Making Job Search Easier by Finding the Great Companies First

Find a
Title/Key­words Com­pa­ny Name
Where Search
City, state or zip (option­al)
City, state or zip (option­al)
Job title, key­words Com­pa­ny Name Only


True storytelling: the creative successor to branded content in advertising?

A lead­ing cre­ative has offered some sage advice to fel­low cre­atives from online adver­tis­ing agen­cies: whether you’re a copy­writer on an art direc­tor, if you want to tru­ly appeal to today’s hyper-con­nect­ed, social con­sumer, drop brand­ed con­tent and learn to love true sto­ry­telling instead.

Minds, hearts and stories

Jon Hamm, Chief Cre­ative and Inno­va­tion Offi­cer at the glob­al mar­ket­ing firm Momen­tum World­wide, believes the dis­tinc­tion between the two is piv­otal. In a recent arti­cle for Adweek, he describes it like this:

“Sto­ries rely on the intend­ed audi­ence to devel­op their own imagery and detail to com­plete and, most impor­tant­ly, to co-cre­ate, where­as con­tent does not. Con­tent is pri­mar­i­ly cre­at­ed in the inter­nal mind of the con­tent orig­i­na­tor, with no heed to the mind or to the con­text of the audience.”

Think about it, all you imag­i­na­tive art direc­tors and copy­writ­ers: as Hamm argues, the work of the great­est sto­ry­tellers is high­ly evoca­tive, cre­at­ing unique, indi­vid­ual expe­ri­ences with­in the mind of the audi­ence. And as humans are the only ani­mals for whom sto­ry­telling is an inher­ent fea­ture of life – the chief means by which the accu­mu­lat­ed val­ues, beliefs and wis­dom of pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tions is trans­mit­ted – it’s a key means of deeply involv­ing peo­ple. As Hamm puts it, audi­ences have nev­er asked for con­tent; they want sto­ries instead.

Evoke the consumer’s creativity

Draw­ing on the work of the Ger­man lit­er­ary the­o­rist Wolf­gang Iser, Hamm main­tains that art direc­tors and copy­writ­ers would do well to view read­ers as active agents impart­ing a ‘real exis­tence’ to their work and imbu­ing it with their own inter­pre­ta­tions. No tale, Iser argued, can ever be told in its entire­ty, and Hamm believes this nugget of wis­dom has direct rel­e­vance to adver­tis­ing: don’t try and tell a sto­ry in its entire­ty, have faith in the cre­ativ­i­ty of those who read it instead. That’s the way to “tru­ly res­onate emo­tion­al­ly with our audi­ence,” he says.

We now live in a world where prod­ucts aren’t the only thing an audi­ence con­sid­ers; a brand’s val­ues and the feel­ings they elic­it are equal­ly impor­tant, and accord­ing to Hamm, this gives mar­keters a pow­er­ful oppor­tu­ni­ty to unite an idea with an emo­tion when cre­at­ing an ad. And for him, indis­putably, the best way to do that is through storytelling.

His con­clu­sion?

“Con­tent is dead. Long live storytelling.”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email