Are You Well Equipped To Tell Stories In The Digital Arena? You Need To Be.

According to Ad Age, a growing number of marketers are directly engaging consumers through original content, instead of pitching their stories to reporters.
Take this Coldwell Banker video:

The thing I find interesting in the Ad Age piece is how PR agencies are being tasked with content creation. For instance, Coldwell Banker enlisted the help of its PR shop Cooper Katz, to gain presence on YouTube. I don’t have a problem with PR agencies doing this kind of work, but I’m not convinced they’re always the best team for it.
One of my favorite mantras is “May the best storyteller win.” I see it as the rallying cry for our time, and the reason some people are saying things like “this is a great time to be in advertising and/or media.”
The digital disruption of the market created a situation where production and distribution are now very inexpensive. That means the focus is now totally on the story.
PR shops have traditionally told brand stories to the press, whereas copywriters and art directors are used to telling brand stories to mass audiences. Digital distribution provides a more intimate venue for story, but it’s nowhere near as intimate as a lunch with a reporter.
Additionally, the Ad Age piece points out that nearly 30,000 reporters have left the industry since the beginning of 2008. Add to that the army of videographers roaming the globe and I’d say the stage is set for a new model to emerge, one where content pros (many who’ve never made an “ad” before) are increasingly asked to weave brand narratives.

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.


  1. David,
    I hope your commentary is really just pointing out how lame this Coldwell Banker effort is. It reads like an animated PowerPoint presentation. There are lots of PR firms out there positioning themselves as digital savvy, when they’re really just posting press releases – like Coldwell Banker. The problem is, advertising copywriters and art directors are not necessarily qualified either. They are often too used to creating push messaging in 30-second bursts. They don’t know how to sustain interest for minutes. As you know, digital does not equal traditional advertising online. Not sure who the new content creators will be. But those 30,000 reporters probably aren’t qualified either.

  2. @High Jive
    The Coldwell Banker vid is crap. No doubt. I figured you’d be here to say so. As you know, I like to leave room in my posts for you to make up your own mind.
    I hear you on traditional push versus pull marketing and how not all creative teams are prepared to pull just yet.
    We’re all adjusting our package. Not a bad thing to do every generation or two.