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Three Commercial Love Stories

Advertisers know the phenomenal power behind telling a story.  Indeed the reason we call Coronation Street and East Enders ‘soap operas’ is because washing soap advertisers used to sponsor TV dramas that appeared nightly; knowing that viewers would tune in regularly and would repeatedly see their commercials.  There have been some truly successful soaps generated by advertisers themselves. These three examples were wildly successful in keeping us engaged with emotional and entertaining drama.  The benefit was the value of the physical product placed at the ‘heart’ of each story.


Gold Blend clip:

It was a phenomenally successful series of adverts that told the story of the coffee romance!  ‘Gold Blend’ sales leapt by an extra two million cups to ten million a day when the TV advertisements were first screened.  Thirty million people watched when Tony Head finally confessed to Sharon Maughan in the “I love you” commercial.   The ‘Sun’ had it splashed in its front page!


Renault Clio clip:

Nearly 23 million people tuned in to watch the advert when Nicole got married.   Thousand of men were reportedly distraught when Renault announced Nicole was getting married.  “Don’t do it Nicole” posters popped up everywhere.  There was a neat twist in the tale when Nicole jilted comedian Vic Reeves at the altar for Bob Mortimer.


Yellow Pages clip:

Whilst not a series Norman Lumsden played J R Hartley for Yellow Pages over a period of eight years.  It is a stand alone love story in emotional context.  J R Hartley had lent his copy of this book to a friend but it had never been returned to him.  His successful search via Yellow Pages has kept it in the top 15 all time best commercials.

Stories have been part of our lives forever.  Most will remember Greek and Roman mythological stories and parables from the bible.  We remember because they describe something that is true about the human experience – about our needs, fears, failings and some glorious aspirational qualities too.  Somehow we connect with the hero of the tale.

There are three different plots which all such tales fall into, including our three love stories above:

  1. Overcoming the Monster – The hero sets out to defeat an antagonistic force (often evil) which threatens the protagonist and/or protagonist’s homeland.
  2. Rags to Riches – The poor hero acquires things such as power, wealth, and a mate, before losing it all and gaining it back once they grow as a person.
  3. The QuestThe hero and some companions set out to acquire an important object or to get to a location, facing many obstacles and temptations along the way.

There are two variations on those plots:

  1. Voyage and Return – The hero goes to a strange land and, after overcoming the threats it poses to him or her, returns with nothing but experience.
  2. Rebirth – During the course of the story, an important event forces the hero to change their ways, often making them a better person.

There are two styles of delivery:

  1. Comedy – The hero is light, comic and humorous; the story’s central motif is the triumph over adverse circumstance, resulting in a successful or happy conclusion.
  2. Tragedy – The hero has one major character flaw or makes a great mistake which is ultimately their undoing. Their unfortunate end evokes pity at their folly.

Stories grab our attention because we can relate to them in some way.  The great thing about these three ‘love’ stories is that they are less than a minute in the telling. 

How many of us can regale a story about the benefits of our business offer in less than 60 seconds?

How many of our customers ‘fall in love’ with us that easily and then talk about it to others … happily ever after?

PS Further Reading with The Attention Economy

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