Ad Analysis, Story

The Amazon Prime Ad and What We’re Missing From the Original

I love story telling. Always have. If you’ve read any of this blog you’ll know that to be true.

And when I see an ad here in the States that has been truncated, I go look for the original. In this case, it’s the currently running Amazon prime ad with the new baby, toy lion and golden retriever. The ad originated in Japan and runs about a minute 15 seconds. In America, it’s 30 seconds.

Take a look at my video analysis and let me know what you think in the comments box below. And if you have any suggestions for other ads [print or vidoe] to analyze, let me know that too, please!


Why I Stopped

Just the headline is enough. It can fit any situation big or small whether it applies to work, home life, your very existence.

And then there’s the next shoe waiting to drop. There’s a cool story about that saying but I’ll get to that in a moment.

Why I stopped … what? What did I stop? Who cares why, you wanna know what.

The What

It’s why I stopped working as a lawyer.

Don’t get me wrong. I love the law and I’m glad I went to the school I did [Vermont Law School] at the time I did [1984-1987].

But I’m also glad I stopped and here’s why: I got tired of fighting.

I worked as a practicing attorney for 12 years in firms in Philadelphia and then in my own firm. I represented defendants in lawsuits mostly and then concentrated on transactional law by doing residential real estate closings back when the Closing Disclosure was called the HUD1.

The Art of the Fight

There is an art to arguing in court. It’s honed to a finely sharpened point after years of experience. There is an art to negotiating real estate contracts. And there is an art to conducting closings with buyers and sellers who are at odds.

I just got tired of the fight.

I’ve had friends and acquaintances be surprised when they hear I no longer practice law. Doesn’t mean I don’t keep up with it or still use it every day.

I just use it differently.

What I Do Now

I’m doing what I love to do. I write for a living. Yes, freelancing can be an income roller coaster but I work for myself. I don’t keep track of billable hours and I don’t have to worry about stepping in malpractice every time ethics laws change.

I get to tell stories for a living whether that’s as an advertising copywriter, novelist or screenwriter.

I get to tell stories. And I don’t have to argue, fight or resolve conflicts. Works for me.

Do what you love to do while you can. It makes a big difference in your life and the lives of your loved ones and colleagues.What do you love to do? Leave me a comment; I’d love to know.


The Heart & Soul of Story

We’ve talked about story and the 5 elements you want to explore as you start to discover and craft your unique story.

But let’s talk about something here: Does weaving your story mean you have to make up a character and create their world like you do in novels and screenplays?

No. Not at all.

Here’s an example. Let’s say you are a software developer and have come out with a new product that solves a problem. Instead of saying just that, try something like this:

We knew this was a problem and the answer came to us over a French roast coffee and beignet as we encountered that very issue on our own laptops. Somehow, hitting that coffee shop and being surrounded by patrons on their computers gave us the spark that we needed to come up with the answer. Maybe it was the rich depth of flavor from the coffee. Perhaps it was the soft, pillowy goodness of the beignet. Either way, that’s how we developed the solution you needed.

That paragraph could have been that the company saw an issue, created some software and launched it. Easy, no stress in writing it.

But it would lack heart and soul.

The heart and soul are found in the details of the italicized paragraph. A customer will look at that and remember when they had a wonderful coffee and pastry and, perhaps, had a lightbulb aha moment of their own.

The point is that you connected with them on a level others don’t take time for. And you’ll only craft that story by going through the 5 steps we’ve talked about before.

So, sit with a pad and pen and think back to when you started your company or came up with a solution to a problem. Have a coffee and a pastry!

Story, Uncategorized

The 5th Step Ties It All Together

We’ve talked about the foundation of your story, the details, the background and what makes your story unique. Today is all about tying it up together with a nice bow and presenting it to your target audience.

Because the story is cool on it’s own, truly it is. But it’s what you do with it … how you weave it into your sales message like a piece of ribbon woven into a French braid … that makes the difference in your message’s impact.

It’s the story that gets them excited and when it’s part of your sales message you start that all-important conversation with your target market.

Why is that so important?

When people have problems they feel isolated whether it’s a piece of software they’re trying to learn or finding an emergency vet. I’ll bet you’ve experienced this yourself from time to time but when a friend reaches out and helps out with their experience and expertise, life isn’t so gray anymore.

You don’t feel quite as alone as you first did.

That’s what story does. And your story can turn a disconnection into a very powerful connection. Sharing is a very powerful strategy.

So, now you have all 5 parts of how I approach story in the context of a sales message. Think about some stories you can use in your marketing. Make sure they’re personal and address problems your target market is having and offer your business as their best solution.



Nobody Does It Like …

Okey dokey it sure has been a while since I got back to our 5 steps, hasn’t it? Life happens.

Story element #4 is your unique story. Now, you may think you don’t have one but you do. This is where we take the details from who you are and how you started your business or came up with a product or service and color in the foundation we built in element #1.

Let’s do a little visualization for a minute. Close your eyes and think back to when you came up with your last idea. This doesn’t have to be your greatest idea or even your second greatest.

Just the last one that dropped into your brain for your business, product or service.

It’s these ideas that are the lifeblood of small to mid-sized businesses whether you’re in the IT space or not.

