May 5, 2016

Advertising is Dead and Other Stone Cold Truths

A movement has begun. People usually don’t want to hear what your brand wants to tell them, and they have eleventy million ways now to avoid your advertising.

They want to engage with content in the form of authentic stories, and brands, creators, and television networks are quickly getting on board.

Advertising is moving into the open arms of storytelling.

Forward-thinking brands know the path to engagement is through emotion, humor, education, or entertainment. How often do you cry during a television commercial? Unless you’re pregnant and watching a Hallmark ad, the answer is hardly ever.

However, if the content is some form of unscripted storytelling, you will be engaged and are 1000% more likely to cry. Ok, that’s a not-so-scientific stat, but it is based on this truth.

Teleflora knows this and capitalizes on it.

Their brand is based on emotion; it’s tied inexorably to the emotional reasons people send flowers… the giddy, heart-bursting happiness of falling in love, the screaming monster called Guilt that eats at you for messing up a relationship, and the aching sympathy we all feel at a loved ones’ loss.

This story taps into the love and appreciation most people feel for our mothers:

This spot in the series also works because of its timeliness.

It’s an oldie-but-goodie trick of PR to wrap some content into a date or season (in this case, Mother’s Day) to get more coverage, and it still works.

I guarantee this series will be making the rounds on social media again this year, making what seems like a seasonal piece of content much more evergreen content. The story itself is timeless.

Advertisers are definitely taking note and even Ad Age is saying brands should “skip ads and start telling stories.”

The bar for sharing an ad with your friends and followers is much higher than with a piece of authentic storytelling. If it involves real people, you’re more likely to see it as having tangible value, especially if it’s meant to uplift or inspire.

Teleflora’s piece is exactly the kind of piece people share, to the tune of 11 million and counting. What brand wouldn’t want that?

Since I couldn’t say this better, thanks to Scott Donaton @sdonaton:

“The golden age of advertising may be coming to a close, but the golden age of storytelling is just getting started. Don’t skip it.”

Exciting stuff! Think of the possibilities for your brand.

Have you seen (or created) a great example of authentic storytelling in a video story lately? Whether it’s a corporate video, advertising, marketing, or internal communications, please send it to me and I will share it.