The underused art of visual storytelling in advertising #advertising#storytelling

There is not much of it about these days in adland-perhaps that is why we still remember the rare exceptions like The Man with the Hathaway Shirt-why the eyepatch/what is his story?It is no accident that he is older as old people have more stories to tell, more history. Modern advertisers often shy aware from this kind of distinctiveness ( or it gets knocked out in research) preferring instead bland,young looking, generalised images- most corporate websites look like they have been assembled from a youth imagery picture library. Perhaps more distinctive imagery should be commissioned that tell a story. Perhaps older people with character in their faces.

In great storytelling, not all is told. There are gaps for us to imagine and participate in its completion and interpretation. The story is implicit, which literally means that we have to play a role in unfolding the story.

And in advertising that makes for a more memorable experience that one in which all is explained.It is the small yet distinctive details that set us wondering.

But this does necessarily means we need more wrinklies in the ads. From the art world (where adland frequently looks for inspiration) Cindy Sherman is brilliant at conjuring up narratives from pictures like this one- an early example of her work. Where is this girl from ? where is she going to? Is she fleeing from and unhappy love affair or escaping and life of privation to find something better? She stands away from her case,which is small- has she been waiting a long time? is the person she is waiting for failing to shoe up? Is it just a weekend away or is she leaving forever with what few possessions she has?

We are drawn into the story to provide own own ideas that will themselves be mediated through our own experience.

Early Cindy Sherman

Published by joinedupthink

Strategist, writer and teacher. Ex Ogilvy and ex Google. I am currently working on a start up called Chimnie, which will revolutionise the property market

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