One of the current buzz terms being bandied about by businesses today is that of “brand storytelling” – how brands can use storytelling to share their core values, win more customers, and outstrip the competition.

Never mind the fact that brand storytelling is as old as the first advertisement (not that that’s ever stopped social media hijacking old and proclaiming it as new), everyone’s talking about making the business human through stories.

The problem is, too many brands use storytelling poorly – the McDonald’s “Writer” ad being one such example where you were left questioning what the brand values were (a  key part in successful brand storytelling).

Get brand storytelling right, however, and you connect not just the dots between customer and brand, but the audience overall. Which is why the “Moments of Warmth” ad from Duracell Canada is so successful.

YouTube Preview Image

Why Moments of Warmth Works

This winter has been one of the harshest, coldest winters in recent memory for a lot of people, and the term “Polar Vortex” became mainstream.

Recognizing this, Duracell Canada played to everyone’s weariness of winter, and – for a moment – brought a little warmth into peoples’ lives. The trick, though, was that moment wasn’t just meant to be for the duration of their stay in the bus stop.

Instead, by playing out a bigger message – “we all need each other” – it says even when things are at their toughest, we can make it through if we stick together.

By promoting human connection as the glue that makes everything tick – versus individual actions – Duracell Canada not only shares their corporate values, but also how they see world around them, and our ability to work together to make a difference.

Best of all, it’s not even a hard sell on behalf of Duracell Canada – instead, it focuses on the people (customers) and how Duracell can help (by being there when you need them). It’s a softer sell, but still effective – I know which batteries I’ll be stocking up on next visit to the hardware store.

Kudos.

Sign up for free weekly content

Subscribe to my newsletter and get a weekly email with the latest blog post, recommended reading, quick tips and more. I respect your privacy and will never spam you.

Alternatively, click here to subscribe to the RSS feed instead.

Danny Brown
Co-author Influence Marketing: How to Create, Manage and Measure Brand Influencers in Social Media Marketing. #1 marketing blog in world as per HubSpot. Husband. Father. Optimist. Pragmatist. Never says no to a good single malt. You can find me on Twitter - Google+ - LinkedIn.
19 comments
creativeoncall
creativeoncall

The best brand stories are true stories; not that you can't use fiction, as McDonald's attempts here, but to your point, the fiction has to be illuminated by a core brand truth.   This McD spot is simply an ad agency' stylishly gratuitous attempt to falsely shift the brand personality.  The Duracell initiatve may be taken to task as a gimmick, as Howie Goldfarb does below, but Duracell at least constructed a world scenario in which brands and consumers could interact to illuminate a little of each other's truth.  

Howie Goldfarb
Howie Goldfarb

I love these gimmicks. VW did that NYC Subway stairwell keyboard that as you walked down it lit up and made music.Coke has those vending machines. I like the fact humans have to hold hands especially strangers...and gloved ones. In summer could be icky LOL

The reason I don't like these is while nice they don't change my view of a product or brand. For Duracell who battles Energizer it comes down to how long the battery lasts. I have tried the cheap batteries from the club stores and they don't last as long as energizer or duracell. So the extra $2 a package probably gets me more than $2 more of power. But to be honest if you asked me which battery lasts longer..I would respond no clue I buy the best deal at the store.

lil_tea
lil_tea

I love this idea from Duracell! Having grown up in cold northern BC winters, I always wished they had something like this. These experiential campaigns that bring people closer together are a nice change in a digital world :) Couldn't agree more that the fit of the story with the brand is just as if not more important than the story itself. Perfect choice to use the McDonald's ad for contrast. 

And this concept applies to all communications—not just ads. We're currently making up an explainer video for Unbounce and ensuring that the story really matches with our company and culture was an important consideration during planning.

NancyCawleyJean
NancyCawleyJean

What an amazing campaign. Sure gets attention for the brand and gives you a "warm fuzzy feeling" just when you need it. Fabulous. Thanks for sharing this great example of "brand storytelling." 

Saif Ajani
Saif Ajani

Great great find (and storytelling). Kudos indeed!

lauraclick
lauraclick

Wow. That ad gave me chills! So very cool. A great message and an excellent tie-in with the brand. Thanks for sharing!

Lisa Gerber
Lisa Gerber

I love that!!! It reminds of the little heating areas on the Chicago El, where people actually have to huddle together in the warmth waiting for the train. And we talk - because we're all so close. 

Where I see brands fail is they try to do something (like this, for example) but there is no tie-in with who they are or what they do. Which is what you're saying. I've been in love with Patagonia's Worn Wear video series where they feature people who have used a piece of gear/clothing for 25 years and tell the story of where that piece has been (a hat that has traveled 10,000 miles of hiking). It inspires people to get out there, but it furthers their message to be kind to the environment and to reuse - which is why they make stuff that is designed to last a long time. 

Also, all that snow looked good to me. :) 

Danny Brown
Danny Brown moderator

@Howie Goldfarb  The purchase sway isn't always a given, for sure - though I do feel that brands that offer a feel-good sentiment probably remain more memorable than others when it comes to decision time. Then again, like you, I often just got for the deal over brand, depending on the purchase.

Latest blog post: Archives

Danny Brown
Danny Brown moderator

@lil_tea  Look forward to seeing what you guys come up with, I need to dive into Unbounce a little more in the near future (had it on backburner for investigation).

Latest blog post: Archives

Danny Brown
Danny Brown moderator

@Lisa Gerber  Patagonia is a great example of brand and corporate messaging being completely in sync with the product/audience. It's not rocket science to make these kinds of thing happen - you just need to remember where you came from and what your goal is.

Latest blog post: Archives

RobBiesenbach
RobBiesenbach

@Lisa Gerber  Wait, Lisa -- I'm supposed to talk to those people huddled with me under the heat lamp? I'm doing it wrong! I would be interested to see how this concept would go over in Chicago.

I also feel like, if you're Canadian, this ad appeals to your pride—pride of place, culture, etc. Really great.

creativeoncall
creativeoncall

@Danny Brown It's tough to tell a convincingly, honestly human story when you've got a committee of storytellers on both the client and agency sides guiding, tweaking and judging the story, so yes, it is, at least organizationally, a seemingly no-win situation for brands.  All the more amazing, I suppose, when a big brand actually pulls it off.

Trackbacks

  1. […] …The problem is, too many brands use storytelling poorly – the McDonald’s “Writer” ad being one such example where you were left questioning what the brand values were (a key part in successful brand storytelling).Get brand storytelling right, however, and you connect not just the dots between customer and brand, but the audience overall. Which is why the “Moments of Warmth” ad from Duracell Canada is so successful….  […]

  2. […] …The problem is, too many brands use storytelling poorly – the McDonald’s “Writer” ad being one such example where you were left questioning what the brand values were (a key part in successful brand storytelling). Get brand storytelling right, however, and you connect not just the dots between customer and brand, but the audience overall. Which is why the “Moments of Warmth” ad from Duracell Canada is so successful….  […]