Baseline: Storytelling makes the world go `round

What's your definition of advertising?One I like is Advertising is information presented in a way that invites people to make decisions.I like the way it implies that the essence of the process is the presentation of information, or, the storytelling, that...

What’s your definition of advertising?

One I like is Advertising is information presented in a way that invites people to make decisions.

I like the way it implies that the essence of the process is the presentation of information, or, the storytelling, that separates mere information from actual persuasion.

Great storytelling is what’s made the world go ’round from prehistoric cave-writing, through the Bible, to Richard Lester’s Beatles movies.

You could have gone wild (and broke) collecting and fiddling around with millions of bits of data about millions of kids, and about John, Paul, George and Ringo, but until those kids saw A Hard Day’s Night, it wouldn’t have meant a thing.

I use this thought to console myself when I hear ‘marketing’ people pontificate as to how the future of persuasion is really database management and interactive communications interfacing!

The story of cibc’s switch from the agency that used to be called McKim to an agency still quaintly named after a living human being, Padulo, is currently being tarted up with interactive implications.

It seems these prescient, new technology wizards, in a blinding visionary flash, have put a telephone number at the end of each television commercial!

Sheee-it!! Why didn’t mbl/ bbdo think of this?

The new cibc spots, actually by the Padulo Integrated people, feature a series of folks who appear to have been recruited from the best damn focus group ever held in this country!

These people pour their hearts into charming and earthy little tales of longing and desire for stuff like homes and vacations.

They whoop and holler and guffaw and act out their fantasies for the camera in as cold-hearted a plea for human empathy as you’re likely to see from a banker.

Now you take my dreams….. please!

Then the voiceover announces the invention of ‘Personal Vision Banking,’ and intones promises of bonanza rewards like ‘better ways to borrow for your first home,’ and, ‘how you can become mortgage-free faster,’ and, my favorite, ‘how you can make more of your CIBC Classic Visa with a 5% rebate on your vacation dreams.’

Just by ‘seeing a cibc personal banker,’ or by calling a 1-800 number! Life is an information highway, and I wanna ride it all night long!

So, this is the revolution?

Once upon a time long ago, children, there was a surprising bank campaign from an outfit called the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce.

It consisted of ads that invited people to come in for A Red Convertible Loan, A Shutterbug Loan, and, even, A Boots and Saddles Loan!

It implied, possibly for the first time in recorded history, that bankers condoned borrowing for trivial and self-indulgent purposes.

It made a lot of people like that bank.

Maybe a lot of people will like the cute ‘n’ cuddly people who are right on the cusp of making more of their CIBC Classic Visa with a 5% rebate on their vacation dreams.

It’s not as zippy as A Red Convertible Loan, and it takes a lot longer to explain, but it’s sort of groping in that direction.

Here I thought this campaign was racing into the future of interactive marketing, and, really, it’s lumbering back to basics.

Bill Bernbach once said:

‘It took millions of years for man’s instincts to develop, it will take millions more for them to even vary.

‘It is fashionable to talk about changing man. A communicator must be concerned with unchanging man, with his obsessing drive to service, to be admired, to succeed, to love, to take care of his own.’

Best darn database ever written, for my money.

Something to Scotch Tape to your average Marketing Director.