Anyone who watched the Super Bowl this year was subject to some very powerful and poignant story telling. Of course, I don't mean Tom Brady's incredible comeback win over the Atlanta Falcons. In my opinion, that's relatively boring story telling with no character arc: the lead character exits the story exactly as he came in; "the best". (Cheering for the Patriots is akin to cheering for the Borg). Rather I'm talking about the commercials.
It's no secret that the Super Bowl is known for a lot more than football; the Half Time Show and the Ads bring a whole new audience to the spectacle. It is the one time of year where people get excited about commercials instead of groaning and waiting for the Skip Ad button to finish counting down. Companies spend big money to get these ads in front of an audience that has come to expect to be entertained.
1. Story Is King
If you ask me the most powerful, memorable, and funny commercials all told a great story. Sure a few companies decided to rely on the star power of Justin Bieber rather than engaging the audience with great stories; but for me the best ones were all about the story. Let's be honest for a second; most of these stories are more compelling than every DC Universe Movie thus far. It's important to note that a lot of these stories contained ZERO product education. They are driving hard to pull at your emotions, to make you laugh, to make you well up, to make you feel your humanity. This type of connection plants a seed inside the viewer, it changes your internal bias for (or against) the company that presents the story.
2. Quality Matters
Are these Ads vying for a Cinematography Oscar or what? Video content comes in all shapes and sizes and there is an abundance of highly engaging and entertaining content that is filmed on iPhones so why do we need to worry about "cinematography"? I think there are a couple of good reasons to make quality a main priority. The first is that a good story met with eye catching visuals places the audience directly into the story. Film is a powerful medium that connects with it's audience in a completely unique way. The second is that quality elevates the brand; when a brand/company put out a video, it serves as a window to what the brand values. While there are certain markets well served by a run and gun approach, no business would be poorly served by high production values and the right story. Speaking of values...
3. Use Your Voice
The time for silence has past, I believe we will see more and more companies using their voice and standing up for what they believe in. I don't think it is political, I think it is human. In a time where social turmoil is at the top of everyone's mind, people are searching for leaders. This creates a unique opportunity for brands to step up and use their existing platforms to stand for something positive. I think we are entering into an era where the lines between individuality and branding image will start to blur; consumers want to buy from brands that align with their personal beliefs and how they want people to see them. When the world is ran by polarizing figures, the days of neutrality are numbered.
So what does this mean? I think when we utilize story to connect with our clients, not only do we have an opportunity to provide customers with great products and services but we can actually improve their lives via the delivery platform. Stories are one of humanities strongest assets and it is a great honor to be able to use them to reach people.
Aaron Sinclair (@and_sinclair)