Powerful Storytelling… Sans Words

Maybe it’s because deep down I’m just a Tennessee boy, but I find such wisdom in country and folk music lyrics.

Take Alison Krauss (I’m a big fan) and her song -

“You say it best when you say nothing at all.”

Such truth to this.

And, believe it or not, this “truth” is happening in our world of advertising and branding.

Weird, huh.  Selling your stuff with no words.

No stated “unique selling propositions” incorporated in the message.

No clear “value propositions” that took hours of crafting to ensure that the sales message was absolutely perfect.

In fact, two of the top 10 rated 2015 Super Bowl television spots – from Victoria’s Secret and Pepsi – had absolutely no words. (One Pepsi spot actually had no sound at all.)

Four and a half million dollars for a :30 commercial, and the marketing powerhouses decide to ‘hold’ the words!?!?

And, it is not just the advertising power brokers who are on to this.

This really struck me a couple of weeks ago over Memorial Day weekend when I saw on-line a ‘wordless’ but impactful spot for a fairly small grocery chain in East Tennessee called Food City.

Look at this well produced, powerful story where no one says anything. But then again, the ad “says” everything about the chains’ connections with the values of the communities that it serves.

Given that this spot was dispensed during the particular time of the year – Memorial Day – when we give more focus on those who lost their lives in service to our country – the impact is certainly there.

This ad for little old Food City has been viewed over 4.8 million times on YouTube.  No words,  but quite a connection.  The first viewer comment on YouTube under this Food City video? – “I would shop there just because of this.”

Shared values really matter.

Terrific storytelling job by the Food City ad agency – The Tombras Group of Knoxville.

Here is another spot for the UVA Health System. Again, no words but you totally get the story.

 

Hats off to Lewis Communications of Mobile, Alabama for creating this moving spot.

And it is not just in television or video where words have been avoided so that a more powerful story can connect. Look here at a print ad for a terrific new clothing brand – Southern Tide.

Southern Tide

I get the story… even though there is no written story. In fact, I get a more impactful story.

Want to know more about Southern Tide? Subtly suggesting a web address to indicate that there is “more to the story” is critical. But importantly, you first have to gain the reader’s attention.  Southern Tide is smart to grab your attention and engage you as simply as possible by a well-orchestrated yet seemingly natural scene straight from authentic southern coast culture.

What is going on here? Why no words?

Values matter.

We can all sense true values when we see, and feel, a story unfold. If we can connect via the feeling of shared values – why muddy things up with words?

We don’t have to be “told” about the values. We just connect.

In fact, these days after years and years of branding and advertising, we all are fairly tired of being ‘told’ anything. Especially from brands.

Message to all branders/advertisers out there:

Inspire us. Engage us. Touch our emotions…our values.

Remember…when you try and “sell” these days – chances are you “repel.”

To be credible, the ‘connection’ has to be made on the viewers’ terms – not the advertisers or brander.

Like a great novel, right? Engage. Respect the intelligence of the reader, and in this case, the viewer.

It makes for a higher-level brand.

Enough words here…I’m done.

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