Now, think back to what was going on at the time you had this brainstorm. Were you in a restaurant talking with friends? Reading the paper at home? In a conference on a totally different thing when, WHAM! The idea drops into your brain and hasn’t let you go.

THAT’S what we want to talk about.

No one can tell your story like you can. Oh, they may have some basic similarities because of time of day or the state of the world but no one has walked in your shoes but you.

Nobody can describe the feelings you had at that precise moment and no one else can explain the details surrounding your story but you.

That’s why it’s your unique story.

The last element in our 5-element story discussion is knitting it all together.


The Background Matters

The next bullet point in our lineup of what elements go into a great story is background. This is more a matter of coloring in what was happening in the world … your world … at the time you had a great idea for a product or service.

It’s the mural we pin your unique story on.

What was happening in your work world that caused you to come up with a great solution? That could be a work around for a technical problem, a piece of software that solved a problem or a hole in services that only you could fill.

Think back to this time. Were there complaints in the industry? Complaints about your company? Whining about a product?

Those complaints, that whining could actually be some of the best feedback you will ever get. Why? Because it’s usually ultra-specific. Yes, the kudos are wonderful too but the complaints are pure gold.

We will use this background together with the why and the details to weave your sales message into your story to give your sales message that much more substance from a human point of view and not just a hand-in-pocket money-grubbing way.

We’re taking your background and connecting with your potential customer on a one-on-one personal basis and not just a business basis.

Element number 4 is what I’ve alluded to in each of these 3 steps: Your own unique story.


The Devil is in the Deets

Details. The devil is in the details. That saying comes from German architect Mies van der Rohe. One on hand it’s a statement about needing to get those pesky little things right but in the same breath feeling frustrated by them as well.

The devil’s in the deets.

With the why we talked about last time … that foundation or skeleton … we can start to build story structure.

The details are what make stories really good. It’s the “wait til you hear this” type of story that either shows someone off to their best or even worst.

Details humanize you and your business. And, yes, that’s critically important because you want prospects – those folks who are lurking around checking out your company – to like you.


Because no one buys from someone they don’t like.

A common bond is created when you show you’re just like the people you want to attract to your business. They can get to know you without ever meeting you.

Need an example? Okay.

Has anyone ever felt like money was evil? Yeah, that old “root of all evil” thing we were taught as kids. My Dad, rest his soul, instilled that in me as a kid after he and my Mom divorced.

His warning to the 15 year-old me was, “Don’t ever let yourself get caught short financially.” And the weird part? My Dad worked in a bank!

He was a trust officer in a frickin’ bank. And he taught me to be afraid of money. Of having it. Of spending it.

That’s the kind of detail you’re looking for. Whether you’ve had that same experience or not … and most of us subconsciously onboard negative junk from our families between the womb and second grade … you now know something about me that may make you feel like you know me a bit better.

Relating story with details helps your prospects feel like you really get them. That you’ve been where they are and can help.

It starts a relationship.

Lots of marketers out there will tell you all about ROI. But I think ROR – return on relationship – is an even better measurement.

If someone takes the time to reach out to you and comment on a blog post or a product offering be smart and thank them for reaching out.

Next time we’ll dig into story element #3: Background.


Why the “Why” Is So Crucial

Last time we talked about story and how it touches all of our lives every day. Today, we’ll look at the components of how to tell a story and tell it well.

This isn’t about formatting for a novel or screenplay and it isn’t about how to be a writer.

It’s about how to find your unique story and use it in your business.

The first step to any story is the foundation … the “why” … or, in software devo parlance, the skeleton or wire frame. It’s the proof of concept and prototyping work done by a software architect based on a specific set of requirements.

It’s the base and it’s generally black and white or gray scale. There’s no color there yet because we haven’t started adding in the details.

What is your foundation? For businesses, it can be the core mission. For a product, it’s the thing itself. Services? What is your specific service and who is your ideal customer?

Without this skeleton, your story won’t have a substance to stand on. In screenwriting, the skeleton is the beat sheet [or list of scenes] that grows from a concept. Same idea for novelists only the beat sheet is a chapter list.

These foundations are usually sparse but still need substance. The last thing you want is to have your story base topple over when you attach all those colorful and juicy details.

Next time, we will dig into the details of what makes your business, product or service hum and start building the story structure.

Story, Uncategorized

About Story

When you think about the word “story”, what comes immediately to mind? Do images flash through your head of a funny anecdote told by a friend? Vacations with family? Ideas for a new product?

Story is at the core of everything we do whether it’s a piece of gossip or an explanation of why you’re late for a meeting or even how you ended up majoring in one thing and not another.

There’s always a story to tell that you can use in a video. That’s the power of VideoStory.

Now, when I was young [I’m a baby boomer who grew up in the 60s] my parents sometimes gave a negative spin to the word “story” because I always seemed to be coming up with them. Some were true; some a little less. But the word story is not synonymous with tall tale or lie even though that’s the direction I think my parents were going in.

Stories aren’t merely fiction.

And businesses can use their own uniquely personal stories to create a rich fan base that comes back to them again and again. How you do it … and do it well … is the subject of my next blog post.

Chat soon – Vic