Successfully reported this slideshow.
We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime.

Pecha Kucha @ Vision Bristol 2011

867 views

Published on

A short opinion piece I delivered at the Pecha Kucha session at the Vision conference.

http://visionbristol.com/

Published in: Business, Education
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

Pecha Kucha @ Vision Bristol 2011

  1. 1. 1 <ul><li>Hello </li></ul><ul><li>Busy day, dark, and nearly bedtime </li></ul><ul><li>How about a story to help you unwind and relax. </li></ul><ul><li>Because that’s very now isn’t it? To talk about brand narrative, story arc and the like. </li></ul><ul><li>Why should this be? </li></ul>
  2. 2. 2 <ul><li>Once upon a time we were constrained </li></ul><ul><li>By 30 seconds on TV </li></ul><ul><li>Or the 48 sheets of a poster. </li></ul><ul><li>But now, there’s so much of the internet. We must fill it up. How do we fill it up? </li></ul><ul><li>As so often, the removal of constraints on creative people does not help. </li></ul><ul><li>The stories are getting worse </li></ul><ul><li>Their impact is diminished. </li></ul>
  3. 3. 3 <ul><li>But, perhaps because of the nature of the media, its’ ability to measure the effect rather than the effectiveness of everything has led us to talk of… </li></ul><ul><li>Content and engagement </li></ul><ul><li>Which are horrid words, with no joy or art in them. </li></ul><ul><li>So what makes a good story? </li></ul>
  4. 4. 4 <ul><li>You need a hero. You don’t have to like them, but you do have to care what happens to them. </li></ul><ul><li>Heroes are not perfect - they have flaws. </li></ul><ul><li>A brand can be flawed too. Maybe it stubbornly only does one thing, which limits NPD, but makes consumers love it all the more. </li></ul><ul><li>Celebrate these flaws - don’t remove them. </li></ul>
  5. 5. 5 <ul><li>Now what do you do with your hero? Well, Kurt Vonnegut put it like this: </li></ul><ul><li>“ Be a sadist. No matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them—in order that the reader may see what they are made of.” </li></ul><ul><li>This is the classic advertising torture test. </li></ul><ul><li>Show the brand under duress </li></ul>
  6. 6. 6 <ul><li>From stubborn stains to ground in grime, brands have always been good at putting themselves in difficult circumstances to show how they perform. </li></ul><ul><li>Ok, so it’s not Hamlet having his Father murdered and his Uncle marrying his Mother. </li></ul><ul><li>But it is the same structure. </li></ul><ul><li>You show what you’re made of when faced with Mr Kipling’s triumph or disaster </li></ul>
  7. 7. 7 <ul><li>More about heroes and characters. They must ‘quest’ they must want something. </li></ul><ul><li>For brands it must be more than you simply to buy them. A good example of this would be Ikea and their ‘chuck out your chintz’ campaign from a few years ago. </li></ul><ul><li>Aligned to more than just a profit motive, but also to Ingvar Kamprad’s original vision for Ikea which was ‘to create a better life for the many’. </li></ul><ul><li>Called on us to stop Tudorbethaning and chintzing and become modern. </li></ul>
  8. 8. 8 <ul><li>So it was also a test of us, the consumer, or to go back to storytelling – the reader. </li></ul><ul><li>It challenged us, through the prism of our hero’s quest and desire, to question our own choices and perhaps to change. </li></ul><ul><li>This is what art does. What a good story does. It tests us. </li></ul><ul><li>It challenges, forces us to reconsider our beliefs or our perception of things. </li></ul>
  9. 9. 9 <ul><li>A hard nut for marketing to crack in stories. </li></ul><ul><li>To move. To affect. To prompt action and hardest of all, change. </li></ul><ul><li>It’s especially hard because we are, for the most part, trying to get people to do casual everyday things. </li></ul><ul><li>All of which leads me back to where we started, in looking at the way brands are behaving in new media, at the stories they are crafting and communicating… </li></ul>
