Brand Storytelling: Legends of The Modern Era

Hello Internet,

Since the beginning of civilization, we have been telling stories. From the fairy tales our parents use to read to us before bed, to our favourite TV shows, stories has played a large role in our lives and now they play a major role in the way we advertise.


Today, consumers are tired of the same old “Buy me because….” B.S and traditional marketing tactics are no longer effective. Companies are now taking a more glass roots approach of advertising and focusing more on selling lifestyles, memories and emotions. This is called Brand Storytelling and it’s nothing new in the world of marketing. Marketers have been using this technique for decades now, but the rise of social media, brand storytelling has become more of a priority in a company’s overall brand strategy.

But brand storytelling is more than the how the company was funded or the products it sells. It’s about the reason they exist (and to make money is not a good reason). For Chanel, they focus on legacy of their founder. Coco Chanel was more than just a designer, she inspired many designers to come and changed the way we think about fashion. And to the company’s fans, it’s their way of life.

This is a great example of brand storytelling and it has all of the right ingredients. Coco’s story is a rags to riches, stick it to the man, and change the world while you’re at it can inspire anyone.

(Interested in learning more about Chanel and his she changed the world, check out this book HERE!)

Another great way to tell a story is to use comedy. Laughter is a very powerful tool because it can not only get people’s attention quickly but it can also be used as a way to talk about topics that might be taboo or serious to the market. This video by The Rainforest Alliance is no  ordinary “Save the Rainforest” video. It uses comedy to catch our attention, educate us on the bigger issue and give us a call to action.

YET, just because you have a good story, doesn’t mean that it works for the brand. When this happens, we are often feel confused and that the contentdoesn’t fit with what we think of the brand. And this is exactly happened to McDonald’s. As an attempt to bring in a younger, more tech savvy market, they made this video here.

Am I the only one who’s thinking stranger danger while watching this video? And McDonald’s are full of brand storytelling fails. During TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) this year they released these videos to promote McCafe. These one minute videos we all over Facebook and they were based off of famous classic films such as Braveheart and The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.

Nice try McD’s but I can see the hot glue in the last video.

What’s an example of brand storytelling that you love or hate? Feel free to comment below and remember to share this with your friends.

Until next time, so long Internet!


Forbes Magazine




Please like & share:

2 thoughts on “Brand Storytelling: Legends of The Modern Era

  1. Vanessa, I really enjoyed reading your blog post!
    I totally agree with you when you mention that today it is not enough (it is actually pretty bad) to try to convince the clients just by showing to them to qualities of a certain product (Buy me because…). Consumer don’t have the time anymore to listen to the same old speeches and they actually have the power to decide if they want to see your add or not (nowadays, with the rise of social media, must of the adds are on Facebook and YouTube). They need, in fact, to be creative and appeal to emotions such as laugh, love, happiness, fun… Those emotions need to be related to the brand to create a sustainable positioning in the minds of the consumers and engage them to follow the values of the company and convince them to buy their products through emotions (Unique value proposition). Chanel did an amazing job with the ad, I have the impression that the brand was created by a powerful woman who was not afraid of challenging the status quo and impose her personality inspiring the entire world. Buyers can feel related to the brand and by buying the products, they can have the impression of being invincible. That is the power of brand storytelling, create a connection with you customer every time they are going to buy your product and feel proud to use/wear it. Whereas McDonald’s did not the understand what storytelling is. You can not create a story that it is no related to the brand personality and to the corporate values. I have the impression you remember the story (it is kind of creepy) but not the brand.

    One my favorites brand storytelling was created by Extra Gum, you can watch the video here:

    It is beautiful and heart melting! They did an amazing job by creating a story full of emotions, you almost want to believe that it was real and actually happened to someone. They manage to create an emotional impact by showing to the world how something so simple as a gum can be part of one of the most amazing moments of your life.
    Once again, thank you for your insights and thoughts!!


  2. Hey Vanessa,

    I heard you talk about McD’s in class and after watching these videos I agree with you.

    What gives McDonald’s the right so simply adopt storylines from famous movies that people already have an attachment too?

    It’s lazy advertising and lacks creativity.

    The fact McDonald’s stole more than one storyline illustrates my point more so.

    McDonald’s needs to step away from the ‘fun and innocent’ theme that its desperately going for, and address it’s real life issues head on.

    McDonald’s food is unhealthy. They need to either change their menu or advertise what they are actually selling; an unhealthy product.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *