Tell A Great Story. It’s Really That Simple.

Global Director of Digital Strategies at Wieden + Kennedy, Renny Gleeson, has some important things to say about our business. He’s not the first to say them, nor will he be the last. Be that as it may, it pays to linger on some of his main points published in Creativity.

A lot of agencies and brands are doing interactive work because they have to. They know they have to. Like eating fish oil pills for your Omega-3. Laurence Gonzales in Deep Survival (a great book on dealing with extreme paradigm shift) talks at length about working from a place of fear or from acceptance. “I suffer through my obligations, but I’d do anything for love.”
“What would you do for love” isn’t an idle question here. Ask your next potential hire. The answer could determine whether you thrive in this medium or try to get by treating it like a topical spread or the “+ fries” option with your Happy Meal.
Brands need provocative relationships with good customers. They need their stories told, and “interactivity” is driving the reemergence of the collaborative narrative as art form and communications medium.

Gleeson argues that Shakespeare’s work was interactive, as audience members actively engaged the actors in the intimate theaters of his time. It’s an interesting point. Text in print, which we’ve come to think of as literature, is actually a diversion from the ancient oral storytelling form.
For me personally, the genesis of this kind of thinking goes back to 2003 when I encountered the authors of Digital Aboriginal at SXSW. I’ve returned to Austin in March twice since then, but found nothing as intriguing.



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.