Who’s winning the Christmas adverts this year?
Well, for return on investment in terms of media coverage versus budget spend, you’d have to put Charlie’s Bar in Enniskillen pretty close to the top.
In case you missed it this week, their Christmas “ad” on TikTok went live on Saturday. By Tuesday it had gained just under 1 million views.
That’s not why they’re winning.
It’s also been featured by Sky News, Metro, the Evening Standard, RTE, BBC News, By the time this post goes live, probably a few more.
£700 budget well spent?
That’s what it cost for a woman, an iPhone, not to mention some editing skill. To get the same kind of coverage that the M&S ad got, so far without the controversy. I imagine it might have been a busy few nights already in Charlie’s.
But who has a budget of £700?
This isn’t about the money. The reason this ad works is down to something that’s free.
It’s about the story.
You could have all the flashy editing you like, but without the story, the video would have been nothing. And with a bit of thought and planning, every businesss can create a story.
What’s your story?
Every business has a plethora of stories to draw on, ones that most people won’t have heard of (even your most loyal followers).
You can constantly retell the same stories in different ways, and eventually people begin to recall them and tell them on your behalf.
Use the seven basic plots
Charlie’s Bar’s advert plays into one of the seven basic plots that Christopher Booker outlined in 2004, in this case overcoming the monster of loneliness. Tyrell’s told the same story with Tesco as the monster when their crisps were stocked by them even when asked not to.
The seven basic plots are said to be:
- Overcoming the monster (think Star Wars, Harry Potter)
- Rags to riches (most fairy tales)
- The quest (Lord of the Rings, Raiders of the Lost Ark)
- Voyage and return (The Lion King, Back to the Future)
- Comedy (a happy ending after triumphing over adversity, Bridget Jones to Barbie)
- Tragedy (Hamlet to Hamilton)
- Rebirth (A Christmas Carol, Groundhog Day)
Your content doesn’t need to be the length of a film script, as Charlie’s have shown. It’s a 2 minutes bit of video. Two minutes of them telling us why Charlie’s is so great, all the brilliant things they have on offer, would not have got 1 million views.
Story grabs us.
The same story can work many different ways
Imagine Goldilocks and the Three Bears retold from the bears perspective. Random woman breaks in, makes themselves at home, eats your food. On being discovered, she runs home, leaving the bears to deal with the unmade bed, the washing up, and one person going short at breakfast.
Our sympathies move, depending on the perspective, even though we’ve heard the story many times before.
How can you rework your stories? Shift the perspective?
Shift the medium
Break out the comfort zone. Video isn’t going away, even if your business isn’t on TikTok. With Instagram prioritising video then we’ve all got to get comfortable with it.
The technology to do it has never been simpler, or more accessible. Time is probably your biggest investment.
By having a story in mind, even if you don’t go as far as sketching out a movie storyboard, you’ll take less time to film it, and produce something more compelling at the end of it.
Need some help getting started?
No, this isn’t a plug for my work as a copywriter, though I can definitely help. But if you need some inspiration, ask ChatGPT. Here’s the prompt I’d use:
“What stories could a XYZ business tell, focusing on how they fit into the seven basic plots of storytelling.”
I asked it this for a wine company and it gave me at least one idea for each story type. As a starting point, they’re not bad. The trick is to now make them your own. If you’ve not read my guide on how to get the most out of ChatGPT, you can find it here.
What kind of story is this?
Budget is not the monster. It’s the idea of needing lots of cash that is the monster for many small businesses. Are you ready to slay that one?
If you’ve not seen the ad for Charlie’s Bar, here’s the link to it. I hope you’ve got tissues ready.