What plot is this?

Readers of my book and other followers of my work know that I’m a big believer in using established story structure when branding.  After all, these techniques have worked for over 3000 years, so really, why would you want to mess with them?

Last time I talked about how the winning Superbowl ad (i.e., the Budweiser Clydesdale) was a typical “boy-meet-girl” love story with the girl being the horse in this case.  Some of my students have asked me why I classify this as a boy-meets-girl rather than a coming-of-age story.  After all, the elements for the latter seem to be there.  A typical coming-of-age story shows how a child grows and crosses a threshold to become an adult, having to leave behind his/her childhood forever to assume the more “adult” responsibilities of society (e.g., work, marriage, etc.).

So, while you can say that those elements are present in this commercial (i.e., the baby horse grows and assumes its proper place in the adult world of Budweiser Clydesdale horses), there is one critical element missing to make this a true coming of age story:  PERSPECTIVE!

Yes indeed, this would be a coming-of-age story if the story were told through the eyes of the horse!  However, it is told through the eyes of the trainer instead, giving us a whole different take on things.  One of the key elements to storytelling comes down to who is telling the story.  It is this idea of perspective that will influence the flow and structure of the story, as well as provide the details.  In your own marketing, perspective is important because stories can be told in two fundamental ways for businesses, job-seekers, or pretty much anyone.  You can tell the story from your view, or from your customers view.  I suppose that the creators of this particular commercial thought that we, as consumers, would better identify with the trainer than the horse!  Instead, the horse in this commercial actually serves as Budweiser’s Brand Agent (more on that one later!) but this story would rather have us identity with the central character through the use of the brand agent.  In general, this makes good sense for all of us.  Use our brand agents to represent our brand, and use our characters to represent our audience.  Following this simple rule in your branding story-telling might be all the difference between connecting emotionally with your customer or not!

And for those of you who are unsure exactly what a brand agent is, well……., I guess you will have to wait until next time!  Until then, please let me know your thoughts or questions!  Happy marketing!!!!

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