Maybe it’s not about telling stories at all

by Robin Grant in News Google+

Our friend (yes, I know, we have lots of friends, we are social after all), Iain Tait on TV ads showing ‘groups of people having fun’ and in particular, the recent T-Mobile ‘flashmob’ ad:

My suspicion is that we’re seeing adverts made by people who haven’t been collaborating deeply online. Who haven’t been a part of these things. Who don’t understand the subtle, emotional things that happen in online relationships and groups. Another part of the reason we end up with big, generic, broad-brush, advertising. Things that work, in general, for some of the population.

But maybe broadcast media isn’t the place to tell the (more) interesting, deeper stories. The stories that happen quietly, inside the wires, over the airwaves, through the devices and in people’s minds.

Perhaps stories of togetherness and collaboration are best told in places where people are together, collaborating. And perhaps they should be told in ways that reflect the brilliance, excitement and usefulness of what doing things together using tools and technologies – not metaphors – is actually all about.

Or maybe in those places it’s not about telling stories at all.

Perhaps it’s about the conversations you have with people and the stories they then go on to tell each other?

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  • http://www.craig-mcgill.com Craig McGill

    I think it's a bit of a sweeping generalisation over people not collaborating onine, but I took the point of the T-mob advert to be 'use your phone to share the unique moments' which is a story of togetherness. After all, most stories begin with a person or an experience.

  • richardstacy

    The T-mob thing wasn't about a story, it was about a proposition. You need a proposition if you are reliant on expensive mass media to get your message across – because you don't have the time to tell a story.

    Propositions don't work for one-to-one, word-of-mouth conversations. The only vehicle that works here to carry a message is a story. Its why before the invention of the mass media, storytelling was essentially the only way to engage a large number of people (and why religions are essentially built entirely of stories). And now that the era of the mass media is coming to an end it is why storytelling is emerging as an important communications tool.

  • http://wordpress.pocosin.com Counsel

    I think you missed it altogether…

    Perhaps it is due to you being in the media marketing business…

    T-Mobile, and those other involved, were showing a number of things with their commercial:

    1. Mobile phones are used to capture media;
    2. Mobile phones are used to communicate;
    3. Mobile phones are ubiquitous;
    4. People use phones in their social life;
    5. People, not devices, make life worth while;
    6. Life is about connecting with others;

    I could go on, but I don't think you understand that the commercial makes me want to go out and get a T-Mobile account.

    Companies that sell a service are very “institutional,” and the “we are you” or “we are a family” or “we are friends” might be a better approach than “we can and we will…”

    I can only hope that T-Mobile management is making sure their customer support is as friendly as the commercial. If not, those that are attracted to T-Mobile will not be customers (happy ones anyway) for long.

  • http://wordpress.pocosin.com Counsel

    I think you missed it altogether…

    Perhaps it is due to you being in the media marketing business…

    T-Mobile, and those other involved, were showing a number of things with their commercial:

    1. Mobile phones are used to capture media;
    2. Mobile phones are used to communicate;
    3. Mobile phones are ubiquitous;
    4. People use phones in their social life;
    5. People, not devices, make life worth while;
    6. Life is about connecting with others;

    I could go on, but I don't think you understand that the commercial makes me want to go out and get a T-Mobile account.

    Companies that sell a service are very “institutional,” and the “we are you” or “we are a family” or “we are friends” might be a better approach than “we can and we will…”

    I can only hope that T-Mobile management is making sure their customer support is as friendly as the commercial. If not, those that are attracted to T-Mobile will not be customers (happy ones anyway) for long.