Have Story, Will Sell

Lewis Lazare ran an item in his Sun Times column on Feb. 8 about research indicating the three most-liked commercials in the 2008 Super Bowl of Advertising were all story-driven.
This led legendary director, Joe Pytka, to send Lazare a note.

I have been lobbying for years to change the way advertisers think, and the results of the commercials I directed that were mentioned in your column reinforce this notion. I’ve treasured my relationship with the long-form commercial through my work for Hallmark and Anheuser-Busch, and I’m grateful for your insight into what we both regard as a serious problem in our industry — the disregard for respect for the public.
The notion of telling a good story is quickly becoming a lost art — both in commercials and cinema — and I commend you in recognizing that. Please keep this forum open.

Here’s a long-format storytelling spot for Hallmark from Pytka and Leo Burnett:

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. Love it.
    Touching without being schmaltzy.

  2. Lazare harps on lack of storytelling alot. I don’t necessarily disagree with him. What bugs me is that he always implies storytelling is lacking because a bunch of irresponsible young creatives would rather tell butt jokes instead.
    Me, and every other creative i know, has had it beaten into us since day 1 that an ad needed to communicate in half a second or be completely ignored. And that’s the only kind of work alot of “older, more experienced” CDs will approve.
    On top of that, since most agencies give their creatives 15 minutes to concept projects these days, it’s no surprise that epic storytelling falls by the wayside.