Learn How to Hook Your Audience Like BP and Vodafone Did
Over the last few years ‘storytelling’ has become a bit of a marketing buzzword. Everyone’s in the business of ‘crafting a story’ about their brand or business. The problem is, most people just don’t know where to start.
But with more and more businesses looking to incorporate video in their long-term marketing plan, the art of storytelling is becoming more and more important. A good story engages audiences and connects them with a brand, ultimately building a lasting relationship with a business they can relate to. A good story resonates with the audience; they can see themselves in it. Unfortunately many businesses think the story revolves around them and not their audience, which results in messages that are too complicated and, frankly, boring.
Think back to the last time you read a good book. What made it good? What kept you turning pages? Your commitment to keep reading probably had a lot to do with people, places, plot and purpose – all four of which are essential for a good video too.
New Zealand television is currently screening two of the loveliest ads (and the most similar ads) of all time – see them below. One is about a rural postman who finds a piglet in the middle of nowhere then tries to return it to its owner. The other is about a family who accidentally leaves their pet rabbit behind when they move house, and their old neighbour’s mission to reunite bunny with child. While they’re pretty much duplicates of the same production, both have engaging qualities that make audiences love them. Both start with the people.
More often than not, the first thing that makes people love a story is the characters. If the audience can relate to the people, they can immerse themselves into the story as well. People don’t have to be actual people, either. Animals, objects … Characters just have to be something that the audience connects with emotionally.
In our examples, the main ‘people’ are actually animals – a piglet and a bunny. The actual people are a lovely quintessential older Kiwi bloke and a younger Kiwi bloke with a good heart. The combination of both with their respective animals create an unexpected disjoint that entrances us from beginning to end.
The beauty of video is that it can communicate a lot of information in a very short time. Just like the people can emotionally impact the outcome of your video, the place your video is set in can too.
BP’s ad showcases the small towns in Auckland by tracking the bunny’s journey on a map and seeing the things that he sees right alongside him (that’s a really big carrot). The point of the piglet ad is to emphasise the technological reach Vodafone has, even in the middle of nowhere, so big wide open rural spaces work for this story.
When choosing a great location for your video, consider relevance, comfort and ease of production. Does the location have anything to do with your overall story? Do your characters instantly feel like they belong there? And can you practically shoot a video there?
Every good story has some degree of conflict. In both of our examples we have an animal that’s been separated from its owner. The piglet’s storyline gets even more intense (spoiler alert if you haven’t watched the video yet) when the deliveryman realises Sue’s fate is on somebody’s dinner table.
Finally, why should people care about your story? Before you start filming, you need to understand what the final product is going to look like – and intend to do. Every decision you make needs to have the purpose in mind.
The purpose behind BP’s video is to show that, despite geographical distance, BP connects villages to towns and towns to cities with the power of technology. Vodafone wants to highlight their connectivity with average New Zealanders, even those of us who live in the middle of nowhere.
Next time you’re planning your next video, apply the four essential elements in storytelling – people, place, plot and purpose. Remember that the point is your audience, not your business; if they can relate to the story on an emotional level, they’ll relate to you.
Need a hand with video production? The team at Onepost Media Productions is experienced in producing all sorts of video. Contact the team for a quote for your next project.