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Static Stories

Will Awdry talks us through two of his favourite examples of press ads that use short-form copy to weave a narrative.
Great writing that I’ve seen recently– the Expedia campaign, like a sudoku puzzle of three letters on luggage labels put together in three-word triptychs to make whole stories. And again, the writing behind that, if you like, the stories that had to be written to make sense of those, and then compacted down – perfect example of great writing. Beautifully done. And then a third one– I’ve quoted this before, but the Swiss Life campaign where they took almost sort of six-word stories like the Hemingway story in the Everglades of “For sale– baby shoes, never worn”, a famous six-word story, but in this instance, they flip it halfway through, so “She was my everything went wrong.” Stories that just turn on a sixpence.
Again, great, great writing. Really sharp, a brilliant campaign for a boring category about finance capturing life changes. It was very well done.
A lot of the examples we’ve looked at so far in the course have been moving image or interactive digital work. However static images, for example press ads in a magazine or a poster are still important mediums. Copy (words) and art direction (imagery) can work together to tell powerful and ‘on-brand’ stories.
In this short excerpt, Will Awdry, Creative Director at Big Fish and D&AD Trainer in Writing for Advertising, talks us through two of his favourite examples of press ads that use short-form copy to weave a narrative.
Long-form copy has also long been used to tell stories in print advertising. It is often the art direction and layout that gives the story context to the brand, rather than the copy itself.
Two Minute Task
Have a look at the below examples.
  • How do the copy and design work together to build a story relevant to the brand?
  • What do you think are the benefits and challenges of using ‘static’ or press/print adverts when telling a story?
Alt text tag Alt text tag Positive and Negative Stories
Wood Pencil / Writing for Advertising / 2016
Agency Grey Group Mumbai / Client Duracell
Alt text tag CVs
Wood Pencil / Press Advertising / 2014
Agency Leo Burnett London / Client Business in the Community
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Storytelling in Advertising

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