We live in a society obsessed with technical solutions but the answer to effective video advertising lies in something simpler. We need to be more human.
Be it tears of laughter or joy, to be ‘human’ simply means tapping into the everyday emotions which bring us together.
Fortunately, there is an established shorthand for success: Christopher Booker’s basic story types are seven powerful narrative structures we regularly use to create meaning.
When creating early touch video content such as broadcast or online ads, it’s important to appreciate that users aren’t usually in buying mode – in fact, you’re more likely to be interrupting them rather than something they are actively looking for.
With this in mind, so long as we accept that broadcast and online ads are usually about as welcome as a door-to-door salesman, the idea that effective video advertising demands a positive first impression quickly comes sharply into focus.
This is where the seven basic story types can really help:
1. OVERCOMING THE MONSTER:
The main character sets out to defeat an antagonistic force, which threatens the main character themselves or their homeland.
2. RAGS TO RICHES:
An unfortunate protagonist acquires things such as power, wealth, and a mate, before losing it all only to regain it all upon growing as a person.
3. THE QUEST:
The protagonist and some companions set out to get hold of an important object or to reach a location, facing many obstacles and temptations along the way.
Brand: John Lewis
Agency: Adam & Eve
4. VOYAGE AND RETURN:
The protagonist goes to a strange land and, after overcoming the threats it poses to him/her, returns with nothing but experience.
Agency: AMV BBDO
Light and humorous character with a happy or cheerful ending.
The protagonist falls from grace and whose death is a happy ending.
Brand: St John’s Ambulance
The protagonist redeems him/herself over the course of the story.
Agency: AMV BBDO
'While information may help change that emotion state, it’s the emotion that’s important, not the information'.
Geoffrey James, Inc
Customers purchase based on emotion which is why businesses must seek to be more human.
According to Paul Ekman, there are six basic emotions, Happiness, Sadness, Surprise, Fear, Disgust, Anger.
In the 1990s Paul Ekman expanded the list to include some more complex emotions including Amusement, Contempt, Contentment, Embarrassment, Excitement, Guilt, Pride In Achievement, Relief, Satisfaction, Sensory Pleasure and Shame.
If you’re looking to create effective video adverts why not get in touch with us for a quick chat.
[This article was originally published in April of 2015 but has been updated in January 2021]