Importance of creative storytelling in modern advertising

By Media Merchants

Often considered the father of advertising, David Ogilvy famously once said, “tell the truth but make the truth fascinating. You know you can’t bore people into buying your product, you can only interest them into buying it”. 

In a modern world where marketing has evolved to be so much more than a snappy headline and a black and white image, creativity and innovation have sometimes taken a hit. The rise of data-driven advertising has resulted in consumers receiving more than their fair share of heavily targeted (or worse, poorly targeted) ads with no heart. While we may know more than ever about our ideal customers, the challenge is how to use this information to create consumer-centric storytelling. 

Storytelling is essential. Effective storytelling makes the viewer feel something. It humanises your brand. It allows brands to seamlessly weave their product into the narrative and demonstrate how it can be used. And it is the only way to get your audience to view and engage with your creative in a skippable world. People skip ads. They watch stories. 

And storytelling doesn’t just help grow engagement, it also increases ad recall. Research from the Stanford Graduate School of Business showed that stories are up to 22 times more memorable than facts and figures alone. And storytelling literally lights up your brain. Using a process called neural coupling, the listener who hears the story will empathise with it by relating it to their own thoughts and experiences, creating a much deeper relationship with your brand and product. 

Rather than focusing on making great creative, focus on telling a great story. And use the creative format that allows you to most completely tell that story. There’s nothing wrong with a single image and snappy headline, provided the story is self-contained and the viewer is left feeling how you want them to. Like the below example by Spotify. It uses data-driven insights relating to trending moments in pop-culture to demonstrate Spotify’s irreverent brand personality while highlighting the extremely wide array of songs available to stream on their platform. 



[1] The Business Quotes https://www.thebusinessquotes.com/david-ogilvy-quotes/

[1] Stanford University https://womensleadership.stanford.edu/stories

[1] Businesses Grow https://businessesgrow.com/2018/11/06/power-of-brand-storytelling/ [1] Spotify https://www.businessinsider.com.au/spotify-global-ad-campaign-signing-off-2016-2016-11?r=UK

Another example is this ad from Proctor and Gamble. Watching the ad, you’re immediately taken on a simple but powerful journey that highlights the different emotions we all go through as humans while reinforcing that equality and inclusion are core values for the Proctor and Gamble brand. The ad leaves you feeling warm and hopeful and is easily relatable.

In the end, by focussing on great storytelling, you will be able to create a deeper, more meaningful connection with your customers and create messages that endure over time.