Mathew Weiner talks about the history of advertising and how it hasn’t changed from the 1960’s. He emphasizes nothing has changed about the message. What is the unique property of the product, where can you stand out in the marketplace, what distinguishes you from others and what benefit hard and soft are you providing to the end consumer.
Storytelling and experience design play a large role in the purchase decision path with the proliferation of digital. Robert Mckee has a great excerpt on the power of story.
Q: Are there basic components to what makes for a compelling story?
Robert McKee: This question literally takes 500 pages of my book Story to answer. It is the equivalent of asking a question such as, “What are the basic components of music?” or “What are the basic components of painting?” Trying to determine what is basic is very difficult. Some people, for example, think dialogue is a basic component of story. But not in a silent film. Not in ballet. There are various forms of story told beautifully in various media that have no common elements with other forms. So determining exactly what elements are basic depends on the medium of expression.
But let me try to answer that question by making a simple and clear definition of story itself. Story begins when an event, either by human decision or accident in the universe, radically upsets the balance of forces in the protagonist’s life, arousing in that character the need to restore the balance of life. To do so, that character will conceive of what is known as an “Object of Desire,” that which they feel they need to put life back into balance. They will then go off into their world, into themselves, in the various dimensions of their existence, seeking that Object of Desire, trying to restore the balance of life, and they will struggle against forces of antagonism that will come from their own inner natures as human beings, their relationships with other human beings, their personal and/or social life, and the physical environment itself. They may or may not achieve that Object of Desire; they may or may not finally be able to restore their life to a satisfying balance. That, in the simplest possible way, defines the elements of story – an event that throws life out of balance, the need and desire to restore the balance, and the Object of Desire the character conceives of consciously or unconsciously that they can pursue against the forces of antagonism from all of the levels of their life that they may or may not achieve.