Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Story of Stuff

I came across this video today and was blown away. It is a 1 minute teaser (trailer if you will) for a longer production by Annie Leonard called The Story of Stuff which explores how much it really costs to produce all of the stuff we consume and "calls us together to create a more sustainable and just world." It was designed by the super-creative folks at Free Range Studios.

Here is why it's so damned impressive:

  1. Leonard makes a very complex subject - the social and economics realities of extraction, production, distribution, consumption and disposal of packaged goods - simple.

  2. She also tackles the issues in a straightforward yet non-preachy way.

  3. She uses metaphor INSTEAD of facts and figures to engage.

  4. Her narrative is supported by a stellar piece of creative.

While I'm not suggesting that you create a comic strip to tell your story (although this is an extremely creative technique). I am suggesting that you apply the principles above and below to ALL of your communications efforts going forward.

  • Break your mission into bite-sized pieces - literally. It's an excellent idea to chart your course via a series of emails, videos or direct mail. In other words, don't feed it to me all at once. Give me the time and ability to digest it piece by piece.

  • Don't be Debby Downer. I know your mission is very important but being too serious can also make me feel overwhelmed (even paralyzed) vs. motivated to help.

  • Tell me your story in pictures, sounds and words and if possible help me understand the points you are trying to make by using an analogy.

  • For godsakes, do something different. Kill the talking head. Ask your uncle to write and deliver the script. Introduce me to your neighbor. Anything to break up the monotony.

Don't be fooled, marketing via new media and fresh creative is not a gimmick. It takes bold, interesting and smart marketing to make me stop and think and tell my friends to change the world. The world is waiting. We've got to do better.


P.S. Thanks go to Rick Christ at NPAdvisors for turning me on to Free Range Studios.


Alex, aka SocialButterfly said...

Good post Jocelyn. My fiance just showed me this site/video the other day, and I would definitely agree that the simplicity of it makes it very powerful and more relateable. It's definitely presented from a "consumer's perspective."

Hope things are going well!

Qui said...

God bless Free Range. You are the smartest of the smart. Preach! Preach! Preach!

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