It’s very common as a creative to feel a little separated from the day to day. We are so engrained in ‘the world of branding’ that we have a very skewed perspective on what a good ad is.
From my perspective, I believe that good storytelling is what decides if a piece of work or campaign is successful. After all, it’s a good story that sticks with us and is something we are more likely to remember and repeat. Good storytelling captivates the mind and heart of the listener.
Two I Like
Here is an example of a great piece of work that for me, which appeals to my personal experiences.
I would spend hours glaring at my father’s records and CD album covers as a child. It’s what got me interested in the type of music I listen to now. As the way we consume music evolved, there was this whole storytelling aspect that seemed to have gotten lost. The album art. Album art was this extension of storytelling for musicians.
It set up an entire world in our minds, and gave the concept of an album something more visually tangible and added to someone’s listening experience. Spotify understood this with the release of Canvas, and bringing this to life through a tangible physical store. Spotify breathed life back into the excitement of discovering new music and reviving this added layer of the physical storytelling experience.
Mac and Honor of Kings
As storytellers its extremely important to make sure that we are relevant. This next piece of work, in my opinion, is pure genius. The gaming industry is making a huge splash in culture right now. As an avid video gamer myself, I love that people are beginning to see the importance and creativity gaming brings to the table. Whoever thought the beauty industry and the gaming industry could collaborate so seamlessly?
MAC collaborated with the wildly popular game in China, ‘Honor of Kings’ which has an active player base of nearly 200 million people per month. On top of that over half the players are female, sharing the same age demographic of 10-25 years old. MAC released five co-branded lipsticks that featured the lip color of 5 well-known characters.
With gaming making a massive impact in culture right now, MAC found a way to be hyper-relevant, and tap into an industry that, when you look into it, is actually not so far removed from the beauty industry.
One I Don’t Like
As far as an ad I don’t like. Well, this next one goes without saying, Dolce & Gabbana’s disastrous video piece.
Instead of captivating hearts, it angered viewers. Not because of poor art direction or production. In fact, it was a good looking video. But the storytelling was trying so hard to be edgy that it didn’t consider what it represented.
As a foreigner working in China, a country with so much pride, many nuances, subcultures and trends, it is imperative that I understand the societal dialogue and sentiments. I often need to shift my own way of thinking and draw inspiration from the stories being told around me. Respect that which you know little about.
Here is where I make my final point dear reader. Not all stories are good stories, and not everyone can tell a good story. Good storytellers require a willingness to listen first.