storytelling as advertising

Shouting Can’t Compete With Storytelling

Gee RanasinhaAdvertising, Business, Communications

Another fantastic example of the “storytelling” style of Advertising 2.0 – aka “The Continued, Slow Death of Shouting To Get Attention” – this time from Chicago-based design/ad agency Coudal Partners.

This is how you sell stuff today. If you want to get your message out there and past the daily detritus of intrusive, interruptive messages that are fighting for your customers’ attention, your only hope is in standing out. Everyone else is shouting at your customers with “Buy Me!” messaging. You need to do something else if you want to be seen.

Creativity: The New Business Currency

Today, the currency required to get customer attention and mindshare is less about shouting about how great you are, and more about attributes such as creativity and storytelling. This really scares the C-Suite brigade, who’ve been brought-up putting together messages that shout to get attention. For many, the closest they get to storytelling is when they’re talking with shareholders. The “C” in “C-Suite” doesn’t often stand for “Creative”. Hey – in many organizations, it stands for something a lot ruder than “Chief”…

Today’s value communication is not about getting celebrity endorsements, hiring the hippest film director, or having a gazillion-dollar budget. Above all, it’s not about shouting about the product or service that you’re trying to sell. It doesn’t matter how many times you tell me that your business value is faster / cheaper / better / whatever than everyone else. Why? Because I don’t care.

So, is such “new age” advertising trying to masquerade as something other than sales fodder? Is storytelling-based advertising, at the end of the day, any more sincere that the “shouting” kind?

Of course not. But does that ultimately matter? Is such content inherently less valuable because it’s come from a brand rather than from an individual? From my perspective, I don’t really make such a distinction: good stuff is good stuff – end of.

Creativity: The New Business and Marketing Currency

To me, what matters is how successful the communication. For it to succeed, it has to have resonated with the target audience at an emotional level. That emotion may be joy, fear, sorrow, anger, whatever. But for content to truly connect there needs to be an emotional connection.

Storytelling at this level isn’t easy. It’s not something that pops-out by entering a formula. To get there takes time, patience, empathy, understanding. You won’t find the right answer from strategy meetings, brainstorming workshops, or executive retreats.

It’s not about format, duration, channel, or other such technicalities. It’s about creating something that moves people. That resonates with their heart more than their head. Bill Bernbach, one of the fathers of modern advertising, called it Simple Timeless Human Truths.

Great advertising has always done that.

About the Author
Avatar for Gee Ranasinha

Gee Ranasinha

Gee Ranasinha is CEO and founder of KEXINO. He's been a marketer since the days of 56K modems, lectures on marketing and behavioral economics at two European business schools, and was noted as one of the top 100 global business influencers by (those wonderful people who make financial software).

Originally from London, today Gee lives in a world of his own in Strasbourg, France, tolerated by his wife and teenage son.

Find out more about Gee at Follow him on X/Twitter at KEXINO, on Facebook at, or on LinkedIn at


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