Got a Good Story Ad?

John Lewis Ad - UK
Last week my post at Copyblogger, How to Write Weapons Grade Copy, focused on the power of stories to hold the attention of a customer. Here’s a heartwarming ad from the UK department store John Lewis that shows how even a rather long (1.5 minutes) ad can keep a viewer engaged:

This ad is also a great example of an emotional sales pitch – no products, no sale prices, just the nice warm feeling and, of course, a subtle reminder that Christmas is just around the corner. (Via Mandy Lehto of Bravura Coaching.)

One of my all-time favorite narrative ads (I featured it in my It Really DOES Pay to Schmooze post) is the decades-old United Airlines spot:

One of the key elements in traditional short story writing is the ending, which is usually a surprise or twist. Not all story ads incorporate that approach, although both of the above ads do.

What’s YOUR Favorite Story Ad?

So, do you have a favorite ad that hooks the viewer (or reader) with a compelling story? Share it with Neuromarketing readers by leaving a comment with a link!

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— who has written 955 posts on Neuromarketing.

Roger Dooley writes and speaks about marketing, and in particular the use of neuroscience and behavioral research to make advertising, marketing, and products better. He is the primary author at Neuromarketing, and founder of Dooley Direct LLC, a marketing consultancy. Follow him on Twitter.

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12 responses to "Got a Good Story Ad?" — Your Turn

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Drunkenmaster 5. December 2011 at 12:49 pm

I like this one:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gR7VlFgy5pc
But all these story ads assume a high engagement of the customer which is often not the case, because the customers attention is somewhere else during a advertise break. In the John Lewis commerical there is no logo or brand which he or she can attach his or her emotions to. In the end they show the brand but what if the customer changes channel in between? The expensive commerical would have generated zero value on the customer.

I very much like your blog. Thanks for the input.

Reply

Roger Dooley
Twitter: rogerdooley
5. December 2011 at 1:00 pm

DM, that’s an excellent point. There’s some evidence that shows that once a viewer associates an ad with your brand, subsequent viewings (even if, say, fast forwarded) will enhance that association. In The Branded Mind, du Plessis describes a bank ad campaign that was so similar in appearance to a Gatorade commercial that the brand benefit accrued to Gatorade!

I agree that the limited brand exposure in the first ad is a potential liability – those who tune the ad out or fast-forward it may never get the connection. The idea, of course, is that a good story is so engaging that viewers won’t skip it, at least the first time.

I like the ad you suggested!

Roger

Reply

Chris Johnson 5. December 2011 at 1:54 pm

http://simplifilm.com/work is where we tell “stories”.

We want to make stories that work where people dont’ get lost in th emetaphor.

Reply

Phuong 9. December 2011 at 9:11 pm

I was suckered into feeling sorry for the lamp … Great ikea ad

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I07xDdFMdgw&feature=youtube_gdata_player

Reply

Roger Dooley
Twitter: rogerdooley
10. December 2011 at 10:47 am

Me too, Phuong. I wonder if the “sorry for the lamp” feeling will cause some viewers to question Ikea’s disposable approach to home furnishings?

Roger

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Tomek Jablonski
Twitter: tfjablonski
12. December 2011 at 1:38 am

Hey Roger,

Check this one out. It’s an ad for an investment firm called Allan Gray.

Reply

Roger Dooley
Twitter: rogerdooley
12. December 2011 at 1:49 pm

Good one, Tomek. I thought the setup was a bit long, but finish underscored the “long term thinking” point.

Roger

Reply

Tomek Jablonski
Twitter: tfjablonski
13. December 2011 at 11:30 am

Yes, I agree the setup took forever. The problem with all of these commercials is that if someone isn’t engaged right away then they might change the channel. How would you counteract that?

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Roger Dooley
Twitter: rogerdooley
13. December 2011 at 11:38 am

Well, you’ve got to hook people from the first frame. Ever notice how every James Bond film starts with a phenomenal action sequence before it gets into the less than exciting story setup about whatever bad guy has a new plan for world domination? :)

Reply

Tomek Jablonski
Twitter: tfjablonski
13. December 2011 at 11:44 am

It’s funny that you mention that. Check this commercial out:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ebEDj7ZkOuA
This has James Bond written all over it.

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Roger Dooley
Twitter: rogerdooley
13. December 2011 at 11:55 am

Wow, blatant ripoff of the James Bond film title sequences! Or, more charitably, a great homage to them.

Reply

Tomek Jablonski
Twitter: tfjablonski
13. December 2011 at 12:15 pm

Haha but you know it’s awesome.
I have a couple other commercials that I think you’ll like.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pXb2HvFuyNY

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WzKLBvnYVPE

http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&feature=endscreen&v=_-EyRUgp9Mk

Nike really knows what they’re doing. I used these as inspiration for a commercial I produced this summer. What do you think?

Reply

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