If storytelling is the new branding and experience is the new marketing, then marketers are going to need to learn how to lay off the key messages, and leave space for the audience to connect the dots, all by themselves.
I present, in support of my sharp-and-pointy opinions, the following marketing face-off… wherein exhibit A represents a beautifully executed spot (as evidenced by my failure to watch said spot through without tearing up, no matter what the cycle of the moon is), juxtaposed against a similar piece which falls short, like the unfortunate-looking sibling of a superstar.
Here’s the insight that made this Budweiser Flash Mob commercial such a bulls-eye.
At some point in life, we all realise that the big league has passed us by. The honourable ones are those who keep showing up, putting their hearts on the line, and playing as if the stakes are as serious as if they’d made it to the top. Recognising those decent, honest, ordinary people with some half-naked cheerleaders and a little moment in the spotlight? Profoundly satisfying to all of us ad agency folk not working on Madison Avenue, copywriters who haven’t hit the NY Times best-seller list with the half-a-novel-in-the-drawer, weekend warrior skiers who’ll never be on the cover of a magazine. That’s what the recreation league men’s hockey team is for us. But the truest power of the piece? No grating voice-over required. We got it. All by ourselves.
The Coke Zero version, which is trying to tell us that sometimes the impossible happens, misses the whole emotional point. And is like a drink of very flat cola. Blech.
Even brands that sometimes nail it, can make the mistake of saying too much, and trying too hard to communicate. (TRUST your audience, people. They’re not as stupid as you think.)
Consider Google’s US launch of Google+, versus the heavy-handed Shakespeare-infused version developed for across the pond. Double blech.
And I love Shakespeare.
If you disagree with me, feel free. Post your comments here. Just leave my (much-better looking) little brother out of it.