  10. 10. 10 <ul><li>Brands are opting for history. </li></ul><ul><li>History is written by the victors, or at least the brand owners. </li></ul><ul><li>Provenance can be scripted. </li></ul><ul><li>On the web, no-one can alter your ‘About Us’ page </li></ul><ul><li>What do you think of…? </li></ul>
  11. 11. 11 <ul><li>Why is this so wrong? It’s because it’s tell, tell, tell tales. </li></ul><ul><li>It breaks one of the fundamental rules of creative writing – which is SHOW, don’t tell. </li></ul><ul><li>Tell. At 40, Peter was bald,and still nervous about public speaking. </li></ul><ul><li>Show. “Peter rubbed a hand across his shaven head, the bristle of his departed hair distracting him momentarily from the tight knot binding his stomach. He was losing his place, and losing his audience…” </li></ul>
  12. 12. 12 <ul><li>It’s no surprise really </li></ul><ul><li>We don’t take care, consider, and craft anecdotes for each other anymore. </li></ul><ul><li>We are simply in transmit mode, constantly recounting endless stories verbatim to each other as they unfolded. </li></ul>
  13. 13. 13 <ul><li>Brands are therefore simply mimicking the behaviour of their consumers. </li></ul><ul><li>We’ve become all tell, and no show. </li></ul><ul><li>Which is why, when a brand uses a bit of rather wonderful old fashioned ‘show’ in their story, we are all awed and agog. </li></ul><ul><li>The brand I’m talking about is John Lewis, and in particular their Christmas TV ad. </li></ul>
  14. 14. 14 <ul><li>One of their major competitors, M&S, may have co-opted the show contestants to appear in their TV ad, but it’s John Lewis that has the X Factor. </li></ul><ul><li>Why? Because it understands, like the TV show itself, that the provenance of the artists is merely context. </li></ul><ul><li>It’s what, in the movie business, they call ‘exposition’, </li></ul><ul><li>Background information. Interesting, but not central. </li></ul>
  15. 15. 15 <ul><li>So it can be very dull. In fact, Humphrey Bogart memorably said </li></ul><ul><li>“ Whenever I have to deliver exposition, I hope they put two camels behind me fucking so the audience'll have something interesting to look at ” </li></ul><ul><li>X Factor understands that it’s the back story you tell, but it’s the show you sell. </li></ul>
  16. 16. 16 <ul><li>We’re invited to vote on the artists performance. To judge them on the show they put on,and their ability to move us, to act, even to buy. </li></ul><ul><li>The ‘Live Show’ is storytelling with a purpose. </li></ul><ul><li>Which is what, on a commercial level, is what advertising and marketing remains. </li></ul>
  17. 17. 17 <ul><li>The John Lewis ad doesn’t feature any kettles, jumpers, bedspreads, or most importantly, prices. </li></ul><ul><li>It doesn’t tell me anything. It shows me a sentimental, schmaltzy, but powerful evocation of the commercial meaning of Christmas. </li></ul><ul><li>Why has the potent storytelling of the John Lewis ad become so rare? Why have we stopped showing, and simply resorted to telling? Perhaps because it’s harder. </li></ul>
  18. 18. 18 <ul><li>Putting on a show. Entertaining and truly engaging </li></ul><ul><li>Is harder than just telling somebody some facts. </li></ul><ul><li>Show a brand in conflict or triumphing in adversity is a more difficult task than simply telling the consumer that it washes whiter. </li></ul><ul><li>But it’s worth doing. Because this is the best use of your creativity, of your art, in a story. </li></ul>
  19. 19. 19 <ul><li>For anyone can tell a story, but show, design, illustrate, photograph, shoot, basically CREATE, and </li></ul><ul><li>If you capture the point, the theme, the feeling that you want to convey </li></ul><ul><li>You’re far more likely to get people to take it on at a deep, emotional level. </li></ul>
  20. 20. 20 <ul><li>And if we can all do that this Christmas, then we, and the brands we work on can all live happily ever after. </li></ul>

×