People respond to story. It’s a truth that is old as time. We long for story, we hunger for story. These days, the best commercials and ads are not those that sell a product, but those that tell a story and align their product with that story. While you may not have the million dollar ad budgets that giant companies have, there is certainly something you can learn from them when it comes to creating your own advertising and marketing. Probably the best tips you can pick up is how to incorporate story into your local marketing. Here is a look at 4 industry giants and how they use story in their advertising.
1.) Guiness Beer
One thing to notice about this commercial for Guiness Beer is that you never even see the brand name until the very end of the commercial. Guinness feels – and quite rightly, I believe – that the commercial itself will be so memorable that you will never forget the brand name associated with it.
In this heartwarming Apple commercial, not only do you not see the brand name until the very end of the commercial, but the Apple products “Frankie” uses throughout the commercial are so subtly placed you hardly even recognize what he is using. What Apple is “selling” in this commercial is not a product but a brand. Your branding will be every bit as important to your marketing as your product is, so before you go and spend any kind of advertising dollars, make sure you have a solid plan for branding your service or company.
For years now, Budweiser has essentially won the Super Bowl with their heartwarming commercials often featuring puppies or small adorable animals like this one for the 2015 Super Bowl. However, “story” doesn’t always need to be so straightforward. Story can also be told through subtext, like this commercial for the 2016 Super Bowl. The subtext of this commercial – partially told through graphics – is “we’re big, we’re strong, we’re powerful – we’re not “ponies” and drinking beer isn’t a “hobby” it’s a way of life. So if you’re a big, strong, beer drinking AMERICAN, you drink Budweiser.” In the film/ video world, there is a saying “show, don’t tell”- so while Budweiser does use graphics to tell their story, they use them very sparingly and don’t “drive their point home.” They still let the images tell the story, not the words.
In 2012, Nike hired film-maker Casey Neistadt to film a commercial for him. This was not Neistadt’s first time working with Nike, so they had no reason to believe anything would be different this time around. Neistadt pitched them a concept, they gave him a budget, and he took the money and ran – literally. He and his editor Max Joseph hopped on a plane and traveled to 16 cities in 13 countries in 10 days – filming the entire event as they went. When they got back, they cut and edited this commercial for Nike. Notice that the product they were hired to promote is only shown once at the beginning of the 4:37 short film. What Nike is selling is not a product but a lifestyle that they hope you will use their product to achieve.
Story is becoming more and more recognized as being an integral part of effective marketing. Another tip you can take from the industry giants is that all of these videos are available on YouTube where they can 1.) post for free and 2.) are not limited to :30 or :60 seconds. This leaves the field wide open for using their techniques without needing to have their budget.