Here’s A Story For You

I read something on BFG Blog last week that disturbed me. Edward Boches, chief creative officer at Mullen, in an unwatchable interview from SXSW, says:

We’re not in the business, necessarily, of telling stories anymore. We may be in the business of inspiring others to tell stories for us, soliciting their participation in the telling of stories, or perhaps allowing them to become the story themselves if you think in terms of social media. And it actually requires an entirely new mindset…

I was going to let it go, because I don’t like to give outlandish rhetoric the attention it doesn’t deserve. But here we are…
Of course, I recognize that Boches and Mullen are free to interpret their own business in any way they like. That’s (literally) their business. But I don’t think he’s referring to Mullen above, he’s talking about the advertising industry.
AdPulp is not a rant-heavy site, and I don’t see the need to become one. However, we are a critical site and on the media and marketing beat there’s a never-ending supply of items to criticize.
Telling stories is at the very heart of the advertising enterprise, so I know I’m not alone when I say I’m not going to cede responsibility for the brand’s story to the crowd. However, I am perfectly willing, excited even, to work with a brand’s most engaged, camcorder-wielding customers.
I believe great ideas can surface from anywhere, and I’m open to receiving them. But I believe even more deeply in the craft of storytelling. Given that I do, I’m going to turn every time to the most gifted storytellers I can find to bring a strategic initiative to life.

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About David Burn

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. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.