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Storytelling Ads – Google Stories

This week in my class, I've been talking a little bit about storytelling ads. I was prompted to do so for a number of reasons:

  1. watching what didn't really look like an ad but was in fact one (for Google), while watching 4od on the Xbox (see below)
  2. observing more and more big brand advertising using storytelling (where the brand / product is almost incidental) - an example being the new John Lewis Christmas ad
  3. a student wanting to do their postgraduate thesis on partnerships between famous directors / actors and brands, in short films (e.g. this Jaguar ad featuring Damian Lewis)

Here's the 'ad' that I saw (on 4od via Xbox - but I'm sure it'll also have been on TV):


Google have an entire YouTube channel devoted to stories and storytelling advertising is certainly getting more interesting -it's almost as if brands are trying to hide the fact that they are ads (because they know that shouty ADS simply don't work any more!).

Where once it was all about the shiny product, and how good the product is, it's now almost become bad etiquette to do traditional product advertising. I like that trend, by the way 🙂

You can find more analysis of Google's approach on the Loveable Marketing blog - specifically relating to how and why Google deploy storytelling ads in Germany (right now in fact!).

Here's the German clip from the article [German language required!]


And here's another English language Google story - this time set in London.


What do these stories have in common? They are about real people and their story, while powerfully communicating the USEFULNESS of Google's products to achieve what the people set out to do, and in that they are consumer-centric. The stories are also quite emotional and connect to a passion or desire of the people depicted.

This is a very smart strategy in the age of noise and FAR too much information. Brand communication needs to address how it can add value to the consumer and in digital, that's often through either being useful or entertaining. Elsewhere I have said that modern marketing MUST elicit an emotional response, in order to be successful.

I'll even hazard a guess and say that storytelling ads will be the key defining feature of 2014. And with the unstoppable rise of tablets, who are to overtake Christmas desktop / laptop PC sales for the first time this year, my other bet is that 2014 will also be the year of online video.

Storytelling + video = the secret juice to marketing success! Google, John Lewis, Three, and others are leading the way, and I for one can't WAIT to see more of actually really good stories, that also happen to be ads!







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