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Reaching Past Stimulus to Touch Emotions... Online.


If you haven't seen the recent Chipotle advertisement, "The Scarecrow," then I urge you to watch it below; it is not surprising that the ad has over 6.7 million views in only 20 days. In this short 3 min clip they effectively convince the audience to feel: scared, concerned, doubtful, sick, and lonely. Although animated, something connects with each of us and makes us feel what the creators wanted us to feel. Then, just when it seems bleak... our protagonist scarecrow rises triumphantly above his dismal surroundings. Fighting the large corporations with just his little garden, he saves the day, bringing the freshest, best food to all of the mindless people. Why is it so moving? How does it capture our attention? What makes us understand the scarecrow? These are all questions I will try to quickly address. The best way to tap into our audiences' emotions and inspire change is to tell a story.

Tell The Story

People have studied storytelling since the beginning of time, and I am no expert on this art, but here are some good principles that I have picked up from my own experiences.

Introduce your character (whether that is yourself, a teammate, your business, fictional being, etc.) and provide relatable information that will help the audience connect with our combatant. Walk everyone through the troubles they face, and the overwhelming force they are up against. Once it seems there is no good outcome for our poor victim, allow a savior. Something or someone that significantly turns the tables. In this video it was the bright red pepper, which represented new life, freshness, earth, growth, and nutrients. Then reveal the outcome, with the need to push on. Giving these examples of real experiences really helps each listener feel like they are walking in our hero's shoes.

Use Real Examples

I can remember the way my family would tell stories at our thanksgiving dinners. Growing up, my clan would come from near and far to gather and share thanksgiving. Being Scottish, laughing, storytelling, football (soccer), and a few other things were a huge part of our heritage. After our muscles were wore out from galavanting in the backyard, and our bellies were stuffed with turkey and cranberry jelly, we would sit wherever there was room and "talk story." Hours would go by as we would laugh until our jaws hurt. Childhood memories of the fun and joyous times would be filling the room. Thank you for joining us! Yes. I'm talking to you, because as you read across those words in this paragraph some connection to the way your family memories were made. As your eyes read across the pages your mind pulled from memory banks and we made a connection. That is why real examples are so powerful when telling stories. Please use them throughout your campaigns... connect with people, not target markets.

This spoof of the Chipotle Advertisement does a great job tying in each example of how they try to connect with their viewing audience.

Show The Way Out

We all want to have a happy ending. Inside we are motivated by hope that in "The Empire Strikes Back" Star Wars episode V, Luke Skywalker will be able to recover and Hans Solo will be rescued. This same motivation can be a powerful ally when encouraging your audience to take action. Focusing on the light at the end of the tunnel and the way our main character will get there is how you can inspire action. In the Chipotle ad, the action was to help out the scarecrow be successful in competing against the Crow Incorporated, which means.... BUY MOR' CHIPOTLE (to sabotage a marketing slogan from another large fast food company... Chick-fil-a). Once inspired, people will surprise you. Inspiration spreads like wildfire.

Allow Wildfires

Once you have created a relatable story, educated your audience on how they can rally behind you, then set up your campaign for the maximum reach. Allow your audience to share, tell, spread the news of how to get involved. Providing tools like social share buttons, links, articles, etc. is perfect for helping your advocates spread your message. Once you have done the basics, start expanding to think what other unique inbound marketing ways can you help your audience become the best advocates they can be.

Go Tell Stories

I have talked a lot about storytelling, and not a lot about campaign based marketing, but for my team and I we believe that they should be the same. Good campaigns focus on educating the personas that are most relatable, and encourage them to take action in becoming the best advocates they can be. Buying or not.

Why have you had a hard time doing this in your company? How are some ways that you have seen this done really well? I'd love to hear. Don't hesitate to continue the conversation with me in the comments below.

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