Make Those Bodies Sing A Narrative

Fourteen years ago The Australian Banana Growers introduced a commercial that captured the essence of what it meant to be a happy and healthy child in Australia. It featured children running, playing, swimming intercut with various shots of bananas. The message: Bananas are good for your children so feed them lots.

The commercial is a good example of the type but what sets it apart is that a few years later they made a follow-up, revisiting some of the kids in the original commercial. Well they’ve done it again and this time those kids are fully grown adults. The message: Happy, healthy kids grow up to be happy, healthy adults. This is a great demonstration of how you can renew a successful marketing campaign by creating a narrative.

Humans love stories. Especially success stories. Creating believable characters in believeable situations allows the audience to identify and form a relationship. If that relationship is a favourable then the audience is more likely to adopt a favourable identity towards your brand. You don’t even have to start out with a narrative in a marketing strategy. I’m certain that the Australian Banana Growers didn’t. But you can tweak an existing campaign and breathe new life into it. Once you have established characters that the audience like then why not use them. After all nothing sells like success.

One of the pitfalls in creating a narrative, however, is becoming too didactic. Having your characters waxing lyrically about the benefits of your brand. When creating your narrative it is better to be subtle. Show don’t tell. Even when the original is didactic you can create a subtle touch and create an emotional bond between the characters and the audience. Consider the example of the 1956 Aeroplane Jelly commercial featuring the girl on the swing

Now imagine a hypothetical follow-up of that commercial featuring that same girl, now a grandmother, surrounded by her children and grand-children all singing the song. The original commercial is a ideal example of didacticism at its unsubtle worst. But with the follow-up that is masked by the narrative. We like finding out what happens to the characters after the story has ended. especially if it’s a happy story. By conveying a happy family the commercial is generating a subtle favourable emotional attachment to the brand by building upon the nostalgia of the original rather than just rehashing it.

Narratives should be an important feature of any marketing campaign. They’re the easiest way to create emotional bond. After all buying is an emotional issue.

About the Author: skribe

Based in Perth, Australia, Antonio Barimen (aka skribe) is a writer, digital media consultant and social media producer.

He is available to help you develop social marketing and digital media strategies, improving communication between staff, partners and suppliers or just increasing the number of fans on Facebook. He has developed successful digital and social media projects for clients including CBS, Evian, Procter & Gamble, Discovery Networks, Pernod Ricard and American Express.

Connect with him on Twitter or Google Plus.
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Post Under Advice, Marketing, Video October 31, 2008

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