Optimistic Storytelling

Well what could’ve prompted this title? All advertising is optimistic about the manufacturers’ product or consumer’s future right? At the end of the day it plugs a need gap, sometimes gives an average product a second chance, makes bald people buy hair fortifying shampoo and so on. Of course most advertising is full of bubbling optimism. But there are a few that catch your eye and well just make you feel like you are reading a news article through rose tinted glasses.

This video came from a colleague (thanks An Roy) & triggered me really. I couldn’t resist sharing how simply they have woven the burst of happiness that comes from glugging a Coca Cola, into  something endearing. It is merely another perspective. lighter, more evocative…and countering a very palpable and aggressive daily bombardment of misery & misfortune. If fact they made pessimism & anxiety look really stale as an emotion. Thank goodness.



So as it goes, the real joy of storytelling is when it’s exciting, imaginative and to say the least involving. Am sure we all remember growing up with our dad and mom telling us the sweetest bedtime stories. Many were ridiculously unbelievable. But we liked that flight of fantasy. How I wish I could spend the rest of my marketing life doing just that. Weave fantasies that draw people into different worlds. Of course I can write a book & fulfill my desires, but then I need the money to travel world over. So I need to get it published. I need to sell it to tons of like-minded people. I need to mean business.

Advertising can give us all of that and more. Human truths let us fly into clouds of delightful stories & do that with business sense deftly woven into it. Some movies do that even better. One of my favorite films that engaged me in that realm and never left my movie-infested mind was one titled Big Fish. It was not about the screenplay, direction etc as much as it was about the Dad living his entire life from childhood through his role as father, in an awe-inspiring way. Big Fish reminded me that the child in me should never die. Whatever role I play in life.



That brings me to another real life episode that got into the news. The story of Joshua Kaufman and his stolen MacBook. And the hero of this piece, a software app titled ‘Hidden’ that uses the laptop’s webcam and other tools to capture photos of the user etc. Well he used this very software to track the alleged thief down. Now my conniving advertising mind made me think, “what if it was a hoax & in fact it was advertising for Hidden after all”. Much like the launch of the game ‘Grand Theft Auto’!! I searched for hidden clues (pardon the allusion) but found none. Then thought, “hey that’s a great way to market something that is contextually placed in pessimism, but has chance to garner social optimism”. And why not? It is imaginative (detective & conman story from our childhood), it uses gizmos (even James Bond did that), it bought buddies together (it’s fun shopping with friends around you’d agree) & it possibly got tons of hits on the application itself (anyone loves a buzz brand). Here it is…watch it and am sure each of you will head to their website at least once.



The downside of course is that it’s not hidden anymore. So potential thieves know it all. Of course there are many more examples. Am sure this post could do with a sequel. The point here is this: if we don’t see crafting stories as a burden (with/without human insights etc) and the product to be marketed merely through an R.T.B (reason to believe), maybe there is a way of telling exciting tales around it. The world is desperately in need of happy news. A brands’ task could always be to spread the good word. Word on how it solves problems, brings vitality, restores trust etc. Or then try and find its craziest flight of fantasy first and maybe later one can water that down. If you are successful, you’d have anyway found a story you’d love to tell your kids at bedtime.

Would love to hear more examples of optimistic storytelling from you. I really wish to fly high for a while. So go on spin a yarn.

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  1. btw I like the brewer’s pic u have picked

  2. For someone like me, far removed from marketing, I loved all those insights into brands & ads. What struck a chord was `fairytale flights of fantasy’ – yes, I think we all need to take that flight every once in a while, in every walk of life; and any ad that takes me there & leaves me with a smile on my face – works for me.

    • Sandhya Srinivasan |

      In that light I had quite liked an ad by Hippo…it was about eradicating bhook (hunger in a pun intended way for bribes, milawat etc). They had done it in a way that got you smiling but them you could label it as a category that works best with a laugh here & there. Snacking can’t get serious you know. We try as much as is possible & I will used a oft used quote stated by famed practitioner from my ilk i.e. people enjoy it when there is a ’suspension of disbelief’. Cheers to that.

  3. Love the post :) I’m all for rose tinted glasses :) hope our little contribution to happiness through brands makes it to the light of day !

  4. I am sure Hidden has gone out of business already. The poor guys were possibly just creating a customer base. And one eventful movie like episode turned counter productive.
    Good storytelling needs you to run out of ideas. Fantasies are not for the rational or creative thinker. But simple unfettered visualizers. Doesnt matter whether they are copywriters or art directors. Ideas have put them into bulbs that blind.

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