‘Twas the night before Christmas – Tell a story

Posted by: Tommy Tonkins

Christmas is a time for stories.

From tales of shepherds, kings and a saviour’s birth to traditional ghost stories, and the modern-day magic of Santa and his flying reindeer. The tapestry of Christmas is spun through with epic yarns.

We all love a good story. Think back to the tales of your childhood. Think how they transported you, broke through the veil of reality and sparked your imagination into Technicolor-life. Stories matter. They are, more than anything else, what set us apart and make us uniquely human.

Communication first began with the telling of stories. Modern communication was born from the oral tradition. Where messages, testimony and history were verbally transmitted in speech or song across generations. Before we could write, this is how we communicated.

Storytellers were revered. They had to hold an audience by enchanting them, educating them and engaging them. The very things we strive to achieve now when we communicate with our own audiences or our customers.

Look at the Sainsbury’s Christmas advert. It has undoubtedly split opinion but, if YouTube comments can ever be held as a barometer, the positive feedback outweighs the negative.

The ad tells a story from the Frontline in World War I of a Christmas ceasefire between German and Allied troops. What can’t be argued with is that this is a beautiful short film. The gruff harmony of Silent Night floating over no-man’s land in contrasting languages, a robin perched on barbed wire, hands clasped all-too-recognisably fighting off the chill. It is a stirring vignette and impeccable demonstration of storytelling skill.

Because underneath the politics of it and the questionable ethics (I personally think the British Legion charity message should come at the start), there is an enormous heart to the advert. Sometimes the advertising companies get it horribly wrong but other times, as with the Sainsbury’s ad, they strike the right chord.

This isn’t a film made to boost sales at Christmas for a supermarket – although it could very well see an upturn in numbers at the till – it’s a film made to tell a story just for the sake of it. It’s a remarkable story that deserves to be told and deserves to be heard. And it’s done by a brand that isn’t afraid to tell it.

Find the heart underneath your communications, underneath your stories. Tap into that feeling and that emotion. Tell your story in a way that communicates this feeling to your customers because everyone, whatever their age or their demographic, loves a good story.

Christmas is a time for stories. So go out and tell yours, not just in the next few days when you celebrate with friends and family, but through the year ahead.

The more stories the world holds, the richer we all become.

Merry Christmas.

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