Do you wanna skip this ad? Yes… or maybe No.

People are more eager to click the “Skip Ad” button or change channels during the commercial break rather than staying tune and enjoying the ads.

That’s consumers’ power. And that’s marketers’ nightmare. But we have to accept it.

The good news is such nightmare doesn’t happen all the time. There are still some brave survivors in the fierce battle. And this is one of them.

This 2-min ad is gorgeous and touching. John Lewis’s ‘Man on the Moon’ can be one of the most successful advertisement during 2015 Christmas. Until the end of Nov 2015, it has more than 17 million YouTube views and almost 1 million online shares.

The opportunity is still there for marketers. People always thirst for great stories, which is like a touching movie, not a barefaced stunt. What matter is how to touch them. That’s the importance of Story-telling in Advertising.

In his book ‘The Seven Basic Plots: Why We Tell Stories’ (2004), Christopher Booker introduce seven plot archetypes which he believe can inform all stories. This can be a useful guideline to create the premise of story-form ad.

  1. Overcoming the Monster
  2. Rags to Riches
  3. The Quest
  4. Voyage and Return
  5. Comedy
  6. Tragedy
  7. Rebirth

Now we have the first brisk. Let’s see how to build the castle!

One important technique is implying, not revealing. In his book ‘The Anatomy of Story : 22 Steps to Becoming a Master Storyteller’ (2008), John Truby arguesWithholding, or hiding information is crucial to the storyteller’s make-believe. It forces the audience to figure out who the character is and what he is doing, and so draws the audience into the story. When the audience no longer has to figure out the story, it ceases being an audience, and the story stops.

Another important thing to remember is how to structure the story. A study on “Elements of a story-form advertisement” reveals that there 4 components to create a good story, including authenticity, conciseness, reversal and connectedness. A good story-form ad needs to be built on truth and resonate with the audiences’ experience. It shouldn’t be too long because audiences are distracted easily. It also needs to have a turning point or a surprising twist to keep audiences curious. Thus, these elements can influence customer’s brand attitude through affect and cognition (Chen et al. 2009, p.6).

Finally, always keep your strategy in mind. “Move back and forth between wide-open, blue-sky thinking and critical analysis” (Sullivan  2008, p.50).

Chipotle’s Scarecrow TVC can be an example for a good implement of the above strategies to create a good story-form ad. The ad succeeds in visualizing Chipotle’s commitment “Food with Integrity” by telling a simple and touching story. Such powerful ad requires not only the creativity but also a great strategy. Let’s enjoy this beautiful story!


Booker, C. (2004). The Seven Basic Plots: Why We Tell Stories.

Chen, H. C., Chiu, H. C., & Wang, J. (2009). Exploring The Elements Of A Story-Form Advertising Ans Its Effectiveness. Retrieved on 28/03/2013 <;.

Sullivan, L. (2008). Hey, Whipple, Squeeze This : A Guide to Creating Great Ads.

Truby, J. (2008). The Anatomy of Story : 22 Steps to Becoming a Master Storyteller.


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