The journey of advertising creatives has been a fascinating story in itself. From dream merchants to story sellers, advertising creatives have certainly gone the distance. Over the time as television gained popularity it became clear to us that viewers were more interested in entertainment rather than messages. Message in itself held no value unless it had the power to engage people. This reinvention has its inspirations burgeoning from human history. A simple insight of human beings that has been exploited by religious preachers, travelers, wise men and even grandparents since time immemorial-People are interested in stories than preaching, events or even morals.
Stories have great power. Stories are how we convey our deepest emotions and talk about those things that we value the most. Epics like “Ramayan” or even “Panchatantra” amply demonstrate the appetite for stories. Take bedtime stories for instance, when a kid does something wrong we wait till its bedtime to narrate a moral story. Good moral stories are like homeopathic pills, while the sugar coating is entertainment, the medicine is the moral. It is this enlightenment of short Panchatantra type moral stories that become the basis for powerful 60 seconds stories in advertising.
Here is one such advertising story that stands in the list of my all-time favorites. This story was written by Agnello Dias while he was with Leo Burnett six years ago — the epic story for Times of India.
When DNA launched its paper in Mumbai, Times of India wanted to reiterate the paper's rich and long association with the country. With a brief like that, one would have fallen into dramatizing rich historic events, but Agnello came up with a brilliant observation about newspapers, saying that they bring-in good and bad news with the same emotions. So true. Take a look at the classified columns, you’ll see an obituary ad next to a “birth celebrations” ad. These observations lead Agnello to write a story of this newspaper delivering good and bad news to the same family.
It’s all about telling a great story in the simplest manner with a great insight or an observation thrown in. Whether you are writing a novel, short story, feature film or even a 60 second spot, the rules are the same: set up a conflict and resolve them in an inspiring way.
No wonder we still love homeopathic pills.
The author is National Creative Director, Leo Burnett