Super Bowl Commercials: Storyselling

I didn’t watch the Super Bowl last night, but I did watch most of the commercials this morning (it took me more than an hour).

Some of my favorite commercials incorporated storytelling.  The marketers applied “storyselling” to their brands.

One key to storyselling, or to any engaging story, is that there is conflict.  Conflict makes the story interesting.

Here are a few examples of conflict in this year’s Super Bowl Commercials:

Man vs. Man: Doritos Sling Shot Baby

A young boy taunts his grandmother and baby brother with a bag of Doritos.  The boy smugly seems to think that his snacks are safe as he teases from a backyard play structure.  But, Granny has an idea and launches the baby in his baby jumper.  The baby sling shots toward his brother and snatches the bag of Doritos.  Granny and the baby triumphantly enjoy the Doritos.

The other clever Doritos commercial—the one with the dog bribing the man with a bag of Doritos is also a Man vs. Man (the dog is personified)

Man vs. Self (Man as personified by a dog) Volkswagen-The Dog Strikes Back

An overweight dog wants to chase a car, but can’t fit through the doggie door.  He is inspired to action and begins exercising—throwing balls down the stairs to play fetch with himself, running on a treadmill and in the yard, pulling weights and swimming.  He also exercises will power and doesn’t eat scraps that fall to the floor.  Over time he loses weight and is later able to jump through the doggie door and joyfully run alongside a red Volkswagen car.  Then, the commercial takes on a twist by cutting to a bar scene with Star Wars characters watching the commercial and comparing it to last year’s kid-dressed-like Darth Vader commercial, calling back the feel-good commercial from last year’s Super Bowl.  It’s like getting a 2-for-1 story!

Man vs. Nature (sort of):  Hyundai CPR

I remember when the Hyundai brand cars were first available in the US in the mid-80s.  People made jokes about them being called Hyundai because people would die from the embarrassment of owning such a cheap car.  Well, now apparently Hyundai can save lives.  In this year’s Super Bowl commercial, a man saves his boss’s life with quick thinking and clever driving.

Man vs. Society:  It’s Halftime America America—Chrysler/Clint Eastwood

This is more inspiring speech than story, but it is the Everyman Hero Story of overcoming adversity and coming back stronger than ever.  I admit it, I teared up a bit on this one.

Have there been commercials that stick in your mind because they told a story?


About Diane Windingland
I speak for organizations that want their people to have better, more profitable conversations.

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