There are many campaigns that resonate with me, ads that inspire me, brilliant placements that make me smile and pieces of work (that even though I know better) compel me to go out and purchase whatever product is being marketed. There are many elements to a great campaign, from clever copy to beautifully designed artwork, but one thing that has always stood out for me in great campaigns, is their ability to communicate a story.
It’s been discussed time and time again, that at the heart of every great brand, is a great story. And it would make sense that this would be true for the campaigns that surround these brands as well. I’ve discussed the power of storytelling in digital before, but beyond that, brands are using stories to craft campaigns that inspire their audiences and get people talking.
Skype’s Family-Portrait Series
A campaign that I absolutely love at the moment is Pereira & O’Dell’s emotionally charged long-form video content for Skype’s Family-Portrait Series. Each video is about 3 minutes long, and communicates the stories of families and friends separated by distance but still able to connect through technology. I’ll admit, they can come across contrived to some, but even so, as someone living in a different city to the one she grew up in, it struck a cord.
And this campaign, while telling the story of a brand’s users, also tells the story of the brand itself. This is a brand that creates connections and the campaign explores how people from all over the world use the product differently. It engages us because it makes Skype incredibly real, because these are our stories. Just have a look at their ‘Stay together’ story contest to see the hundreds of real-life submissions from all over the globe of people sharing their stories of how Skype has helped them stay together.
Tension Is Why It Works
What makes this campaign so great in my opinion is that the conflict has clearly been defined: distance, heartache, longing, loneliness. Things which we don’t want to deal with or experience, but watching others grapple with this tension is what keeps us captivated to our screens and watching these ads. Through this, Skype has become the "hero". They’re the brand that will save you from your loneliness; the heartache that you experience from the distance between yourself, and your family and your friends. All this through the connection that the technology affords us.
It’s a classic "good guy vs. bad guy story", something inherent in almost everything we read and watch, and want to engage with. Without the villain, there can never be a hero, and without these two elements, there can never be a great story. This clever-ness is what gets people buzzing when they launch a new video in the series. It’s something we all need to think about more in our own marketing endeavors, we need to discover what problem we’re solving and how we can be a hero to the customer, especially in campaigns.
Do you have a campaign that resonates with you? Did great storytelling have a part to play? Let me know in the comments below!