashed drones and throws a sledgehammer at the screen, breaking the mesmerizing spell of the voice that held us all captive - as will the emergence of the Macintosh computer.

Advertising is storytelling because storytelling is the language that speaks to the human soul. Stories move our imagination, thus compelling us to change. We buy products because we want to be a part of the story the product tells.

(Or because it is easy.  That’s the other side of the advertising equation).

Behavior change has everything to do with telling the right stories.

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