It Was The Best of Times, It Was The Worst of Times

The New York Times looks at the importance of storytelling in the workplace.

Of all the repetitive, mind-numbing jobs in the late 19th century, cigar-rolling was special.
Unlike sewing clothes, mining coal or forging steel, it was blessedly quiet. And thus cigar workers, whether in Chicago or Havana, were the first ones in their time who managed to introduce that vital commodity — distraction — onto the work floor.
Using their own wages, and backed by a powerful union, they paid for a “reader” who sat in an elevated chair and began the morning with the news and political commentary. By the afternoon, he would usually have switched to a popular novel. The 100 or so rollers on the floor were his captive audience, listening as they worked.

Of course, there are countless new forms of storytelling that occupy our day in 2008. Which is what makes is so hard for advertising to break through the clutter. Unless, advertising is also compelling storytelling.



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.