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CS Presents… Märchenstunde 2013. Storytelling, what’s that all about?

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Last week saw the first CS Presents of 2013, and what a cracker it turned out to be.

The title ‘ Märchenstunde 2013. Storytelling, what’s that all about?’ was a pretty strong hint that this was going to be an evening of Jackanory-esque entertainment.

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First up on stage, and sporting a badass Darth Vader dressing gown, was Seb Royce. Kicking off by explaining that it isn’t enough to just tell a story anymore, people must be engaged by the narrative and unlock the story themselves. He went on to talk about how brands need to become more human by being social, listening and reacting to what their audience has to say. He likened communicating with a brand to meeting a hero; you might rethink your opinion of them if they ignored you the whole time.

Seb went on to show some great examples of brands getting it right by understanding their audience and telling their brand story. These included Amex showing an understanding with Small Business day, Duracell displaying empathy though products after hurricane Sandy, Gatorade fuelling athletic performance with the Replay campaign, and the fantastically funny Bodyform ad from last year that positioned the brand as willing to engage and have fun with their audience. He also showed us a great example of how Lego notched up 150,000 impressions from a single letter to a young fan. He finished by summing up why brands need to start behaving in this way; ‘people respond better to people than they do to brands’.

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Next up in a rather fetching set of pyjamas was JWT’s Ricardo Figueria. He made the point that with digital opening up new platforms people are writing more than ever, and that brands need to make themselves worth writing about. He showed us a fascinating example that has a story engrained within its DNA. Peace Oil is produced in Israel by Jews, Arab, Druze and Bedouin working together. A real product made from a real story and a compelling purchase.

He talked about the power of involving people in really good stories, showing a campaign for the British Army that he’d worked on which put the viewer in the shoes of a solider by broadcasting live from Afghanistan. “Don’t try to convince people, just show them the most exciting part” he told us. He finished by showing the Live action Toy Story as an example of storytelling in a non-traditional way, and asking ‘is advertising the end of a journey, or can it just be the bridge to something else?”

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It was time for Flo Heiss to take to the stage in full dressing gown get up. He began by introducing us to a very unique brand… himself. After talking us through a few Flo charts (yep, I went there), he made the point that everything within advertising is becoming fictionalised with extreme metaphors (check out this JG Ballard book for more on this). He talked us through the thinking behind the Go Compare ads that focus on the fact people hate the character. What surprised him was how many people began to feel sorry for Gio after they started trying to kill him off. Flo explained a little about how Dare approach briefs, analysing both the problem and the truths. There’s always going to be something interesting to work with when you start digging around in these areas.

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LBi Chief Creative Officer, Chris Clark was up next. He discussed the relationship between storytelling and data. He urged us to take a more invested interest in the data that is collected about us every day, and the implications that may have. With so much data belonging to a small number of companies he believes the power of the tech revolution will be concentrated into a tiny number of geeky hands.

He talked about the perceived value of information today and how stories are being eroded because people expect digital media like music and films to be free. Chris ended with a call for the storytellers and the geeks to work together, he believes that both brands and agencies can have an incredible role to play in this movement.

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Last, but by no means least, was Al Campbell, ECD of Agency Republic. Rocking a classic white number, Al got straight into why he hates Powerpoint presentations – the effect it has on the work. This was an argument that many in the room could feel an affinity with, he described it as ‘the point where it stops being about the work, and starts being about how you fit it within a Powerpoint’.

Using this formulaic procedure leads to creativity stopping and rationale kicking in, so people shouldn’t rely on it. Bring things to life without the crutch that is Powerpoint, it will lead to better presentations and ultimately better work that isn’t restricted. Al finished up by showing us a beautifully crafted video that his team had made about the importance of experimentation, after all – ‘Fucking about is the mother of invention.’

Check out the Slideshare bellow to dig a little deeper, or head to our Facebook page for some more photos. You can read some other reviews of the event by Hello You Creatives and YCC. Big thanks to our host LBi London and a special shout to our sponsors Source, check them out for all your recruitment needs.

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Creative Social is thrilled to collaborate with Microsoft, The IPA and Directory our next event,  CS Sessions – The Probes it’s one not to be missed, just check out the line up. Come get your brain fed.

 

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