Friday, January 19, 2018

Some brief thoughts on Story-telling.

I am reading Martin Puchner's new, widely-heralded book "The Written World: The Power of Stories to Shape People, History, Civilization." You can buy it here or read "The New York Times'" review here.

For about five or seven years now, many people in our industry have fancied themselves as "storytellers." In truth, that appellation gives me a fair amount of indigestion.

It's not that I don't believe, as does Puchner, that stories shape our lives. The story of Jesus, for instance. Or the Flood. Or even Washington crossing the Delaware. Or Neil Armstrong stepping onto the alleged moon.

But our business, in its aggressive dumbing-down of most everything, has taken the term story-telling and applied it to nearly everything. There are a few brands, in fact, who can really tell stories. I am lucky enough to work on one of them. Nike is another one. There aren't many more. 

In fact, the likelihood of anyone finding a story about new, extra-strength Saran Wrap compelling just ain't going to happen.

Stories, of course, can shape, define and illuminate. But when I hear people talking about the story-telling value of a 728x90 banner ad, or a :06-second video-bumper, it's not that I actually feel like screaming. It's worse than that. 

I dream about going home to re-read Homer once again.

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